Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Adventures of the Princess Julietta - OR - the alternative version of the 'Wife Swap' manual

The Adventures of the Princess Julietta and Lord Kuhn

Once upon a time in a land far far away in the best tradition of the best fairy tales ever told, there lived a beautiful princess.  Her name was Julietta and she had hair the hue and lustre of the blackest of raven wings, eyes that twinkled with the light of mischievous glee yet could be as soft and gentle as those of the dearest fawn and lips that were as soft as rosebuds.  She lived in a high tower the colour of an autumnal sunset surrounded by beautiful flowers that dipped their hands in acknowledgment of her majesty whensoever she stepped out into the verdant gardens.  Princess Julietta did not live there alone, she was accompanied by her prince, Lord Kuhn, a gentle natured carpenter with a heart full of love and compassion.

One day the princess decided that an adventure was called for to relive the tiresomeness of her courtly duties to the dowager queen.  So she packed a case and summoned her faithful steed and her handsome prince and together they set off in search of adventure.

They travelled for many miles through forests and ravines, deserts and town, until they happened upon a beautiful house with bright sunlit windows and white walls, where chickens pecked lazily at the clover in the lush gardens and swallows dipped their tails in joy as they flew around the sun drenched stones of the centuries old buildings.

The princess declared the house to be perfect, and so Prince Kuhn carried in her vestments, picking the brightest room for themselves with its clear view of the snow capped distant mountains, where they could watch each day dawn with the sun shyly peeking through the delicately scented lilac tree to awaken them. 

Oh Woe – for this is a fairy story after all, and as with all fairy stories there must be an interlude of arduous struggle before the happy ever after ending, and so it is here.  For little did the beautiful Princess Julietta know, but this house set in its idyllic location, nestled in the lea of the valley, huddled at the far reaches of the shadow of the great volcano belongs to a wicked witch and her ferocious henchman and vicious acolyte.

The Curse

The wicked witch and her gnarled fellows had been living in the house for centuries, their very sprits inured in the fabric of the structures until this restless time when they too had forsaken their palace in search of adventure. 
The very same house that Julietta and her bodyguard were even now making their own.  

Because the witch was a very wicked witch, she had, as they donned their broomsticks and lofted westwards, cursed the house to prevent any such incursion by beautiful passersby, and now as Julietta’s satin slippered feet stepped gleefully across the flagstones, the hex upon the stones twitched and shifted across the leys of the land and whispered of their presence in the witch’s ear.

Far far away, even now as the princess and her prince settled down to watch the sun set with a rosy glow across the lands stretched before them, the witch rubbed her hands with elation at the thought of the troubles to befall those who had dared to set foot across her precious hearth.

The hex stirred and grunted, twisted and curled, groaned and thrashed until a dark shadow pooled on the stones at the entrance, consolidating its thick form into a hellish hound with a malodorous stench.  

The princess shrieked in terror as the prince leapt before her, his hands failing to grasp anything to use as weaponry before this fetid beast of the black tar pits, until at last his hand arrived on a forgotten pump cast into a dark corner of the corridor, he flung the shoe at the horrendous head aiming between the feral eyes of the canine monstrosity.  

As the shoe fell, turning end over end, passing the beast’s head, its dim dark eyes followed the path of the missile, turning the beast around until he passed through the door in close pursuit of the projectile, quick as a flash the prince leapt forward again and slammed shut the barred gate, leaving the beast trapped without.  

Instantly the animal cowered to the ground and from its prone position before the house, excluded from its sanctuary it turned beguiling eyes to the princess.  Her heart, as soft and gentle as the petal on any flower warmed to the beast ‘s peril and she addressed it in soothing tones until its heart too melted and was as soft as the skin of a newborn babe, then they opened the gate and allowed the mutt, for mutt it was, to reenter its abode and settle in slumber on the stone flags, content to live alongside the beautiful princess and the brave prince, knowing full well that their tender hearts would ensure that its water bowl would be filled and food would be provided as dusk fell.

Yet even as the first guardian fell, on the wave of the dark night fall, three others slunk their way towards the vestibule, green glowing eyes and curved fangs raised over cruelly sneering lips, they worked their way past the door and into the presence of the princess and the prince who were reposing dreamily in the cosy interior.

Leaping in one motion to their laps, their paws outstretched with claws at full extent the felines  prepared to attack.  In fear the princess slipped from her chair, scattering before her the crumbs of the meal they had been enjoying. 
The surprising motion threw a scant crumb before the leader of the menacing pack, alighting on a whisker before falling between its gnashing jaws.  Like the snuffing of a candle the change in the creature was as instant.  It fell to the floor with a sonorous purr, seeking further crumbs.  Its leadership, never in dispute, was further clarified for as the giant mouser gentled its nature, so did its companions, cleaning the floor of every crumb, then patiently waiting as the princess with delight filled their silver bowl with vittels.  Once fed and whiskers groomed, each feline sought out the most comfortable of resting places, and so the princess and prince found themselves reclining for the evening with cat on lap, curled in on itself in contentment. 

