A Royal Dilemma
“Your Highness? The Queen sent me to finish fixing your hair.” My hand maiden, Maggie said.
“Oh, yes! Thank you, Maggie.” I said. Yes, this is me. Many people would think that life as a princess is wonderful, but that is not entirely true. While there are many luxuries being a princess, I have often felt alone. Yes, I had my mother, Queen Isabella, always there for me as well as my father, King David, but I never had any friends to talk to or laugh with. I was raised in the castle, never permitted to go outside of the castle walls. And finally, today was the day I was making my debut- my 16th birthday…
“Bring the chair over here, please.” I said.
“Oh, Maggie! Can you believe it? My first ball! I will finally be meeting people!” I said with a squeal. Oops! That is not proper!
“Yes, Your Highness. I am sure you must be overwhelmed with joy!” Maggie said as she tied my ribbon.
*Sigh* “People? Maggie, what am I to say? I am so excited, but nervous as well, I’m sure I will faint.” I said. I never imagined that I would be so nervous.
“There now, Princess. I know you will be just fine!” Maggie said as she gave me a little squeeze. She was always such a comfort to me.
I stood up and Maggie placed my crown on my head.
“You look beautiful, Your Highness.” Maggie said with a curtsy.
“Thank you, Maggie!” I said.
My mother walked in with a smile on her face. She was truly the most beautiful and gracious queen and I hoped someday I would be like her.
“Your Majesty.” Maggie said as she curtsied.
“Thank you, Maggie. Would you please excuse us for a moment?” My mother asked.
“Of course, Your Majesty!” Maggie said.
“Oh, Ruby! You look positively radiant!” My mother said as she took my hands.
“Thank you, Mother! And you look absolutely divine, as always!” I said with a smile.
“My dear, I have been thinking that perhaps we should wait another year…” My mother said.
“No, Mother! We all agreed that I when I turned 16, that would be the day I make my debut.” I said with a sigh. Then my father walked in.
“Ruby, you look beautiful!” My father said.
“Doesn’t she?” My mother said proudly.
“Thank you, Father.” I said shyly.
Suddenly my father’s smile disappeared and he said, “Ruby, Isabella, the guards just informed me of something of a very serious nature.” My father said. “Uh-oh! I know that look. Something’s wrong!” I thought to myself.
“Two men have been spotted in the castle grounds. They plan to kidnap Ruby.” My father said with one of the saddest expressions I had ever seen.
I gasped, “Mother, what do we do?”
“Hush, dear!” My mother said, “David, what are the guards doing about this?”
“They are on the lookout for the men, but they have had no luck.” My father replied.
“What do you mean? Who spotted them if it wasn’t the guards?” I asked.
“Unfortunately, it was the gardener.” My father replied.
“David, what on earth are we going to do? If they make it in the palace they will take her and we will never see her again!” My mother said.
“I know. There is only one alternative. We must send Ruby away.” My father replied.
“Away? Where?” My mother asked.
“She will stay with my Aunt Beatrice in the country. It is the safest place. No one would look for her there.” My father said as he grabbed my hand. “You must be brave, Ruby.”
“Brave? I’m being sent away from my home and my parents to live with my aunt in the country, how am I supposed to be brave?” I asked my father with tears in my eyes.
“Remember this poem, it will help you:
Do not be afraid,
Do not cry,
You must be brave.
We will rest easy,
If you will try.”
I decided I would try to be brave. I wouldn’t want my parents to be worrying about me day and night. “I wonder what Aunt Beatrice is like?” I thought to myself.
About an hour later I went into my bedroom to get changed.
“Lizbeth, please bring Ruby’s dress at once.” My mother ordered. She was getting stressed. The coach was all ready aside from a few chests that needed to be loaded on and I needed to leave as soon as possible.
“Here it is Your Highness.” Lizbeth said as she held up my dress.
“Mother, isn’t that a bit too fancy? I am going to be in the country after all.” I said.
“Well, perhaps it is, but this is your plainest dress. Lizbeth, Maggie, please help Ruby into her dress.” Mother said.
After I was changed and the servants had gone to load up the coach, I hugged my mother for a long while.
“When will I be able to return?” I asked, my eyes swelling with tears.
“Soon, my dear.” Mother replied, I could tell she was trying to hold back her tears.
My mother took off my crown and placed it on my vanity. “It will be waiting right here for you.” Mother said.
“Ruby, I have something I want to give you. My mother gave it to me when I was married.” Mother said.
