Inspired by listening to the soundtrack of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast one too many times. The notion of a faerie tale style retelling just wouldn’t let me go.
“Once upon a time, there was a young prince who lived in a shining castle. Though he had everything he desired, he was spoiled. He wanted more than all the wonderful things he already had, and was not content. So, he searched far and wide for new and wonderful things, fixated on his own selfish desires.
“A young priestess warned him not to continue his search, for it would lead to a long and unhappy life. Though the priestess could see his future, the prince was arrogant and would not believe her. When the priestess died, her people blamed the prince and sent him to a far away land to fight, as punishment for her death.”
“Why’d they blame him, Daddy? Did the prince kill her?”
“Of course not, but the people didn’t know that.”
“That’s not fair!”
“Life isn’t always fair, sweetheart. Now, do you want me to tell the rest of the story, or not?”
“I wanna hear the story.”
“Good girl. Anyway, so the prince wound up far away from his home fighting in the middle of a war. When the war was over, he started on his way back home. But then, he met a beautiful enchantress. She told the prince that her father — a powerful sorcerer — could give the prince whatever he desired most. And so the prince saw the sorcerer, and told him the one thing the prince wanted more than anything: Immortality.”
“Uh-oh’s right, because the prince didn’t know what he was really asking for. The sorcerer granted the prince’s wish… for a price. You see, the sorcerer had very dark magic that made the prince immortal… but it turned him into a monster. He couldn’t go out into the sunlight anymore, and he was very, very alone. Except for the sorcerer and the enchantress; they were the prince’s only companions for a very, very, very long time.”
“The poor prince!”
“Yeah. He realized too late what he had asked for. He couldn’t go back to being a man again. So, he wandered the earth in despair for many, many years. Then one day, he met a beautiful princess who had a special gift–she had the power to heal.”
“Like the sorcerer’s magic?”
“No. This was a different kind of magic. A very good kind of magic that helps people who are in pain. The princess wasn’t frightened when she saw the prince’s monstrous form, and she promised him she’d try her best to heal him. So he could be a man again.
“But the evil sorcerer had been following the prince to the very ends of the earth ever since he’d granted the prince’s wish, and the sorcerer found the princess. The sorcerer threatened to kill the princess if she could heal the prince.”
“Oh yes. So, for years the princess worked on the prince’s cure in secret, so the sorcerer would never know. As the years passed, the princess and prince got to know each other better, and they fell in love. She reminded him of his lost humanity, and told him what he needed to do to help her healing powers do their work.”
“Like when Mommy tells me to brush my teeth?”
“A little. These were very small but very important things the prince had to do, but he wasn’t always so good about doing them every day. Like you brushing your teeth. But, because he didn’t do these things every day, the princess worried that he might never become a man again.”
“And they wouldn’t live happily ever after if he didn’t, right?”
“Exactly. And sometimes she got angry at him for slacking off. They tried all sorts of magical potions, but nothing seemed to work just right. The prince began to lose hope. Then they found a copy of a very old magical book that contained a formula for a potion. The prince had spent many of his years alone looking for the book… but it wasn’t until after he met the princess that it was found. And the princess could read the formula, and make the magic potion.”
“And she did, right?”
“Hush and let me tell the story, ok?”
“The evil sorcerer found out that they had the book, and he cast a powerful spell to hurt the princess. But the prince could not live without her, so he turned her into a creature like himself, and hid the book away for many years.
Then… they waited. The prince and princess waited a very long time, until they found out that villagers had captured the evil sorcerer. Free of his control, the prince and princess created the magic potion from the book. When they drank it, everything bad in them went away. They were people again, so they got married and had a baby.”
“And they lived happily ever after?”
“They lived, sweetheart. They lived. Now go to sleep. You’ve got school tomorrow.”
“A little faerie tale for her to dream on?”
“It won’t be long before she’s too old to believe in faerie tales.”
“Well, some do come true, my handsome prince.”
“And you’re the one who’s made it possible, my beautiful ‘princess’ Natalie. It seems like I’ve never properly thanked you enough.”
“Oh, you have, Nick. You have.”