“Today’s story is going to be a little bit different,” Leo told the kids. “Since you may recognise some of it from real life.”
“You mean, it’s like aunt Yenn’s stories about the criminals that lived in this house or ghosts?” Carly asked.
“Oooh, I hope it’s about ghosts,” Vito jumped up.
Leo wrote stories for his children often, and they always ate them up. Their excitement normally tickled him, but today wasn’t like that. He had a difficult story to tell.
“Not quite exactly like aunt Yenn’s stories,” Leo said.
“What about the ghosts?” Vito asked again.
“More importantly,” Seraphina interrupted, “is there a princess in it?”
“There most definitely is a princess,” Leo nodded.
“Awesome,” Seraphina beamed. “All the best stories have princesses!”
“Lame,” Vito rolled his eyes.
“What about if the princess had ninja powers?” Carly pondered.
“Do you want to hear the story or not?” Leo asked.
The children went quiet, all eyes on Leo.
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away…
…there was a witch that lived in the swamps.
“I thought this story was about a princess!” Seraphina pouted.
“Not only princesses have interesting stories to be told.”
“If you keep interrupting, we’ll never get to the part with the princess.”
The witch was young and beautiful, but she spent her days alone; brewing potions and practicing spells in her cottage. She did have to go to the market to stock up on ingredients for her potions sometimes.
For the most part, she didn’t seek people in the kingdom though. And she was happy that way.
Until she met the prince.
The prince fell in love with the beautiful young witch, for he’d never met a woman like her before. He asked her to share his kingdom with him.
The witch got scared; she’d always believed her magic was evil, and didn’t think she could share her life with a human.
Not wanting her magic to hurt the prince, the witch ran away from him, back to her house hidden in the swamp. She decided to stay away from the prince for good.
Her only reminder of the prince was a daughter born from their love.
The prince searched for the witch for months, but was never able to find her, and eventually, he forgot about her. He still kept going to the place where they first met, but he could barely remember what he was looking for.
What he did find there was a young princess, who he discovered to be both fair and kind.
The prince found new love with the princess, a love stronger than his love with the witch had ever been.
They soon married, ready to live out their happily ever after.
But the witch was watching them. In spite of her best efforts, she couldn’t stop thinking about the prince, and so she observed his life from afar.
Seeing the prince and the princess together crushed the witch.
Feeling heartbroken and betrayed, she cursed them. Perhaps she didn’t mean to, but the prince and the princess’s lives would forever be affected by the witch.
They went on to rule their kingdom as king and queen, and were good rulers loved by many. But there was one thing missing in their lives; the curse ensured they were not able to produce an heir to the throne.
Meanwhile, the witch’s daughter grew up in the woods, unaware that her father was no other than the king of the land himself. She grew to become a stunning young woman of quick wit and many talents.
But she was lonely. Wandering the woods one day, she came across a magic meadow.
The witch’s daughter was mesmerised by the beauty she saw, and the serenity she felt.
She almost didn’t notice a fae emerge from within a tree.
“Good day to you, brave half-witch,” the fairy greeted her. “I see you are fond of my home.”
“Your home is breathtaking,” the witch’s daughter replied politely. “But how do you know my mother is a witch?”
“I know many things,” the fae smiled. “I know your mother is the swamp witch who always hides.”
“That she does,” the witch’s daughter agreed.
“And I know who your father is too.”
“You do?” The witch’s daughter was in disbelief.
“I do indeed,” the fairy replied. “Let me show you.”
The fairy led the bewildered witch away from the magic meadow, to the peak of the highest mountain in the kingdom.
“What does it have to do with my father?” The witch’s daughter asked. “All I can see is the king’s castle.”
“The king’s castle has everything to do with your father,” the fae smiled, “for your father is the king.”
“The king?” The witch’s daughter’s heart sunk. “But if my daughter is the king, I’ll never get to meet him. Nobody would let a half-witch from the swamp into the castle.”
“Perhaps not,” the fairy agreed. “But I can help.”
A gold green light came from within the castle and quickly started to spread. Soon, the warm glow was surrounding them. The witch could feel her body becoming lighter as the light embraced her. She was transported into the castle.
The fae’s magic helped the witch’s daughter reunite with her father. And even the queen welcomed her with open arms.
Seeing how the magic of the fae made everyone’s life better, the witch finally realised her own magic didn’t have to be a curse. It could be a blessing. And with her realisation, the curse lifted from the king and the queen.
Although they were very old, the queen found herself with child. The king and the queen welcomed a new princess into the world.
The princess was full of life, and her parents cherished her. Sadly, their own lives were nearing their end.
And one night, the castle had an unwelcome visitor. He arrived alone, but took two souls with him when he left.
The orphaned princess ran into the woods to grieve. Crying, she could barely see the beauty surrounding her when she reached the magic meadow.
The fae welcomed the princess, eager to cheer her up. She was determined to take care of her and raise her as her own, now that the princess’s parents were gone.
But the task was bigger than the fae could have imagined. The princess’s grief ran deep, and the fairy was unable to lift it.
The fae realised she could not take care of the princess, for fairies are creatures full of light, not equipped to take care of human children with their worries and fears.
“I know where you belong,” it occurred to the fairy. “Follow me!”
The princess could not believe where the fairy took her. The swamps were scary, unfamiliar and unpredictable, surely filled with hidden danger.
The princess was about to run away, when a woman opened the door of the cottage.
“Are you lost, little one?” the witch’s daughter asked.
The princess nodded, too scared to speak.
“I know your pain,” the witch’s daughter said. “For my pain is the same. Your parents left this world before you got a chance to truly know them.”
The fairy watched the princess and the half-witch fall into a hug. Her own heart was breaking, but in a very different way. She knew that the princess and the half-witch needed each other now. Not to mention, the half-witch had a family of her own now. Children just like the princess.
And most importantly, the fairy knew that with the half-witch, the princess’s life would never lack magic.
“This is the worst story ever!” Seraphina burst out angrily. “The king and the queen are dead, the witch never got to be happy, and the princess has to live in a stupid swamp!”
“And there were no ghosts… or ninjas!” Vito added. “Maybe we could have a ninja come and help the princess?”
“We could,” Leo nodded. “That’s up to you now.”
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t you guys get it?” Carly spoke up.
“Hallie is the princess,” Carly said.
“And our mom…”
“That’s right,” Leo confirmed. “Hallie is coming to live with us.”
Builds used in this chapter:
wrathofcath: Beware the Swamp Witch
GothKittyMimi: Fairy Magic Mushroom Ring