I unwrapped the little handkerchief to find a beautiful golden necklace. The heart was a locket with pictures of my mother and father.
“Oh, Mother! It’s beautiful! Thank you!” I said. Then my father walked in to say that the coach was ready.
As my father held my hand to help me up into the coach, I turned around and said, “Please don’t make me go! I want to stay here with the both of you!”
“Ruby, you know there is no other way. You must go, it is for your own protection.” Mother explained.
“Remember the poem, daughter. We love you.” Father said as the door closed.
My mother and father watched me drive off with tears in their eyes. None of us knew how long it would be before we saw each other again.
The next morning I woke up to the sound of chickens. “This must be where my Aunt Beatrice lives!” I thought to myself. “My it is certainly a very small house.”
As instructed by my father, the driver and guards unloaded the coach and drove off. I had to carry all of my own luggage. “Well, perhaps I could just bring in one small bag for now.” I thought.
“Hello? Are you Aunt Beatrice?” I asked with a grunt. That bag was not as small and light as I thought!
“Weeeelll!! Howdy! You must be Ruby! Yes, I am your Aunt Beatrice, but you can just call me Aunt Bea. Well, landsakes alive, you are just the spittin’ image of your ma!” Aunt Bea said. Wow, she was a talker!
“It is nice to meet you, Aunt Bea! Wh-where can I put my things?” I stammered as I took off my cloak.
“Oh, just set ’em down right there! That’ll do fine. I expected you to have a huge movin’ truck bringing in tons of chests, suitcases, and the like.” Aunt Bea laughed.
“Oh, I have more outside, but I’m not used to carrying my own luggage.” I said and then all of a sudden a dog came charging and jumping at me!
“AAAAH!! AAAH!! AAH!! Get away!! Shoo! Go on! AH!” I screamed.
“Bandit! Get off of her right now!” Aunt Bea ordered.
“AAH! Whoa-AAH!!” I screamed. He would not get away from me!
“AAAAAH!! Oof!” I screamed.
Just as Bandit jumped on me Aunt Bea said, “BANDIT!! RIGHT NOW!” Then he stopped.
Aunt Bea helped me up and told Bandit to go lie down.
“Wh-what was wrong with him?” I stammered.
“Oh, it’s just cause you’re new. He’ll get used to ya’, don’t fret. If he can get along with my cat, I’m sure he’ll get along with you.” Aunt Bea replied.
“Come over here and sit down. I’ve got some eggs and toast made for ya’.” Aunt Bea led me over to her table.
“Well, don’t worry none about how you’re eatin’, no need to impress me. Go on and dig in!” Aunt Bea said with a laugh.
“Oh, no thank you, I’m fine.” I said. It was going to be very strange living in this small house. What on earth was I going to do here?
After I had eaten my breakfast Aunt Bea grabbed my bag and said, “C’mon, I’ll show you to your room. It’s just right through that door! I hope you’ll like it. I made a blanket and mattress for you just as quick as I could!”
“Aunt Bea! I have more luggage outside, shouldn’t you bring those in first?” I asked.
“Oh, no! You won’t be need’n them fancy things! I brought in the chest with your hair things, but everything else you won’t use.” Aunt Bea said with a laugh.
“How dare she say that I will not need my things! What about my shoes?” I thought angrily.
“Here it is! I know it’s small, but it should suit yer needs.” Aunt Bea said as she set my bag on the bed.
“Oh, it is very small!” I said with a nervous chuckle, “Where is my vanity and wardrobe? And a table and chairs?” I asked.
“Well, I only have one vanity and a wardrobe for myself. And as for a table and chairs those go in the kitchen.” Aunt Bea explained.
“Okay, well, is there a restroom?” I asked.
“Oh, surely! It’s outside around back. Only it’s not called a restroom it’s called an outhouse.” Aunt Bea said. “Oh, and I’ve got the CUUU-TEST pajama’s for you!”
“I am officially shocked now.” I thought to myself. “Aunt Bea, I have a nightgown already.” I explained, but I was too late. She had already reached under the bed and was holding up the pajamas.
“Aren’t these just the sweetest things you ever did see?” Aunt Bea asked with a huge smile on her face.
“They’re very nice.” I said, though I didn’t mean it.
“And I have an adorable outfit for you to wear while you’re helpin’ me around the place!” Aunt Bea said and she pulled out another outfit from underneath the bed.
I felt my jaw hang down. “Oh, my goodness. I can not wear that.” I thought as I looked at the boots and the shirt. “Thank you, Aunt Bea.” I said politely.
