The first time I fell in love with writing was in grade 1. The first story I ever wrote was entitled, ‘Princess Pretends-too-Much’. My first grade teacher encouraged me on the basis of this story to pursue writing. She even bought me a little notebook to continue writing during the summer break. It was the first moment of my life that I had a career oriented dream and someone who believed in that dream. Amazing the power that the belief of an adult can inspire in a child and how the memory remains for ever.
While I no longer have that little notebook or story, I still remember enough of how it went to retell it now. Mind you, the only pretending scenario I recall with accuracy is that she pretends to be cardboard at the end.
Once upon a time in a faraway land there lived a Princess. She was nicknamed Princess Pretends-too-Much because she spent her days inside her castle room playing pretend.
She pretended she was a master chef making the finest food in all the land (picture: she is serving play food to her cat and stuffed animals).
The King called to her, “Princess!” but she was too busy to hear him. (picture: fine foods are spread along a dining table, where her family begins to eat).
She pretended she was marrying the most handsome prince in all the land. (picture: princess has draped herself in a white sheet and is walking toward her cat, who is perched on a stool wearing a little top hat and bow).
The King called to her even louder, “Princess!” but she was too busy to hear him. (picture: a handsome prince has arrived to the caste gates showing the King a large diamond ring).
She pretended she was a knight battling a fierce dragon. (picture: she is fighting her cat).
The King called to her louder than ever, “Princess!” but she was too busy to hear him. (picture: a real dragon is setting fire to the castle.)
(The next page is a picture: the Prince leads the dragon away with a dragon treat and the fire is now just smoke plumes. The Princess is visibly playing in her room as part of the castle walls are now just rubble.)
The King walked up to Princess Pretends-too-Much, tapped her on her shoulder and yelled louder than he ever had before, “Princess!”
Startled, the Princess dives to the ground. She pretended to be a piece of cardboard. (picture: the princess lies on the ground, eyes closed, with one flap of her cardboard rocket ship covering her. Her cat lies on top).
The King says, “It’s too bad the Princess is not here. She missed the best food I have ever eaten.” (picture: the princess opens one eye).
“She missed meeting the most handsome Prince in all the land.” (picture: she opens both eyes).
“She missed battling a fierce dragon.” (picture: she opens her mouth wide, in a look of shock).
“Well, I guess it’s time to clean up. I will start with throwing out this cardboard.” (picture: the king bends down to pick up the “cardboard” Princess).
“Noooo!” yells Princess Pretends-too-Much. (picture: she jumps up into the air).
“Aw, there you are.” said the King, “We have all been missing you and you have been missing many things.” (picture: the King gestures to the people of the land who are just outside the rubble).
The Princess said, “For now on, you can call me Princess Pretends-Just-a Little!” (picture: the people of the land cheering).
(Last Picture: The Princess is pretend fighting with the King while the Prince is directing the dragon to help clean up.