The Princess (Part 2 of 2)
She began to weep to herself as she felt so suffocated by the amount of people that surrounded her on the street before.
But to her surprise, she was not the only one who was weeping. A young boy about the age of nine was huddled in a corner staring into space, tears streaming down his neck. When the princess approached him, he did not flinch. He did not even seem to know who she was.
“Are you alright?” she asked the boy.
He looked at her sadly, “The orphanage kicked me out. I have no where to go.”
“That cannot be allowed,” said the princess, “what is your name?”
“Timothy,” he said with quivering lips.
The princess surprised the servants by bringing Timothy back to the castle with her. She explained to them that he was homeless and needed some fresh clothes and a warm meal. The servants bathed Timothy and gave him a pair of satin pyjamas and the king’s old robe from when he was a boy. They cooked a feast for him and the princess, and they dined together, sitting on opposite ends of the long dinner table.
The boy ate his roast dinner so quickly, the servants had to hurry to bring him seconds. When they were eating their puddings of blackberry pie and custard, the princess asked him where his parents were.
“My mother died when I was a baby and my father did not want me.”
The princess felt sympathy for the child, as she could not imagine not feeling wanted by a parent. “What happened at the orphanage?”
“Someone stole my toy, so I tried to get it back but they held on to it. So I fought them.”
The princess questioned the boy for a while trying to work out why he was abandoned. But eventually Timothy grew restless and asked if they could play hide and seek. The princess obliged and even insisted that the servants join in the game. For the first time in many years, she laughed.
Timothy was given a guest bedroom in the castle in the top tower. He very much enjoyed himself, and the princess loved his company. In the days that followed, she took him to museums, galleries, toy shops and took him out for lunches. She had never been so outgoing, and even when the villagers stared at her, the princess did not mind. Timothy did not even notice, he was more absorbed in the paintings in the galleries or playing with the toys in the shops.
The princess took on the role as a mother and raised Timothy until he became an adult. One day, she was in the garden staring at the sky and Timothy came to meet her outside.
“Is everything ok princess?” he asked.
“Yes, indeed,” she smiled, “But this castle is too large for me. The servants who wait on me need not. You have brought me light Timothy, when I could see nothing but darkness. To feel delight, I did not need to taste the finest caviar in the land on a gold plated dinner table. I found more joy in baking biscuits with you in the kitchen.”
The princess reached inside her pocket and pulled out the magical coin. She held it up to the sun so it shimmered a beam of gold on its silvery white surface. As Timothy squinted, the princess told him everything she knew about the coin. She then took his hand and placed the coin inside, closing the fingers around his palm the same way her father had done to her many years before.
“This is yours now Timothy. Take it, go and live your life in the castle, or wherever you choose to live. I will spend my final years resting in a small home. For I am quite content.”
The princess spent the rest of her life in a small cottage on her own. She took pleasure in gardening and going for long walks. Without the coin she had very little money and her life became refreshingly simple. She was never again recognised, no one gasped when they saw her. In fact, they thought she was a rather strange old lady dressed in rags, too poor to afford proper clothes. But her final years in the cottage were the happiest of her life.