“Tell me a story, Grandma,” she pleaded with her sleepy eyes.
“Okay,” I said, “what kind of story do you wanna hear about?”
“About a faraway lands,” her twin sister demanded, “of brave kings and queens and warriors slaying dragons!” I had no idea if it’s coincidence or simply genetic that their mother used to love those kinds of stories.
“No,” she said firmly, “we listened to those yesterday. It’s my turn to pick.” Apparently not. Just a matter of interests, I guess.
Her sister pouted a little, then relented, “all right. Let’s do the princess-y ones.” And of course, those are okay, too. They looked pointedly at me, which my cue to start.
“Alright then,” I began, “There was once a girl…” I saw my granddaughter’s eyes peered for confirmation that it is her story about princesses.
“A princess, yes,” I continued, “A crown princess, to be exact. Born in luxuries of a royalty; lavish gifts of beautiful dresses, gold and silver, and precious stones. And the best education one can get in the kingdom. She was raised to be a lady, and thus she became one. In the eyes of the royal court and the royal highnesses, she was the one deemed fit to lead the the country. But there was one problem, unfortunately.”
“What is it, Grandma?” she asked, “was there a dragon threatening to attack?”
“This isn’t a dragon story!” her twin sister exclaimed, “it’s because she hasn’t met her prince yet, right Grandma?”
“Well, you can put it that way,” I replied, “dragons were the least of the problem for the princess, fortunately. For her, it is the rule of the kingdom that every princesses need to be married to be a rightful leader of the lands. As such, the lords and ladies of the court put their best effort to introduce their sons to her, as much as the king and queen did not tire of set her to meet every eligible princes from the neighboring kingdoms.
“The princess, however, was overwhelmed and troubled as she felt her betrothal come to soon. Surely enough, she loved her kingdom and her people that she would be willing to assume her king’s throne and lead the country to prosperity and peace. But she was worried if she accept just anyone approved of by others but not by her, she would regret giving up love for life.
“One day, as if her concerns are heard, she came to the company of a young baron of the northern land after a court meeting. A farmer came, pleading to the king to have mercy on him as his hands were about to be cut off for unknowingly making harvest in the plot that wasn’t his landlord’s. His landlord ran off and took the money from the harvest, leaving the farmer and his wife to deal with the other landlord, who was furious and will stop at nothing until he saw bloodshed for so-called justice.
“The members of the court agreed to pursue the greedy landlord. Nevertheless, as they have never had to live in complete subordination and lack of information, all the court members also blamed the farmer, whom was deemed ignorant to the limits of the land belonging to his landlord. They asked the king to spare him off the violence, but then commanded the farmer to serve the other landlord for as long as he pleased as punishment for his negligence, without payment.
“The farmer thanked the mercy that the court bestowed upon him, but worry of his wife and two children’s well-being if they had barely any money to eat. Just as another lord of the court was about to reprimand him for his insolence, the young baron stepped in. As the conflict occurred in his part of the land, he humbly pleaded to the king for fairness of the settlement. Living under a corrupt authority, the farmer and his family’s life should not be put at stake, so he agreed to set the farmer free of the debt he shouldn’t have been burdened with on the first place. Furthermore, to stop any such events from happening again, he asked that a law should be passed to ensure the rights and responsibilities of landlords and their farmers.
“Such astuteness displayed by the young baron won the favor of the king. He set the farmer free and demanded his court to make a fair, legal treaty and enforce it immediately. Not only his wisdom, but also his compassion, touched the princess’ heart. And so, a friendship ensue between them, which then blossomed to marriage.”
The sisters yawned, and as one directly slipped of to dreamland, the other sleepily added, “Then, they live happily ever after. Like you and Grandpa, right, Grandma?”
I hummed accordingly, patting her head as she closed her eyes.
Certain that both girls are asleep, I can’t help but be truthful.
“No, not really, dear. In this world we live in, happy endings are merely exaggerated.”