Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mother Goosed: The Tale of HindaElla--Part XIII

Whilst all were talking over the Prince's awkward situation and the Prince was conversing with his frog, HindaElla quietly slipped up the stairs and commenced packing. It was clear to her that an extended journey was in order. Stay and watch the Prince and Mrs. Gottenmuter get married she would not do.

A glimpse of herself in the mirror caused even HindaElla to pause. A slight twinge of conscience smote her. She had wanted the Prince to accept her for herself, but even she could see that crumbled rose petals and cinder soot might be too much to swallow, at least on such short acquaintance. "Oh well," she thought sadly, "it doesn't matter now. I lost."

As she dipped a cloth in the water in the basin on the dresser and scrubbed at her face, the house suddenly erupted in a violent shaking and an imperative shout echoed and bounced throughout all the chambers of the house.

"What the h___" HindaElla screeched, dropping the cloth and racing down the stairs. She stared open-mouthed and slack-jawed at the sight that met her eyes. She was not alone in her stupefaction. All those in the room stood frozenly rooted in place. All but the Prince.

He stood firmly in the center of the room, a blunderbuss, still smoking from it's firing, firmly held in his hand. "Silence!" he roared. And silence there was. The King, refusing to believe his eyes and ears, took a step towards the Prince but stopped as the blunderbuss was lowered, pointing directly at the King's heart. And no one noticed that in one corner the Queen and Mrs. Gottenmuter, nervously holding onto each other's fingers, chewed their lips and looked at the Prince anxiously yet hopefully.

HindaElla shook her head as if she were seeing things, but when she looked again the picture was still there: the Prince, her Prince, was scowling. And HindaElla could swear that he had grown at least 3 inches since she had last looked at him.

"I am not happy with any of you right now.!" his voice dripped with scorn. "How dare you decide for me what is right for me!" He turned and marched with vigor over to Mrs. Gottenmuter. "Give me those damned shoes" he commanded. And Mrs. Gottenmuter silently did as she was ordered and took off the shoes and gave them to the Prince. And as he turned and strode away he did not see the little tear of joy that ran from her eye, nor the brief prayer of thanks that she offered up.

He cocked the blunderbuss, tossed the first shoe high in the air, took aim and fired. The sound of shattering glass released the crowd from its stupor and they all dived for cover. The second shoe followed the first and was blown into oblivion. "So much for glass slippers" the Prince announced.

"I have already chosen my Princess and you can all like it or lump it. Frankly, I don't give a rats..." The frog quickly covered the Prince's mouth with its foot and frantically whispered into the Prince's ear. "Oh, right," the Prince muttered. He began anew. "The only Princess I want is the one my heart chose."

He strode over to the stairway, where HindaElla stood as if in a trance. "HindaElla, I would sure consider myself the luckiest man alive if you would be my wife, my Princess." Belatedly it occurred to the Prince that perhaps he should have had some gift prepared to give to HindaElla to mark his sincerity. Unfortunately no bauble or piece of jewelry did he have. But being resourceful, the Prince pulled the frog off his shoulder and held it out on his hand in front of HindaElla. "Please accept this as a token of my esteem and of my true regard."

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