This is a work in progress, but I need to go ahead a post what I have for a fabulous contest hosted by the Merry Sisters of Fate.
The Princess and the Pea by Edmund Dulac
All the kings horses and all the kings men, may not have been able to put Humpty Dumpty together, but as it turns out the Queen and a few maids can construct a bed so grandiose it can only be called diabolical.
Prince Edmond returned home at dusk. Every man in his company was slouched in their saddles. The horses heads bowed low, rain running down their noses. Edmond sighed, thinking the unsteady closh, closh of hoofs on flooded cobblestone matched the heavy beating of his heart.
“Ho there, son,” called out his father, “Your gloom seems to have cast a spell on the entire kingdom. Can you believe this weather?”
As if in response to the king’s rant, a fierce clap of thunder rang out. The rumble of it was so great, the king’s knees buckled and the horses who had been trudging along, suddenly danced into action, leaping for safety. Edmond steadied his steed, reached out and plucked his father from the ground. Then with a “Yaa” he made his way to the stables.
“My dear boy,” the queen started as Edmond and his father entered the dining hall. “You shall be wet for weeks if you don’t get out of those clothes and get to a fireside immediately. Really, Albert,” she chided her husband, “to bring him to dine in such a state.” Then as she noticed the king’s clothing, “And you too? Off with you... both of you... Come back when you are dried.”
“Oh, Mother,” Edmond nearly whined, “I am half starved, at least let me take a leg from that chicken to my chambers with me.”
The queen’s was aghast. Hand to her breast, eyes wide, mouth agape. “Absolutely not,” she pronounced. “No wonder you can’t find a true Princess,Edmond, with manners like that. I know you were raised above such rustic behaviors. Hurry up, dear boy. You are not the only one that is hungry.” And with a wave the queen’s bejeweled hand, the prince was dismissed.
In his chambers, Edmond peeled the layers of sopping clothing and rung them out over the balcony. “Bad manners, have I?” he said aloud. “She thinks I have poor manners? Of all the... grr...” he carried on stewing while he hastily redressed. Those chicken legs were not merely calling to him, they were screaming. “Making a waterlogged man returned home from a gallant mission to find a true Princess to be his true love, now that is bad manners.” Now dressed, he checked his looking glass once more, running his fingers through his still-damp chestnut hair and then down his boney jaw. “How does she expect me to continue on in such endeavors, if I am underfed. Does Prince Rupert have such a slim face? Prince Frenholt? No. They are beefy, rounded, robust men.” He tossed his looking glass onto his bed. He was still carrying on when he stepped into the hall. “They probably never have to endure lectures about “rustic” behavior. No wonder I haven’t found a true Princess yet; I am only half a true Prince. Never allowed to be all man: vigorous, rowdy, mucky when I choose to be.” He was so carried up in his harangue that he was only slightly aware of the booming coming from the front hall. Of course, with the clamor of the thunder, it’s a miracle anyone noticed it.
BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. bang,bang,bang,bang,bang.
The knocker seemed to growing impatient. Fortunately, so was the king.
“Yes, yes,” he said, rushing to the great door, “we hear you.” Just as another onslaught of banging started the king reached the door and yanked it open. As much as one can yank a twelve-foot high, two-foot thick door, that is. “Pray, what is...” was all the king got out before a young maiden swimming in her drenched petticoats fell onto the tiled floor.
“Who is she?” Edmond asked. They had moved her to a couch by the fire in a small sitting room. She is so beautiful, so delicate. I would she were a true Princess, he thought.