That night, all three feline guardians slept within, upon a rug laid down before the door with their canine companion, held only within the corridor so as to be best placed for any other unwarranted visitors.

The Silence of the Lambs

As the princess slumbered beneath her downy quilts, the morning sun slipped ever closer to the walls of the house, the first rays falling through the laden boughs of hawthorns and elder, silently weaving through blades of grass and succulent shoots of dandelion, campion and sorrel, before alighting on a small wooden house at the bottom of the garden.  

As the princess smiled and cooed, still wreathed in dreams, a strident shrill broke through the air, then another, then another.  

The prince scrambled to arms, his heart pounding with but one thought, the safety of his beloved Julietta.  As he grabbed for his armaments the horrific bleating seemed to tear through the stone walls to wrench at his guts.  Being the bravest of brave princes he advanced upon the wooden building that seemed to be the source of the chilling sounds, then flung wide the wooden door.

Two huge beasts of cloven hooves immediately tore through the opening racing wildly across the green pasture before turning and aiming directly for the princes’ legs.  He dropped his arms and made for the fencing hoping ardently that it would be of sufficient strength to withhold the charge of the beasts, as he neared it he leapt gracefully several metres into the air, before falling back to earth, inhaling the sweet aroma of haven on the other side of the fence.  He hastened to the side of his newly arisen princess and implored her to leave this cursed house.

But the princess did not want to leave, she turned her face to the sun and thought long and deep, before declaring that no doubt the beasts had arisen with the same hunger she now felt in her own maw, and that if they could but find the right nourishment that the beasts would settle and be as lambs before them.  

So the princess and the resigned prince searched the house, and they found a packet of wondrous white powder, which when a heaped scoopful was mixed with hot and cold water to a tepid temperature, then distributed between the beasts by means of two bottles with rubber teats, did tame them and they were like gentle lambs, until the eve, when another two such long pulls of the sweet milk did calm the beasts and they slept like two young babes beneath a blanket of straw, with door firmly closed to ward against disaster.

And the witch cackled with derision when she saw through her scrying mirror the prince running pell mell across the dewy grass, then spat with venom when she saw how the clever princess had filled the cavernous maws of the beasties and tamed their wild natures into placid creatures of the cud.

The Holy Hand grenade of Antioch ( – otherwise known as the scene with the nasty big pointy teeth)

As the princess slumbered beneath her downy quilts, the morning sun slipped ever closer to the walls of the house, the first rays slipping serpent like through the trailing vines of dark ivy and alluring buds of rowan before alighting on the dark iron grilled railings of several purpose built pens.

As the princess smiled and cooed, still wreathed in dreams, a harsh knocking could be heard, so loud and strong that the very foundations beneath their beds shook in fear.

The prince catapulted himself to his feet and raced to retrieve his vestments, his first and only thought, the protection of his beautiful slumbering Juliette.  He tore through the house and emerged into the dawn light, the knocking still reverberating along his spine, he bravely followed the sound around to the side of the house, where he spied the metal casements framed by concrete and trellis. 

 He carefully approached the grill, certain now that from within came the dread sound.  As he paused to peer into the murky darkness, a flash of fur then red staring eyes perceived him through the gloom.  The prince turned and hurried to his princess’s side, urging her to be done with this cursed mansion.
But the princess raised her eyes to the cerulean sky and followed the course of a cloud as it winged its way to the sea before declaring that no doubt the dread creatures had awoken from their slumber slaked by thirst much as her throat too burned for the sweet release of hot nectar.  

So the princess and the prince searched until they found the red receptacle that would carry the water to the furred raging beasts, and so calmed were they by the sweet stuff that the prince was able to provide sustenance that he found in a large vat within the doorway of a stone room, by means of the small silver pan held there for that very purpose.  

And so it was when the caged creatures were tamed by food and drink, the prince and princess were able to observe for themselves the beauty in the furred, long, lithe bodies of the creatures, and even more, were honoured to observe the young cavorting in play alongside their sires.

And more so alongside the focculent cottontails, they discovered a cage of small birds that ran to their hands in return for small amounts of fresh water and crumbled food , which was also to be found in a large bin in the entrance to the stone chamber, in return for which Julietta and her prince feasted on rich cholesterol free eggs for lunch every day.

And the witch cackled with derision when she saw through her scrying mirror the prince struggling to pull aside the metal impediments in his path, then howled in spite when she saw how the clever princess had correctly divined the surest method of taming the wild red eyed beasts with pellets of verdant luzerne and soft spring waters.

