By Laura Davies <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: July 2002
Summary: A mélange of well-loved fairy tales interwoven into an original story of Princess Lois' trials before she lived happily ever after with Prince Clark.
Once upon a time in a kingdom far away lived a very rich and powerful king named Lex. King Lex was very lonely, so he searched far and wide until he found the most beautiful woman in the world. He married her and made her his queen. King Lex and Queen Ellen had been married for a few years when they were blessed with a beautiful baby girl whom they named Lois. Soon after her birth, she was shuffled off to the nursery. The servants had orders to keep her out of sight, for her parents considered her birth a nuisance. Neither King Lex nor Queen Ellen wanted a child; let alone a daughter. The heir to the kingdom had to be a boy-child after all.
Princess Lois grew up ignored by her parents. The servants cared for her and she was educated by governesses and tutors. She grew to love both reading and writing. Her nurse encouraged this as it kept her out of her parents' sight. When the young princess reached the age of sixteen, her mother became quite ill. She sent for King Lex. With her dying breath, she extracted a promise from him that he would marry no one unless his new wife was as beautiful as she. Queen Ellen finished her speech and gasped her last breath.
King Lex was heartbroken. His beloved had died, leaving him bereft. Months after the funeral, his sadness and grief were still all consuming. Soon the King's counselors began to discuss looking for a new queen to fill the void. Messengers were sent to the four corners of the earth, searching for a woman as beautiful as Queen Ellen had been. The search continued for three years without success. One by one, the messengers returned empty handed. It soon became apparent that they would never find another woman as beautiful as Queen Ellen had been.
The counselors urged the King to forsake his vow and remarry, but he refused. They also gave him continued reminders that his daughter was of more than marriageable age and it was past time that they start looking for a husband for her. The king finally agreed and summoned his daughter to appear before him.
Lois approached the throne room with trepidation. Until this moment, although she had known that the king was her father, she barely had recognized him. Her entire life, her knowledge of her parents was gleaned from stolen glimpses at grand balls and parties. She had taken it as a matter of course that all children were raised away from their parents until she had caught a glimpse of wonderful creatures called a 'mother' and a 'father'. Since that day, Lois had begun to question the fact that she had never truly seen nor spoken to her parents. She kept asking her nurse why they had hidden her and kept her away from them. The only answer she ever received was a fairy tale about her parents' courtship.
Lois entered the room quietly. She approached the throne, not knowing what to expect. Upon reaching the throne, she quickly dropped a curtsey. "Your Majesty," she murmured.
King Lex stood and grasped her chin, forcing her to look at him. "My darling daughter," he began, "let me take a look at you."
Lois stood up and nervously shifted from foot to foot as King Lex walked around her. With her long, dark hair, lissome figure, and soft brown eyes, she was the mirror image of her mother. Lex's eyes glimmered with excitement. Finally, he could fulfill his late wife's dying wish. "You'll do," he said softly. "It has occurred to me that you do not have enough suitable clothing that befits your rank." King Lex gestured to his daughter's peasant-like attire. "Return to your chambers and I will send the Royal Seamstresses to outfit you." Lois acquiesced easily, relieved to quit her father's presence.
She returned to her room and allowed herself to be measured by the seamstresses before escaping to the garden. For years, her old nurse, Alice (who was a fairy, after all, fairy nurses were common back then) had taught her the lore of herbs and even a bit of magic. Alice knew that soon in the future, Princess Lois would no longer be under her protection and any knowledge she could acquire would go far in helping her protect herself. Alice loved Lois as if she were her own daughter. When Lois returned with the news that her father had ordered that she be outfitted with a new wardrobe, Alice knew that trouble was brewing.
After the princess had left, King Lex called for his counselors and announced that he had finally decided upon a new queen. The king's counselors were horrified upon his announcement that he would marry none other than his own daughter, Princess Lois. They begged him to reconsider; after all, it was an abomination for a father to marry his own daughter. He refused and sent them away. He gave orders for Princess Lois to be moved out of the shabby nursery and into grander rooms. For months, he sent his daughter extravagant daily presents. Soon, he proposed to her. As a desperate attempt to gain time, Princess Lois agreed, but informed him that she would only marry him upon one condition. She told him that he must obtain a cloak made of the furry skins of all the creatures that inhabited the earth and three dresses for her. The first dress was to be as glorious as the stars, the second as the glory of the moon, and the third as the glory of the sun. Soon all was in readiness and the wedding was set for the morrow.
Late that night, Lois rose and packed the three dresses in nutshells. She threw the skin cloak over herself and dirtied her face before escaping over the garden wall and into the night.
Lois fled to a far kingdom where she was discovered by the King's huntsman. They ran her up a tree, thinking she was a very strange animal. After discovering that she could speak, the chief huntsman and his apprentice took pity on her and took her to the royal palace. Once there, Chief Huntsman Perry and Jimmy, his apprentice, helped her obtain work in the royal household as "Allfur". In this guise, she served King Jonathan, Queen Martha, and their son, Prince Clark. Her origins were unknown and in this persona, she was neither male nor female.
Every night she assisted King Jonathan in removing his boots, which he promptly threw at her head. After her tasks were finished, King Jonathan always asked one question, "Who are you Allfur?"
