October’s Writing Workshop: The Princess in the Castle
Welcome to the first ever Writing Workshop! On the second Sunday of every month, we will be posting a piece of writing – whether it be short story or extract or poem – for you wonderful readers to read and feed back on. I do ask that feedback be constructive, and all the comments and responses will be collated and written up in a post in two weeks’ time.
The first piece for your pleasure is a short, SHORT story I wrote a while ago in a writing exercise. We were given key words to use and were asked to write something. As one of the words happened to be “princess”, I decided to write an alternative fairytale…
Once upon a time there was a castle where it was always night time. Only one person lived in the castle, and this person was a young princess. She was neither beautiful nor ugly, but whoever saw her would fall instantly in love with her. It was a curse. No matter what she did, everyone would always fall in love with her. But there was another problem with falling in love with her – the minute you laid eyes on the princess, and the minute you fell in love, you were instantly turned into a beetle. And so the castle had one human occupant, and thousands upon thousands of beetles.
Now, as previously mentioned, it was always night over the castle. A crescent moon always hung in the sky, although the rest of the world continued as normal with day and night.
This was also to do with the curse.
There was only one way to lift this curse, and that was to shoot an arrow into the topmost window of the castle the moment a shooting star flashed overhead. Many had come to try this deed (as it was always night, there were frequent shooting stars), but many had turned into beetles. The princess was a lonely soul – due to her curse – and would often come out to greet her visitors before they had shot the arrow, and promptly turning them into a beetle.
So it was not unusual when the princess was brushing her long blonde hair by candlelight, when she heard a voice call from the path below. She looked out of the window, yet saw no one.
“Hello?” she called.
“Fair princess!” replied the male voice. “I have come to release you from your curse!”
The voice was a booming, valiant-sounding voice, and the young princess smiled and clapped in excitement.
“Oh isn’t that wonderful! Tell me, sir knight, is there a shooting star overhead?”
“There is fair princess.”
“And tell me, sir knight, can you see the topmost window of the castle?”
“I can fair princess. And, might I say, I am the best shot in all the kingdom.”
“Oh, what wonderful news! And tell me, sir knight, for you have not yet turned into a beetle, have you set eyes on me?”
“I have not fair princess, for I am stood with my eyes closed until the appointed time to shoot my arrow and release you from this curse.”
“Oh, you are clever sir knight! But, tell me, sir knight, where are you, for I cannot see you?”
“I will be revealed to you shortly fair princess, but first, pray, let me shoot this arrow and release you from your curse.”
“Oh, of course, of course,” the young princess cried, realising that all this talking would not cure her.
There was the high twang of a bow string, and the princess watched as an arrow soared upwards – shining in the light of the crescent moon as the shooting star curved overhead – and flew through the topmost window of the castle.
All at once, the castle was full of thousands of voices, for all the beetles had been turned back into their human form again, and the castle was bathed in sunlight, for the eternal night had been lifted.
The princess ran from the castle in joy, eager to meet her saviour.
She ran to the path from whence the arrow had been shot. But no matter where she looked, she could see nothing but a footprint in the mud. She clutched her hands to her heart in sadness.
“Oh, sir knight,” she sighed. “Have you left me already?”
“No, fair princess, I have not,” replied the knight’s voice from beside her, and she jumped in surprise.
She turned, but no one was there.
“Is this a trick, sir knight?” she asked.
“No, fair princess. You see, I am also under a curse, and I am invisible. It is a curse which can only be lifted by a young princess who is freed from a curse when an arrow is shot through the topmost window of her castle. To free me from this invisibility, I must have a kiss from this princess.”
“I see,” the young princess slowly. “But… there is one problem, sir knight. How am I going to be able to kiss you if I can’t see you?”
There was silence.
And there you have it! Leave your feedback in the comments below, and check back in two weeks’ time for the summary post!