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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a girl. She was a princess – of course she was a princess – and more beautiful than the dawn on a midsummer’s day.

The trouble – and there is always trouble if you are a princess and more beautiful than the dawn on a midsummer’s day – began when she turned eleven. She didn’t want to be a princess and she didn’t want to be a girl and she definitely didn’t want to be beautiful. She wanted to be a turtle.

This is an odd way to begin a fairy tale, but listen. It gets odder.

The girl spent every morning the summer she turned eleven sitting on a log on the side of the pond. She watched the turtles sunning themselves, watched them lift their heads and grab a bug or two, and she wished.

“Please, please, please,” she wished to anyone who would listen and many who would not. “I want to be a turtle. I hate being a girl. I hate being a princess and I really truly hate being beautiful.”

Nothing happened for weeks, but the girl was patient. She was patient because she had watched the turtles and they were the most patient of animals. She followed their lead, sitting on her log, sunning herself. She even learned to eat bugs. And enjoy them.

And when her patience was rewarded, it was in a way she hadn’t expected. Oh, her skin turned green, the lovely clear green of the turtles, with a few decals of black and yellow down her arms and around her shoulders. This, she had expected. And her clothing, the pretty delicate dresses her governess made her wear each day turned greyish-green and hard, just like the turtle shell.

But she remained a girl. For a short time, she felt disappointed by this failure to transform completely. She wanted to be a turtle, not a girl who looked like a turtle. She was no longer beautiful, that was true, but she was still a princess and still a girl.

The good news is that the girl remained patient, sunning herself each morning and feeling more than she ever had the warmth of the sun’s rays on her skin and her shell. One morning, she heard a voice she’d never heard before.

“Princess,” it said. “Please come into the water and play with us. You belong with us.”

She didn’t hesitate for a moment even though she had never learned to swim, had never been in water deeper than her bath. She jumped into the pond and swam and sunned herself and ate bugs. She was still a girl, she thought, though no longer a beautiful one. And best of all?

She was still a princess. Of the turtles.


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