A story about the struggles of long-distance love between two kingdoms. 2017 Quill nominee
|Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince who lived in the northern kingdom of Boysenberry. Many eligible young ladies, and more than a few eligible young men, often swooned at the very sight of the prince. When he rode past on his gallant steed, married women sighed, and had bitter thoughts about their husbands. Their husbands, on the other hand, generally scowled and looked the other way.
However, only one soul owned a spot in the prince’s heart. A year previous, he had met a beautiful princess from the kingdom of Taliashire, a day’s ride from Boysenberry. And, as good fortune would have it, the princess also held the prince dear in her heart.
But the prince’s steed grew older and less gallant by the day, and riding to the kingdom of Taliashire became ever more difficult over time. This was most frustrating for both the prince and the princess because, as much as they desired to see each other, or at least to communicate in whatever way possible, the kingdom of Boysenberry had no internet connection to the outside world.
Nearly every day, the princess tweeted messages of love to the prince, hoping that someone would read them and ride to Boysenberry to relay them to the prince. However, physical travel over rough and dangerous roads being what it was, messengers often were set upon by rogues, or forgot the specific text of the tweets and passed on quite different messages to the prince.
One day, when the princess was feeling particularly sad, the king of Taliashire came to her and said, “Why so particularly sad, my child? Did the royal chef cook another of your pet doves?”
“No, father,” said the princess. “I pine for my dear Prince Reginald of Boysenberry. He has not visited in more than a fortnight, and my heart is in pain.”
“Can you not tweet a message to your prince? Or he to you?”
“Alas, no,” wailed the princess. “For he has no internet connection.”
“No internet?” The king was taken aback. “Why, I’m afraid your prince is living in the dark ages.”
“Sadly, yes. And when I send messages to him by courier, the results rarely are the same as what I intended. Would that the royal court might contain a few couriers who were not only fierce fighters, but also possessed sharp memories.”
The king smiled and patted his daughter on the head. “If that is the problem,” he said, “I may have just the answer.”
The princess lit up like a newly mounted sconce. “Oh, father. Please do tell.”
“There is a young man in the royal thespian troupe who could take the place of many. Why, a few fortnights ago I saw him perform for the royal court of Twitterham. Well, by my beard, that man had memorized every word of every role in a play written by the Earl of Bailiwick. Our thespian performed, alone on stage, as one-hundred-forty characters. I tell you it was a sight to behold.”
“Oh, father.” The princess threw her arms around the king and kissed him heartily on the cheek. “Do you suppose I might recite a tweet to this thespian, and he might retain the entire message all the way to Boysenberry?”
“I have no doubt,” smiled the king. “No doubt at all.”
“Then I shall waste no time in preparing a message for my love.” The princess proceeded to twirl about in joy. For at last she would be able to tell her prince that, gallant steed or not, he would always be the one she loved. And the only difficulty would be trying to communicate that message in no more than one-hundred-forty characters.