“Here’s a hat to go with it!” Aunt Bea said as she placed it on my head.
“Awww!! You look adorable!” Aunt Bea exclaimed. “You finish gettin’ dressed now. I’ve gotta go milk the cow.” She said and was gone.
I can not begin to describe to you how difficult it was to get dressed. Those trousers, or whatever they are called, are so hard to get on! Dresses are much more comfortable.
Then putting on my boots was another challenge.
“How do people get these on?” I said aloud.
I fell backwards onto the bed as I tried to put that boot on. Then I realized I was putting it on the wrong foot. Oops!
Then I attempted to brush my hair…That did not go well!
“Ow! How do people- Ow! Brush their- Ow! Hair? OOW!” I asked myself. Each stroke of the brush hurt. “I give up!” I said and tied a ribbon in my hair.
“Oh, hi, honey! There’s a basket on the shelf for ya’, so you go on to the chicken coop and collect the eggs, okay?” Aunt Bea said as she walked through the door. She had just finished the milking. “Why is she making me work? I have never done any work in my entire life! I am princess for goodness sake!” I thought.
I grabbed the basket anyways and headed out the door.
“Hello! I am new to this, so please do not peck me.” I said to the chicken. I had to think of all of the books I had read and movies I had seen for help. I did not know how to do this!
Surprisingly, I was doing very well!
When I turned to go into the house, I saw a rooster! “Hello! I am just going inside now.” I told the rooster.
I moved a little to the side and the rooster kept his eyes in my direction.
The he crowed and lunged towards me!
“AAAAH!!” I screamed as I dropped the whole basket of eggs and moved back.
“AUNT BEA!! AUNT BEA, HELP!!” I yelled.
“Laaand sakes, Andy! What’s got into you?” Aunt Bea said as she picked him up.
“You alright, Ruby?” Aunt Bea asked. I was too startled to speak so I nodded my head. “Good. I’m sorry ’bout that. You best come in the house now.” Aunt Bea said.
After dinner that night, as Aunt Bea poured some milk, I apologized for dropping all of the eggs.
“It’s fine, dear. There’ll be more eggs tomorrow.” Aunt Bea said with a smile. “You drink some of this warm milk and get to bed.”
I lied down in bed and waited for Aunt Bea to come cover me.
After about 5 minutes, she still hadn’t come. “I guess I have to cover myself as well.” I said aloud.
I reached down to the foot of the bed and grabbed the blanket. “How strange to not have someone doing this for me!” I said.
“I wonder what tomorrow will be like?” I thought as I drifted off to sleep.
“Mornin’, Aunt Bea! I’m all through with the milkin’.” I said cheerfully as I walked through the back door. Bandit came over and licked my fingers.
“Landsakes, girl! That took quite a while, I’ve already finished breakfast! Come set yourself down and eat!” Aunt Bea said.
“After you’re through, could ya’ finish the chores for me? I gotta go into town today.” Aunt Bea asked.
“Sure, I don’t mind!” I replied. Then the phone rang.
“Well, who’d be calling this time of mornin’?” Aunt Bea wondered.
“Hello? Yes, this is Aunt Bea. Oh, well, hi! Is everything alright? Uh-huh. Oh, dear.” Aunt Bea said. I listened with great curiosity.
“Ye-yes, of course, she’ll be down there this morning. Thank you for calling. Bye.” Aunt Bea said sadly.
“Aunt Bea? What is it?” I asked.
“It’s your mother and father. They are very sick. The doctor thinks you should be there with them.” Aunt Bea explained.
“Ho-how sick are they?” I stammered.
“Very sick, dear. The doctor says it will not be long now. You must leave immediately.” Aunt Bea said as she touched my shoulder. “Would not be long? They’re- dying?” I thought to myself.
I went into my room and changed into one of my dresses. Then I fixed my hair nice. I came out and Aunt Bea was sadly standing by the door.
“You be brave, okay? I love you, Ruby!” Aunt Bea said as she blinked away her tears.
“I love you, too, Aunt Bea! Goodbye.” I said. I wanted to make the parting short. If it had been any longer I knew I wouldn’t have been able to take it.
I arrived at the castle and Maggie showed me into my parent’s chambers. Lizbeth was in there straightening up their bed sheets.
“Thank you, Lizbeth. Would you leave us alone please?” I asked and she left.
I sat by my parent’s bed and just wanted to cry. I had never seen them so sick before. I grabbed my mother’s hand and whispered, “Mother, Father. It’s me, Ruby.”
