The Princess Behind

The Princess Behind

The Perfect Princess?

Behind every perfect world is a perfect princess. The Princess Behind. Not too tall, not too small, perfect in every way. That is what everyone says. But the princess discovers the world is not perfect. All around her people are doing the strangest things – and she did not know. Worse, no one recognizes her. The start of an amazing adventure. See “The Princess and the Boy Who Draws Wolves” for an extended version of the tale.

In a land that is not too hot and not too cold lives a young Princess named Samantha. Princess Samantha is a perfect princess, not too tall and not too small. That is what everyone says. The Princess has a chubby face, tiny nose and a puzzled expression, as if she is sucking sour sweets and cannot remember why. She has blonde hair, green eyes and long fingers. Soon she will be as tall as her mother, that is what everyone says.  Her mother is tall and thin; the perfect height and shape for a queen, everyone says. It is wonderful being a princess, she has so many things to see and do, she is the princess of Usher, the greatest Kingdom in the world.

The Kingdom is surrounded by huge tangled woods. Around the woods are enormous ice mountains which creak and groan like rumbling tummies. It is hard to sleep when the mountains rumble with upset tummies. Some say that is the perfect noise for a mountain to make, but others whisper, the mountains are sad.  No outsider has entered the Kingdom of Usher for over a hundred lunar-years, and no one has left.  Usher is an orderly Kingdom; each adult has a job suited to their abilities. So they know what work they will do for their whole life. Each child is special, they learn things that are not too hard and not too easy, so they will do a perfect job. That is why no one ever leaves Usher, it is perfect. But Princess Samantha is sad, she had no friends to talk and play with. She has so many questions, and no one to ask.

Her home is a castle in the shape of a cube. Four floors high, made of stones, with no doors. Common-folk live on the ground floor, nobles live on the first and third floors. The Royal Family live between the nobles on the second floor.  Each member of the Royal Family has their own rooms servants. The Royal Family, King Alfred Ferret, Queen Prunella Staidly, Prince Anon and Princess Samantha, meet at the same time each morning for Silent Breakfast.

Princess Samantha has rooms overlooking the square village outside the castle walls. It is where common-folk live. Her older brother, Prince Anon, has rooms next to Princess Samantha’s. She likes his rooms, coloured in various shades of bright blue, they were painted when he was a baby and will be painted again when he is king.

King Alfred Ferret, her father, and Queen Prunella Staidly, her mother, live in separate rooms on the other side of the castle. Princess Samantha does not know what colour their rooms are because she has never been inside.  

Princess Samantha sits at the same time each morning and evening in her Brushing Room. And each morning and evening Princess Samantha kicks specks of dust across the floor, asking herself questions no one will answer. Kicking dust reminds the Princess when she was young, sitting with her favourite tutor, Master Learner. A tiny man with a long white beard, and a face like a squashed orange, wrinkled and old. Kind with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, he said funny things she did not always understand. “No two steps kick the same dirt, no two thoughts spark the same light, and no two days live the same.” 

“And no two princesses dress the same.” she said, very seriously. Princess Samantha smiled to herself, remembering the old man sitting cross-legged on the floor. She loved asking him questions. “The little Princess’s questions” he said with a stern face which made her laugh, “are pebbles on the hill, tumbling down until there is no hill.” A tear came to her eye, remembering the only tutor she truly loved. As that day slowly tumbled, pebble after pebble, so did her ordered life. 

The Brushing Room was decorated in the correct shades of pink and white, lit by candles decorated with circles and squares, freshly placed in the chandeliers each day. Princess Samantha sat beneath the central chandelier, splendidly poised as a princess should. Tina the maid brushed Princess Samantha’s long golden hair. Brushed and brushed and brushed with a long hair brush.  She used a very long brush as Maids must not stand too close to a princess. Princess Samantha stood. Tina brushed Princess Samantha’s white dress with a very, very long dress brush. Tina was the Brushing Maid.

Brushed and dressed, Princess Samantha gazed at the back of Chloe’s head, her curly brown hair, brushed flat. Chloe stood with her back to the Princess. The Princess stepped forward with her left foot. At the same moment, Chloe stepped forward with her left foot. Princess Samantha dragged her right foot level with her left. Chloe dragged her tight foot level with her left. The Princess stepped forward with her left foot, Chloe stepped forward with her left foot in perfect harmony. The Royal-Step, left foot forward, right foot dragged, left foot forward. They moved together as princess and shadow. Chloe was the Royal Maid in Front. She was trained in the ways of stepping in front, deftly moving with the Princess, always, looking forward, sensing every movement. 

Princess Samantha held her straight, her head high, facing Chloe’s hair. To her left, through the corner of her eye, she glimpsed a tall mirror frame without a mirror. In front, Chloe. To her right, the arched opening through which passing nobles might peer into the Brushing Room and admire her.

See the Princess video “Pebbles on a Hill”