I looked at Marnee Bailey's blog a few weeks ago and thought her design was cute. So I hoped that I would find something I would like on shabbyblogs.com, and I did. :)
Now, onto the blog, in which I torture you with a "scary" story.
The Princess Curse
Once upon a time, in a far away land, lived a princess. Like all other princesses, this princess had untold wealth, a docile white horse known as Shadows, and, of course, lived in a huge white castle.
And she also had a curse, thanks to her very stupid, thoughtless parents, who had decided, out of spite, to not invite a powerful witch to their wedding. The witch promised they would pay, but King Theo the Thoughtless and Queen Isadora the Ignorant, which were indeed their true names, put the silly thought out of their heads.
In truth, their brains weren't that very big so keeping thoughts in their brains for any length of time was an impossible feat.
The witch, however, never forgot. But she waited until the day the new princess would be named, when the princess was still rosy-cheeked and sweet-tempered.
"What do you call her," asked the Priest of Old. "For her name shall be what she is known by and carry great weight with the world."
King Theo the Thoughtless and Queen Isadora the Ignorant looked at each other, as they were wont to do, and thought how lucky they were; that they, such beautiful, rich people were to find each other and have such a beautiful baby.
King Theo the Thoughtless cleared his throat. "She shall be known as--"
And here a gust of wind blew open the doors, ushering in a swirl of purple smoke. The smoke cleared and there the witch stood, in a black dress with purple swirls, her features harsh and her eyes . . .
Well, no one ever looked the witch in her eyes for there were stories if one was to do so that she would know all your deepest secrets, desires, and fears.
"What are you doing here," King Theo the Thoughtless demanded.
"I am here because I made a promise, one you and your queen have forgotten." The witch cast a disdainful glance around the crowded room and her gaze settled on the baby princess.
The baby princess did not look away.
And the witch stared and stared and stared. "How odd," she murmured. "How very, very odd."
For this witch could indeed know all your deepest secrets, desires, and fears, but she did not need to look into your eyes to do so. She just knew, for she was powerful, smart, and if she was wicked, it was because the people thought her to be so.
But this baby princess . . . well, the witch could not know all with her. And this troubled the witch.
"I curse this princess," the witch said, "to a life of ugliness, where none shall see her past her looks. Birds will not flock to her when she sings, animals will scurry away, and princes . . ."
"What of princes?" Queen Isadora bit her lower lip, worried.
"Princes will not want her." The witch clapped her diamond-studded staff against the floor. "The curse will only be broken by true love."
"How dare you," the king shouted. "Guards, seize this beast!"
The witch laughed and disappeared in puff of smoke. The king and queen watched in horror as their baby princess started to transform. Her nose grew bigger, her eyes small and black, and the tuft of hair turned a thick and harsh silver.
"What shall be her name," the Priest of Old asked again after all was quiet.
"Name?" The king looked at his monstruous daughter. "We shall call her Beauty."
"But . . ."
"She is not beautiful," the king asked in a dangerous voice. "Well, she shall have some beauty in her life, even if it is her name."
As years went by and the princess got older, whispers of her ugliness spread. The princess came to be known as Beauty the Not Beautiful.
And, indeed, no one wanted her.
It was Beauty's twenty-fifth birthday and her parents had given up on all hopes she would be wed. Beauty was very glad of this for she could not stand when princes would come and run away in horror when they saw her face.
Yet this also made her very, very sad. For did she not deserve love? Why should it matter if her nose was now crooked, her figure big, and her skin covered in scars thanks to the chicken pox? She could not sing, or play the pianoforte, or even sew. But she knew how to do other things, which she wagered, other princesses did not.
Beauty, who did not call herself Beauty the Not Beautiful, but instead Beauty the Brave, resolved that if no one else figured out how to break the curse, then it would be up to her.
So she called over her trusty horse, Shadows, and fled away from the palace in the dead of night. For this princess was not stupid or thoughtless or ignorant like her parents. She was very, very smart. And if one were to break a curse, then why not start with the person who uttered it?
Yes. The princess was going to see the witch.
The witch also lived in a castle--a dark imposing thing with spiky vines and real-life gargoyles covering it. Beauty was granted entrance and brought to the grand room where the witch sat on her throne.
"What is it you want, Beauty the Not Beautiful," the witch asked, for she still could not see what it was Beauty wanted.
"My name is Beauty the Brave." Beauty was proud her voice did not waver. "And it should be obvious what I want--the curse to be broken."
