The Tale Of The Squinting Princess

Sci fi/Fantasy image by

Johanna Andersson

 Once upon a time there was a country far, far away... it was a country where trees sang under the waxing moon, where witches danced over star-lit plains and where wild unicorns still roamed the forests. In this country there stood a castle, and in that castle there lived a princess. She had all a princess could ask for; wealth, power and youth. The princess was also beautiful as a summer's day, altough she had a flaw that convinced most of the people that their princess would never be a true beauty: she squinted on her left eye.  Even though it was highly unusual with squinting princesses everybody was so accustomed to it that they barely noticed that her left eye was trying to make contact with her right, and nobody really thought of it... except the princess herself, of course.  One day all the princess had all enough of the castle, her royal family, the court and all mirrors and staring faces. Because in her head, everybody stared and whispered about the eye. She ran of deep into the forest outside the castle, an ancient forest where moss covered the ground and the sun barely was visible amongst the treetrunks and branches. The princess didn't really know for sure how far she went, or in which direction, but suddenly she stood in front of a deep pond. The water was dark and murky, but in the pond blossomed waterlilies that were the most perfect flowers she'd ever seen. A green frog with golden eyes sat on a lily-leaf and eyed the princess, then it dove down inte the tarn, causing the surface to ripple. She knelt by the water's edge and bent over to get a better look at the water lilies, and thereby caught a glance of her own reflection on the pond's surface. She almost toppled over. It was she, no doubt, but her left eye was as straight as her right. The princess could barely breathe while watching her reflection, but suddenly it burst out laughing. The sound was clear and bright, like a brook pouring over rocks. The princess got scared and nearly ran away, but she was curious about the laughing mirror-image that didn't squint, and therefore she stayed.  The reflection greeted her and told that it was a waterspirit who lived in the tarn, watched over it and protected it with it's magic. When the princess heard that, she figured out that the waterspirit might be able to set the eye straight for real. The waterspirit admitted that it indeed was possible, but it had no intentions of helping the princess whatsoever. By flattering, demanding, threatening and finally downright begging the princess tried to make the spirit change her mind. When she told the spirit that it would have whatever it wanted, the spirit finally agreed. It told the princess to bend over, and when she did her reflection came closer and stretched out it's hand to her face. But when he hand broke the surface, it was not the princess' own, delicate hand but a wrinkled, taloned hand with nails like claws. The princess withdrew from the water, but it was too late. The hand dived toward her face, quick as a heron striking upon it's prey, and snatched out the princess' eye from it's socket. The princess let out a cry of agony that echoed  over the whole forest, but it was no use. The spirit had returned with the eye deep down in the tarn, and she laughed once more and then was quiet.  The princess screamed and cried, she threatened and begged. But it was no use. The spirit wouldn't answer, and the pond was empty except for the water lilies and the green frog. The princess stayed for hours and then went home. Her family and the people of the country was mortified when they saw that her left eye was gone. A squinting princess was one thing, but a one-eyed! How would she ever be married? She let her army serach the woods after a pond, but the spirit had foresawn that and hid the pond with it's magic. No matter how much they searched, the tarn could not be found.  One the third night since her visit by the pond, the princess layed in her bed and tried to get some sleep. She had an awful headache. Suddenly a hoarse croak made her sit straight up. She noticed that her door was glinted, and on the floor beside her bed sat a green frog. Beside it lay a water lily leaf, and upon the leaf was her eye. The princess left her bed and knelt before the frog, and she carefully lifted her eye and put it back in it's socket. It fitted perfectly, and she regained her sight emediatly. She still squinted, but she hardly paid any attention to that in her rejoice. With tears of happiness trickling down her cheeks she lifted the frog and kissed it. Suddenly, the frog turned to heavy to hold and she had to let it go.  In front of her sat a young man. He was naked but quickly covered himself with the water lily leaf. The man was beautiful, but his face was covered with warts. The princess became mortified, but the man explained that he was a prince from another kingdom. He had, just like the princess, ran away into the forest because of his warts. There he had met the waterspirit and demanded that it would make the warts disappear, but the prince had refused to pay the price. Therefor the spirit had turned him into a frog, destined to remain in this shape until a fair lady kissed him.  Everyone became overjoyed when they saw that the princess had got her eye back, and that the lost prince from their neighboring country had returned. And so the squinting princess and the warty prince got married and lived happily ever after.  The End. Black ink and markers, 2008

Published More than a year ago

Category Mythology

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