The tale of Kim Quy

As the princess slumbered beneath her downy quilts, the morning sun slipped ever closer to the walls of the house, the first rays trickling delicately through the trailing fronds of the giant weeping willow, to hover then dart with free abandon to the red brick house tucked away in the deep shadows.
As the princess smiled and cooed, still wreathed in dreams, a shrill cawing raked through the air, a sound so bloodcurdling as to cleave your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

The prince leapt from his bed, fully clothed with sword in hand ready to battle whatever foe the witch had called to her aid, for he, not only as handsome as a young oak, was also clever and had ascertained that the troubles that thrust themselves upon his beautiful charge were so menacing that they could only have been as the result of a hand of evil behind them.

He ran to the door of the house and fumbled the catch open, then spilling into the morning light he chased down the menacing din.  He approached the wooden door in the red brick building with no mere trepidation, but thoughts of his princess’s safety ever paramount he girded his loins and prepared to face down his enemies.  With shaking hand made firm by resolve he pulled back the bolt and released – hundreds of feathered flying brutes, with beaks and talons they raked his flesh, and even as he beat them back yet more emerged to ravage his feet and legs.

Julietta riven from her slumber by the incessant clamour of the feathered fiends, called to her prince to retreat to the safety of the metal barricade and together they pulled the gated barrier shut before any of the fiends could escape.  

This foe was greater in number and verocity than any they had previously faced, and their fear in the face of this enemy was great.  The prince sighed and implored the princess to accept defeat and to retreat to their own tower, which must surely be bereft of the heat of their presence by now.  

But the princess raised her eyes to the dark mists and high peaks of the volcanic horizon, then turned to the prince and mused that perhaps the fiends had merely awoken in fear in much the same way she had when bidden to arise alone without the reassuring warmth of her prince beside her.

So she took the prince by the hand, and with a raiment of light and love, they went back to the enclave together and with nod and smile they calmed the feathered harpies at their feet, until they found that by taking grain from the sack they found conveniently tucked away in easy reach in the barn by measure of the red vessel contained therein for that very purpose, the harpies were magically transformed once more into commonplace barnyard fowl, content to pluck and cluck, and were further rewarded with rich yellow yolked eggs for their repast.

Amongst the flock they discovered one who was wracked with age, stepping daintily upon cracked and weathered feet, and this one they took separately and positioned her beneath the flowering blooms of the lilac tree with water and food and were rewarded when each day she lived a little longer.
And the witch cackled with derision when she saw through her scrying mirror the prince fleeing through the doors and gates that imprisoned him in her cursed house, then cast tears of acid hate when she spied the love and peace that the princess bestowed upon her flock with pannikins of ripe yellow grain.

The House of Horrors

As the malediction upon the house flickered and wasted before the witch’s far seeing eyes, she gathered her minions to her and prepared to return to face the transgressors  in person; the princess and the prince were bathed in sun lit glory, having found that the house contained many wonders.

They found that by the saying of spells and the use of magical devices they were able to enjoy many marvels housed in the four walls of the witch’s residence.

In one room containing a large black box and with comfortable seating,  the princess devised a simple spell of her own making to observe the delights of satellitic visions (LG power, input, AV1), and a further simple formula to observe the delights of many shiny discs she discovered (LG power, input, AV2, Philips, power, play).

In one room they found a pair of caged of doves, who would greet the dawn each morning with velvet song, these they fed from the tin of seeds kept alongside, and nourished their throats with fresh water every morning in reward for their chorus.

In another room they found a fish with scales that reflected every beam of light in glorious hues of blue and green, and they rewarded this display with three tiny specks of food every morn.

They discovered that as long as the sun shone, there was hot water for all, if the day dawned cold and grey, a cheerful fire could be lit in the kitchen, plentiful wood being stored in the dry barn alongside the house, and that by this fire could both warm themselves and cook, and by means of lighting it would provide hot water too.  

In the kitchen they discovered a room full of wondrous foodstuffs from around the world, and they partook of all its delights, only to find them magically replenished on every shelf.  They feasted on chocolates from the distant shores of Cadbury, crunchy savouries from the exotic ports of Hula and Skips, oriental spices with angel hair noodles from the shores of the oriental seas of Thai and drank of the bottles of liquid libations that came in every hue of red and gold.

In the garden and greenhouses they discovered all manner of green growing things and found that by the application of water through a carrying vessel they could maintain all that miraculous growth.

But each minute that passed bought the witch and her evil entourage closer still.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Until eventually by stealthy cover of night the witch and her associates came upon the house, which they found wreathed in light as the mighty Prince Kuhn challenged the delightful Princess Julietta to a game of wit and skill (power, input, AV3, Wii magic wand, power).

The very grounds of the estate glowed with the presence of the joy the happy couple had bought with them and bestowed upon the house, its guardians and the transformations they had wrought within and without.

The witch was astounded and fell to her knees, overawed by all that had transpired during her absence, and with heart hardening, vowed never to leave her chancel again.

Then she took up the axe conveniently located just within the door of the outbuilding, next to the pile of wood for the fires, and cleaved the heads from the bodies of the brave prince and the beautiful princess.

And the witch and her family lived happily ever after – well nobody said that EVERYONE got to live happily ever after!

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