"Ah, of course." The witch leaned forward, a smile on her purple-painted lips. "You wish to be beautiful and have princes fall at your feet."
"No," Beauty said with a shake of her head, her thick silver hair covering half of her face. "I know I shall not ever be beautiful. But I would like to be loved."
"Well, for me to do this, you must, of course, do something for me."
"What is it?"
"How smart you are to ask. So unlike your parents." The witch held up her hand. "You must do three tasks. I doubt you'll succeed with one."
Beauty squared her shoulders. "I will show you otherwise."
"The first task . . . you must shoot the golden bird that flies across the sky with the rising sun."
Beauty was not surprised when the witch had the guards bring her to a room in the dungeons. All rooms but one were empty. Beauty was placed in the cell opposite the other occupied one where the most gorgeous she'd ever seen had been placed. His golden head was bowed but he looked up when he heard the rustle of chains.
Though the dungeon was very dark, his eyes shone a brillaint blue.
And, to his credit, he did not flinch when his eyes met hers.
But they did not focus on anything, and Beauty realized that this golden-haired man was blind.
"Hello," he said. "I'm Nick."
"Nick the . . .?"
He smiled, showing a flash of white. "Just Nick."
Beauty hesitated for her true name was well-known but there were many Beautys in the land, too, and no one ever called her by this name but her. "I'm Beauty the Brave."
"You must be very beautiful to have such a name, and very brave, too."
She was not beautiful and as to brave . . . well, she was not very brave either. She'd never left the castle before now--but if she didn't think of herself as brave then who else would?
"Why are you here?" she asked.
"To break a curse." His smile turned rueful. "I was cursed to a life without sight and really seeing what's before me, and to get my true love, Princess Georgina the Gorgeous, I must see to fight for her hand."
Oh. Princess Georgina the Gorgeous was very, very gorgeous. And she was also very, very mean. She'd locked Beauty in a tiny closet and left her there for the night.
"Oh," Beauty said. "I am also here to break a curse."
"What's your curse?"
Beauty fell silent. She did not want Nick to think of her as ugly as all others did. "I can't say," she said. "If I do--"
"Ah, say no further. It's the Unspeakable Curse." Nick sat down on his cot. "I have one task to complete but have failed thus far."
"I have three." Beauty watched the twinkling stars through a small window and wondered how exactly she was going to shoot a flying golden bird.
"It's very nice to have someone else to talk to. It's been very lonely here," Nick said.
Beauty knew what loneliness was, and they talked some more before she wished him goodnight.
Early, before the sun rose, Beauty was woken by the guards. She was handed a bow and arrow and brought to a clearing.
"Good luck, Beauty the Not Beautiful," one guard said.
"Beauty the Brave!" she called out after him.
Beauty looked at her arrow and bow, and frowned. The sky was starting to turn a rosy pink, heralding the rising of the sun. She had never killed anything before, and she didn't want to start now. But she also must complete her task. The witch expected her to fail.
Everyone always expected her to fail.
Beauty sat down in the meadow. And then she started to sing as the sun rose.
Beauty looked up. A golden bird was perched on her knee.
"You cannot sing!" The birg sang. "I must tell you to stop since I have the golden voice."
"I know. I have heard rumors of the Golden Singing Bird my whole life," Beauty confessed. "I could not kill you, even though the witch wants me too."
"The witch," the bird sang. "She just wants my voice."
"But I'll fail and I'll never break the curse."
"Curse! Curse! What curse," the bird warbled.
"Why, my curse, of course. Surely you see how ugly and fat I am. Beauty the Not Beautiful is my name."
"I do not see, I do not see. I just hear your voice and have heard your name. But not that name you speak of, Beauty the Brave." The bird flew to Beauty's arm and peered into her eyes. "I will give you something, Beauty the Brave for letting me go. For with this, you shall win your task."
"Open your mouth, Beauty the Brave."
Beauty did so and the bird sang into her mouth: "Beauty the Brave, let me show you the voice you have, the one you do not use. Oh, Beauty the Brave, with these notes, you shall be able to speak and sing as you were meant to be. And when next you speak to the witch, you'll give her these words."
And the bird lowered its voice: "Witch, oh witch, your curses do hurt those you shouldn't. Use your powers for something good."
"Thank you," Beauty said, and her voice was rich, powerful, and not as rough and harsh as it used to be.
The golden bird nodded its head and flew away on the rays of the sun.
