I have a special treat for you today.
I am going to share a fairy tale, which I wrote myself.
I dedicate this story to a dear friend. She has helped me in so many ways. She is always there for me. I hope this shows her that I appreciate everything she does and to keep those wishes, dreams, and inspirations with her when times are hard. We will always be friends and look out for each other.
You know who you are :)
Without further ado, I present to you:
Once upon a time....
there was an Enchanted Forest. Deep within the forest lived an old Hag concealed in a small cottage--an evil being who trapped unfortunate passerby in her garden of death, which was filled with black roses with hidden poisonous thorns that pierced and destroyed victims.
Beyond the Hag and her garden was a glorious castle which harbored a beautiful princess. But Princess Arya was sad, for she was unable to leave the castle, as the King and Queen feared that she might one day come upon the Hag and her black roses, and be lost to them forevermore. So inside her palace she stayed, wistfully staring out her window and longing for a day when she might be free, when the outside world might be safe for her.
Because of her sadness, the kingdom began to wilt--summer turned to winter, and the cold penetrated deep within the homes of villagers, so long as Arya was unhappy.
The princess stared out her window and spoke to her little bird, inside of its golden cage: "One day I will be free from this palace," she said to the little gold bird, "and then I will finally be able to go out into the world. If only there was a way this could be!"
The golden bird chirped--one clear, musical note, and suddenly, the answer was clear. The enchantress who lived in the Enchanted Forest must have something that could protect Arya from the Hag, and then, perhaps she could go outside again.
Arya quickly scrawled a note onto a slip of paper and unhooked the hinge on her bird's cage. She then held the little creature on her index finger and attached the note to the bird's foot. "Listen carefully, Goldenbell," she whispered to her bird. "I need you to find someone willing to venture into the Enchanted Forest to find the enchantress. Once you judge that their character is true, deliver this message to them and sing a single note so I will know that the task has been completed."
Goldenbell chirped her musical chirp and flew out of the slightly ajar window. Arya watched longingly after her bird, wishing that flight was as simple for her.
Meanwhile, Goldenbell circled the kingdom in search of a maiden courageous enough to carry out the princess's task, and finally spotted a miller's daughter, who was gathering berries near the outer edge of the Enchanted Forest. Goldenbell soared to her and presented the note to the maiden.
"What is this, little one?" asked the girls softly, detaching the note from around the bird's foot. Her eyes scanned the note and they widened then. "The princess has chosen me?" she whispered, "to fill out this task? I accept!" she cried. In response, Goldenbell chirped one loud, musical note into the icy winter air. Back at the castle, Arya heard the sound and for the first time in what felt like a very long while, she smiled. Immediately, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, illuminating the snow on the ground.
The maiden retrieved her traveling cloak from inside her house and told her father, "I must leave on a voyage into town, but I will be back very soon." The lie tasted bitter in her mouth, but she needed to do this for her kingdom--she must save the princess if winter was ever to end.
When she returned from the house, the maiden found the little golden bird still perched on the fence surrounding her cottage. "Lead the way," she told the bird with a brave smile.
The small bird took off, soaring just ahead of the maiden so she could follow him.
Into the darkness of the trees she ventured, and her courage began to wane as the shadows surrounding her played with her imagination, shifting ever rustling leaf into the step of the Hag, every shadowed tree into the hunched figure of the Hag.
"When will we arrive, little bird?" she asked, and her voice quavered. Although a new fear gripped her heart, she dared not turn back. The princess was relying on her.
Finally, after many hours, Goldenbell finally led the maiden to a little apothecary shop within the trees, where a beautiful enchantress was waiting for them.
Before the maiden could even present herself, the enchantress spoke, "I know why you have come, Hazel, miller's daughter, and I know what you seek." She lifted out her hand and Goldenbell perched on her finger, chirping happily.
"Please help me, Enchantress," Hazel said, curtsying and bowing her head. "If the princess can never leave her palace, we will be cursed to endure winter forever."
"I understand, young one. And you have been brave to travel these trees alone."
"I wasn't alone," Hazel said with a slight smile. "I had my little bird for company."
"And good company he keeps, too," the Enchantress said, also smiling. "His magical chirps ward off danger. And now, I have what you seek."
The Enchantress lifted a bag from her table and handed it to Hazel. "This item is precious. Be very careful that it does not break."
Hazel nodded her assent and tucked it into her cloak. All she needed to do now was deliver it to the princess.
"Beware the Hag," the Enchantress said. "She is a treacherous figure and will stop at nothing. Here." The Enchantress held out a small dagger, encrusted with rubies. "This will serve as a sufficient weapon. I only hope you will never have to use it."
Hazel profoundly thanked the Enchantress for her generosity and followed the golden bird, who had taken off and was leading the way to the palace.
Several hours later, Hazel heard a sound. She turned and her hand tightened around her dagger.
From the shadows emerged a hideous Hag. Hazel's breath quickened and her heart seized with fear as she realized that this was the Hag who wanted to destroy her.
"Would you care for a rose, dearie?" asked the Hag, withdrawing a black rose from inside her traveling cloak and offering it to Hazel. Hazel turned and bolted, sprinting faster than she ever had before, away from the Hag and after the golden bird, who was leading her to the palace. She must make it to the palace before the Hag caught up with her because if she was captured before, all was lost.
Hazel ran faster. Adrenaline pulsed through her. She didn't know how it was possible for the Hag to run, but she wasn't taking any chances by looking back. The palace was in the distance now, just beyond that clove of trees....
Suddenly, Hazel felt something grip her ankles and she tumbled to the floor. The golden bird uttered a panicked, musical shriek and the Hag was pushed back from Hazel as the bird's magical chirp protected Hazel.
"Hand over the package, dearie, and no one will get hurt."
Panting heavily, Hazel withdrew her dagger. She needed to end this. With one quick flick, Hazel threw the dagger into the Hag. With a piercing shriek, the Hag crumpled and disintegrated into ashes.
Hazel turned from the spot and hurried up to the castle.
A chirp from the golden bird alerted Arya inside the palace that the maiden had arrived, and the princess welcomed Hazel into the castle.
"Did you succeed?" Arya asked the maiden.
"Yes," she said, "but I am afraid that whatever is in this bag will be pointless now, for I have killed the Hag."
"Oh!" cried Arya. She took the bag from Hazel and peered inside. From the bag slid a small, glass tiara and a note from the Enchantress.
"To protect you forevermore," Arya read aloud. She paused for a moment, but she did not put it on her head. Instead, she handed it to Hazel with a sudden smile. "This must be yours."
"But why? It was intended for you!" Hazel said, confused.
"But I do not need protection anymore," Arya said. "The Hag is gone and I can go outside once more, all thanks to you. You have taught me something very important, young maiden. One must take action for oneself--I needed to save myself. I know this now. And besides," she said, "I have my little Goldenbell."
The bird perched on her shoulder and chirped happily.
The girls smiled at each other and Arya placed the glass tiara on Hazel's head.
The long winter finally ended and the princess and the maiden lived happily ever after as friends forever.