“Ruby!” My mother whispered happily and my father turned his head towards me.
“Ruby, we have something we need to tell you.” Father said seriously. “18 years ago you were born to us, but not alone.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“What your father means to say is that- you have a twin sister.” Mother said with tears in her eyes.
“What? What happened to her? Why have I never met her and why have I never known?” I asked forcefully, but tried to calm down. I knew they were ill and I didn’t want to excite them.
“You two were only three when she was kidnapped. I am sure that Diamond does not even remember us. Yes, Diamond. You were both our two little jewels.” Father explained.
“Why haven’t you ever told me about her?” I asked.
“Ruby, everything we did, not telling you about Diamond, never being allowed to go outside, it was all for your protection. We could not bear loosing another daughter.” Mother said.
“Ruby, I love you so much. You will be a wonderful queen.” Mother said as she touched my cheek.
Then she was gone.
“Mother? No! Mother, please!” I cried.
“Mother!!” I gave her a big hug.
“I love you, Ruby. Be selfless, brave, and true and you will be a good queen. Just like your mother.” Father cried and soon he was gone, too.
I lied myself on top of them and cried for a long while. I never knew how hard it would be to lose a loved one forever.
A week after the funeral, a big day came for me. It was Coronation Day.
As I walked down the aisle I felt scared and sad. I could never be a great queen like my mother.
Maggie placed my mother’s crown on top of my head and I held back tears. Then Maggie curtsied and everyone chanted, “Long live the Queen! Long live the Queen! Long live the Queen!”
As I sat in my throne, I knew what my first act as queen would be. I was going to find my sister, no matter what the cost!
Two days after the coronation I began my search for my sister, Diamond. I had the guards searching everywhere and Maggie informed me on how how the search was going.
“Your Majesty, the guards have been unable to determine your sister’s whereabouts.” Maggie said.
I got up from my throne and thought for a moment. Then I said,
“Maggie, please tell the guards to stop their search and have them bring me Captain Elena.”
“Captain Elena, Ma’m?” Maggie asked.
“Yes, she is a pirate captain.” I explained.
“Yes, Your Majesty.” Maggie replied.
About an hour later Maggie showed up as I was pacing back and forth in the throne room. “Yes, Maggie, what is it?” I asked.
“Captain Elena has refused to come, Your Majesty.” Maggie said.
“Did she give a reason for refusing?” I asked.
“No, Your Majesty. Would you like me to have the guards arrest her?” Maggie asked.
“No, that will not be necessary. Thank you, Maggie, you may go.” I said.
That night I put on one of my dresses I wore in the country, slipped on my cloak, and left without anyone knowing. “If Captain Elena will not come to me, I will go to her.” I thought to myself.
Down at the docks, I silently followed a pirate who I thought may be Captain Elena, but I wanted to be sure before I revealed myself.
The pirate came to a halt and I paused. Then she spun around and grabbed me!
“Alright, Missy, start talkin’! Who are ye and why are you followin’ me?” The pirate asked.
“I will tell who I am once you tell me who you are. Are you Captain Elena?” I asked.
“Aye, I am. Now, what do ye want?” Captain Elena replied.
“I am Queen Ruby. I have a favor to ask of you.” I said.
“A favor? What is it?” Captain Elena asked.
“I have recently discovered that I have a twin sister who was kidnapped when she was three. My guards have been searching everywhere, but they have been unable to find her. I know that pirates like you know much about all of the horrible events that have taken place over the years, and I need you to help me find her. You are the only one equipped to do so. Especially since, well, you spend a good amount of time around people who have done bad things.” I said. I wasn’t being mean, just saying the truth.
“Wait a minute, Missy! I was going down that road, but I’ve changed, savvy? All of the pirating I do now is good. And now I have just one question, what’s in it for me?” Captain Elena asked.
“First, you will address me as ‘Your Majesty, Your Highness, or My Queen.’ And second, I will give you a reward of $100,000, but only if you find her. If not I will give you $50,000.” I said firmly.
Captain Elena thought for a awhile then she held out her hand and said,
“We have an accord!” I was so relieved. Just shaking her hand made me feel that I could depend upon her to find my sister!
One morning I was talking to Maggie about the menu for the rest of the week, when I heard someone say, “Queen, I must have an audience with you.”
It was Captain Elena striding quickly towards me.
“Yes, Captain, what is it?” I asked.
“I have found yer sister. She is living on a farm near Cordelle. Only her name is not Diamond, she goes by Gracie.” Captain Elena said. I felt my heart leap for joy! Then I asked,
“How did you find her?”