Beauty hurried to the witch's throne and the witch gave her an imperious look.
"You failed, I see. No bird you bring to me."
"Wrong," Beauty sang, entrancing everyone but the witch. "The bird showed me my voice, and I give you this."
Beauty approached the witch and softly sang the words into the witch's ear.
The witch grew angry and pushed Beauty back. "I see! You got around me this time, Beauty the Not Beautiful, but with this next task, you shall fail. For no one has solved this--you must tell me my name."
The guards brought Beauty back to the dungeons, and Beauty was quiet and sad. How would she ever find out the witch's name? No one knew this.
"Beauty," Nick said. "You're back! I heard you did well."
Beauty nodded. "And you?"
Nick's smile dropped. "I failed, yet again. How am I supposed to see when I do not see?"
"I do not know. It seems a rather hard thing to do," Beauty said. "I have to now find out the witch's name."
"Oh, but that is easy," Nick said. "I know it well."
"Of course," Nick said. "She is, after all, my mother."
The witch had locked up her own son? How . . . mean.
But why would Nick help her out? Beauty can only think of one thing. "And I assume you'll want something from me if you tell me this?"
"No, no," Nick said. "One of us should get out of this prison. And we are friends, I hope?"
Yes, friends, since if Nick ever regained his sight, he would draw away in horror. But maybe if she was beautiful, he would forget all about Georgina the Gorgeous.
"Of course we are friends," Beauty said. "And I'll also figure out a way to help you, too."
Because that's what friends did, and what you do when you fell in love.
And Nick told Beauty the witch's name.
The next day, Beauty was once again summoned to the witch's throne.
"Have you failed again, Beauty the Not Beautiful?" The witch cackled. "Because there is no way--"
"Your name is Whitney the Wise."
The witch stood, anger in her face. "Bring up my son!"
"Oh no!" Beauty fell to her knees. "Do not harm Nick! He was only trying to help me!"
"You love him," Whitney the Wise Witch said. "Of course. He is beautiful, after all."
"I do not love him for his beauty," Beauty said. "He is kind and smart--"
"He's not that smart. He thinks he loves Georgina the Gorgeous."
Beauty couldn't argue this point. "He is my friend."
"Do you think he coud love you?"
"No, I am not--"
"Beautiful? What of that? You are smart and brave, are you not Beauty the Brave?"
"I'm not so smart and brave." Beauty glanced down at the floor. "I wanted to be loved for me but no one will unless the curse is broken."
The witch studied her. "And this I have your third and final task: Be brave."
Beauty was confused how to do this, and then Nick was brought into the room.
"Dearest son, I see you have betrayed me. Again."
Nick also fell to his knees. "Mother, do not harm Beauty. I beg of you."
"Son," Whitney the Wise Witch watched Beauty. "What do you see?"
"See?" Nick frowned. "I don't see anything."
"Do you still love Georgina the Gorgeous?"
Nick was silent and Beauty's heart stuttered.
"I cannot love her." Nick stood, his demeanor proud. "My heart belongs to another. I love Beauty."
"You'd love her without ever seeing her?" The witch snorted. "How could you?"
"I do not need to see her to love her. I know her heart."
Beauty felt true joy but just as quickly her joy was crushed. If he got his sight back, he would run away in horror. He would not love her. He could not.
Whitney the Wise Witch placed her hand on Nick's head and purple smoke flew from her fingers, enveloping her son. "Your curse is lifted."
Beauty stood behind the witch. Fear pumping into her veins and then the witch's words echoed in her head: Be brave.
Beauty stepped around the witch and met Nick's now-seeing eyes. "I love you, Nick. But I do not expect you to love me since I'm not beautiful and you're a prince--"
"Not beautiful?" Nick crossed to her and hugged her. He drew away, his hands still holding onto her arms fiercely. "You're brave, kind, smart, and funny. You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. And I'm not a true prince."
"Nicholas the Noble, you are a prince, for the thousandth time," Wendy the Wise Witch said.
"I have to agree with your mom, Nick." Beauty the Brave smiled. "You are a prince. My prince. And I love you so."
And then Beauty the Brave kissed her prince, for she was smart and she wasn't going to wait any longer for her true love to do it.
"Thus the curse is lifted," the witch said.
Beauty the Brave didn't become beautiful. She was still the same Beauty when she started but for those who loved her--and there were many who did--she was the most beautiful queen they'd ever seen.
And Queen Beauty the Brave and King Nick the Noble indeed lived very happily ever after.