She always replied to this with, "No one except someone who deserves to have boots thrown at their head." Princess Lois knew that her safety lay in her anonymity. No one ever noticed servants, so she was safe as Allfur. Soon the time came when King Jonathan and Queen Martha decided that it was high time their son obtained a bride. They sent a decree throughout the world inviting all of the eligible maidens to a three day festival. A ball was to be held every night so that Prince Clark might find a bride. In the meantime, word had come that King Lex had died of a horrible wasting disease. It was rumored that the disease had been his punishment for attempting to marry his own daughter. Lois had heard this news and knew that it was finally safe to come out of hiding. As the day of the first festival approached Lois prepared to attend. Her dearest wish was to secure Prince Clark's love for herself. From the moment she had first laid eyes on him, she had fallen head over heels in love.
The day of the first ball, Lois slipped away after helping King Jonathan prepare to go. She washed all of the dirt and grime off of her face, hands, and arms, revealing the beauty that lay underneath. Lois cracked the first nut, revealing the dress that was as the glory of the stars. She slipped out of the fur cloak and into the dress. After brushing out her dark hair, Lois went to the ball. It wasn't long before Prince Clark spotted her from across the room. He asked her to dance and would not leave her side for the entire night. As the evening drew to a close, Princess Lois slipped away to her closet, repacked her dress, threw on the fur cloak, dirtied her face, and once again became Allfur.
The next night, she once again slipped away and transformed into the radiant beauty of the night before, wearing the dress that was the glory of the moon. She stole Prince Clark from his circle of admirers. This night, he inquired after her name. She refused, knowing that, while her father's counselors held her kingdom in trust, most of the world thought her dead. Clark held the silvery form in his arms and marveled that she had walked into his life. He had no doubts that he loved her. Not only was she beautiful outside, but she had a beautiful soul. At the end of the ball, Lois slipped away and transformed herself once more into Allfur. Prince Clark wondered where she had gone. When a search of the castle and grounds proved fruitless, he went to his mother and devised a plan.
The next night went as the previous two. Princess Lois, dressed in her glory of the sun gown, came to the ball and once again Prince Clark refused to leave her side. Clark danced with Lois well into the night. He knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with this beautiful woman; Prince Clark had found his bride.
Off in the shadows, Lana, Duchess of Withywindles and her daughter, Mayson, watched jealously. It simply wasn't fair that the prince had chosen Lois over Mayson, Lana thought angrily. Slowly, an evil smile spread over her face. Unbeknownst to the monarchs, Duchess Lana was a sorceress. She vowed that Prince Clark would marry her Mayson and no one else. She searched though her memory until she found the appropriate spell. That night, she would remove the mysterious girl and weave a spell to cause Prince Clark and his court to forget her and remember only Mayson.
Lois finished the last dance with Prince Clark and slipped away. Queen Martha quietly got up and followed her. Lois heard Queen Martha's approach and hurriedly threw the fur cloak over her gown. Queen Martha discovered her before she had a chance to dirty her face. Lois's radiant beauty shone over the fur cloak. Queen Martha immediately brought her to Prince Clark and they became betrothed that night.
Lana leaned over the leftover ingredients and cast her spell. Soon her minions whisked Princess Lois away. Clark and the court awoke, remembering only that he was betrothed not to Princess Lois, but to Mayson. Luckily, Lois had managed to bring her gowns packed in walnuts with her. Wearing her skin cloak, she wandered the world, desperately trying to find her love. Months later, she wandered back into the palace. Her heart stopped as she beheld her love, her prince, striding across the courtyard. She soon discovered that he was to marry Mayson in three days. Desperately, Lois concocted a plan to win her love back from those that had stolen him away.
Lois bribed Mayson with the glory of the stars dress to allow her to sleep at the foot of the prince's bed. Mayson agreed before greedily snatching the gown for her own. Lana and Mayson made sure to drug Clark's wine that night to make him sleep. Upon entering Prince Clark's bedchamber, Lois began to cry. She told him of her trials since she had been spirited away. She reminded him of their love and the way they had met. Due to the drugs, Clark slumbered on.
The next night, Lois gained entry to her love's chambers with the glory of the moon dress. Clark slumbered through her sobs and wails as she again attempted to remind him of their love. Servants became curious and listened through the door. The next day, Clark's most trusted manservant informed him of her nightly visits and warned him of the wine.
Before retiring to bed, Clark accepted his nightly goblet of wine and poured it into a plant. That night he feigned sleep as Lois slipped into his bedchamber. She had gained entry with the gown as glorious as the sun. Upon seeing her beloved, Lois fell to her knees and began to cry out her sorrows and all the tribulations she had endured since her exile.
With her words, Prince Clark's memory returned. He rose from his bed and pulled her to him. "I can't believe I forgot you," he said as he kissed her tenderly. They talked long into the night and after comparing information, discovered who was responsible. The next morning at breakfast, Prince Clark put his plan into action. He presented the duchesses' crimes to the court and asked what such a person deserved.
"Why, such a person deserves no less than to be stripped naked, put in a nail-studded barrel, and rolled down the biggest hill in the kingdom," Mayson declared.
"You have pronounced your own sentence." Clark said grimly as he gestured the guards to take Mayson and Lana away.
Prince Clark and Princess Lois were married later that month. They were blessed with beautiful children as time went on. And they lived happily ever after.