“I know people who know things. They lead me to Cordelle, I watched her on the farm, heard’em talkin’. Then I knew for sure it was her. Now, uh- about that reward…” Said Captain Elena.
“Oh, yes, of course.” I said and turned to Maggie.
“Maggie, please have the guards go down to the docks this morning with Captain Elena’s reward.” I said then I looked at Elena, “I most sincerely thank you for helping me. You have no inkling of how important this was to me.” I said. Then Captain Elena looked down at her feet and said,
“No, that’s wrong, Queen. I know what it’s like to get a sister back. Thank ye, I’ll take my leave now.” She bowed and walked away. Just as she closed the door I called for the stable boys to get my carriage ready. I was going to meet my sister!
As we pulled to a stop I discovered that my sister lived just down the lane from Aunt Bea’s house. “What a small world it is!” I thought. I walked up to a girl who looked like my sister and said, “Hello! May I have a word with you, please?” I tried to seem natural. I didn’t want her to think I was crazy.
The girl gasped, “Your Highness! Of course you may! Uh- please forgive my appearance, I would never have expected you to come calling.” She seemed very pleased to see me, which made me feel more comfortable.
“Please, don’t bother about your appearance. I know how you have to be dressed when you live on a farm. I have to tell you something and it is going to come as quite a shock- Diamond.” I said with a pause. When I called her Diamond, she seemed as though she remembered it. Almost as if it was from a dream she’d forgotten.
“Your Highness, you must have me mistaken with somebody else. My name is Gracie.” She said.
“Yes, your name is Gracie now, but fifteen years ago, it was Diamond. It’s the name you were given when you were born.” I explained gently.
“How do you know this?” She asked me.
“Because you are my sister.” I said. She looked at me with surprise and confusion. “This is going to be difficult for you to hear, but it is the truth. About a month ago my parents died, as I am sure you know. They told me that I had a twin sister who was kidnapped when we were just three years old. They never told me about her because they did not want to lose another daughter. My parents said that her name was Diamond. They said ‘You were both our two little jewels’. Determined to find my sister, I went looking for a pirate captain. She helped me track you down and told me that your name is Gracie. And believe me, you look just like you do in our baby picture.” I explained. We stood in silence for a moment and then Gracie said,
“D-do you have the picture?”
“Yes, I do.” I called for the guards to bring my bag from the carriage.
“Gracie, if you need some time to think about this for awhile I understand. I know it is a lot to take in. Whenever you are ready, the palace is open to you.” I said.
“Your Highness- Ruby, I believe you. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to discover that I am the queen’s sister! That I- am a princess!” Gracie said with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes.
I went to her and gave her a big long hug. “Oh, Diamond! I love you!” I said and Diamond replied, “I love you, Ruby!”
“Come, we shall go to the palace and get you settled in your room.” I said, not realizing that she had a family she would be leaving.
“Ruby, I can’t leave. As I said, it is exciting to discover I’m a princess and that I have another sister, but, this is my home. I could never imagine leaving this life to become a princess. I need to stay here. This is where I belong. Milking cows, collecting eggs, riding horses, and mucking out stalls. I’m sorry, Ruby.” Diamond said with sigh.
“I understand, Diamond. This is where you’ve lived your whole life. With the parents who raised you and the brothers and sisters you’ve played with. I want you to know that you will always be welcome at the palace. And I will always love you.” I said with a smile. I gave her one last hug and took my leave.
All that night I could not sleep a wink. I paced across the floor thinking and thinking about what I needed to do. “I can’t be a great queen like my mother! Oh, what am I going to do?” I asked myself. Then it came to me. I needed to be with my sister!
Another two weeks passed and it was once again Coronation Day! I had decided to give up the crown and hand it down to someone else. Someone who knew everything about being a queen and ruling a kingdom. And someone who had a good, kind heart and a wise, thoughtful mind. There was only one person I knew who was worthy of the task…
“Long live the Queen! Long live the Queen! Long live the Queen!” The crowd chanted.
Among the crowd were my Aunt Bea, my sister Diamond, and myself.
I couldn’t be more happy with my choice! I knew Maggie would make the perfect queen. And now that I was living with Aunt Bea, I could see Diamond any time. That made me sure, that I would be perfectly happy in my new life.
I want to say a HUGE thank you to the cast!! They were all amazing and many of whom have become stars!! Also thank you to my mom who helped me so much with this series! Love you!