The Happy Tower
by Valerie L. Egar
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, a sweet and beautiful baby girl was born to a King and Queen. They loved their little girl so much they wanted to protect her from every hurt and sorrow. The King thought about all the things that might make his beloved daughter cry— scraped knees and bee stings, nasty words, arguments.
“I never want her to be sad,” said the King. “She will know nothing but happiness for all of her days and will never shed a tear.”
“Oh yes,” the Queen agreed. “We will keep her safe from everything that might make her cry.”
The King and Queen designed a beautiful glass tower for the Princess next to the castle.
Sunshine and moonlight shone through the glass and danced on the white marble floors. Scented flowers and fruit trees grew in the conservatory. The happy scent of cinnamon cookies constantly wafted through the air.
The Princess enjoyed her tower home. She delighted in the beautiful flowers that bloomed in the indoor garden, but never saw one fade or fall from the stem. Every night as she slept, a team of gardeners exchanged fading plants for new, so the blossoms were always fresh. No one wanted her to cry if a blossom withered.
She had a rollicking red kitten named Angus that made her laugh, but as the kitten grew, it too was secretly replaced at night with an identical kitten. The King and Queen feared the Princess might be sad when the kitten grew up and stopped climbing the curtains.
Though the tower was a happy place, the Princess was bored. Aside from playing with Angus, there wasn’t much to do. She didn’t have a bicycle or skateboard because she might fall off, scrape her shins and cry. She had no books to read, because some of the best stories bring tears. She didn’t have any friends, because even a best friend sometimes makes you cry.
The Princess looked at the valley and the silver river from her bedroom and wondered what it was like to be outside. She had never felt grass on her bare feet or a snowflake on the tip of her tongue. She never saw a parade or smelled salt air at the edge of the ocean. She never had someone to share a secret with. She felt sad.
One day the Queen came to the Princess’ bedroom and found her crying. “Oh no!” She was ready to fire the entire staff. Someone had made the Princess cry!
“What’s the matter?” the Queen asked. “Who caused these tears?”
“You and Daddy,” said the Princess. “You keep me locked in here all the time! I want to go outside. I want friends. I want to climb trees and roll down hills. I want to ride a horse—”
“There are so many sad things in the world,” the Queen said. “Things that will make you cry.”
“But I’m sad now,” said the Princess. “I think there are things that will make me happy, too.”
The King and Queen relented and unlocked the glass tower. They laughed with the Princess as she ran in the grass and climbed to the top of a tall tree. She skinned her elbow roller skating and cried for three minutes. The King thought he might die hearing it, but as soon as her elbow was bandaged, she went skating again.
For the first time, the Princess saw the petals of the flowers fall and seed pods form. She watched her kitten Angus grow into a beautiful cat. He didn’t climb curtains anymore and became a handsome, calm companion.
Best of all, the Princess had friends. Sometimes they laughed, sometimes they argued, sometimes one of them said something mean enough to make the Princess cry. But everyone knew how to say, “I’m sorry,” and the Princess was happier with her sometimes tears than she ever was living in her perfect glass tower.
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Copyright 2017 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied or reproduced without permission from the author.
Published February 19, 2017, Journal Tribune Sunday (Biddeford, ME).