“…and they lived happily every after. The End.” Sarah closed the book of fairly tales and smiled at her daughter. “And now, it’s time for sleep. We’ve read three stories tonight. That’s enough.”
Evelyn crinkled her nose. “There are never any good dragons in the stories.”
Sarah smiled. Evelyn said the same thing every night. Though the stories they read never contained any dragons at all, Evelyn always wanted to hear about a good dragon. “I’ve told you the stories of Lillisthad, child. You know there are good dragons.”
“I know, but…” She shook her head then yawned. “They also never show girls that can fight their own fights. I want to read about a girl that saves the Prince.”
Her mother laughed softly. “Perhaps you’ll tell a story one day of a girl that saves the Prince.”
“Lillisthad should have their stories in books so you can read them to me.”
Sarah stood and placed the book on the nightstand, well away from the candle. “That’s enough questions for the night, dear. You need sleep. We go to the market early tomorrow morning.”
Evelyn nodded from her bed but stayed sitting up. She looked up at her mother, a new question in her mind. Seeing the look on her mother’s face, she snuggled down into her covers and took a deep breath. “Mom? Why do the stories always say, ‘handsome prince’?”
Sarah stopped tugging in the covers and gave her young daughter an odd look. “What do you mean, sweetheart?”
“Well, the stories all say the prince is handsome, but they never say that he’s kind. Wouldn’t it be better if he were a ‘kind prince’? Or both?”
Sarah sat back down on her chair. She had never really given this much thought. “Well, the stories show that he is kind in how he acts, but unless there are pictures, we don’t know that he’s handsome.”
Evelyn crinkled her nose. “I still think they should say he’s kind. Then we know who the hero is, even if it’s always a boy.”
“All right, dear, enough of that. Go to sleep.” She said it with kindness as she caressed her daughter’s hair.
Sarah leaned down and kissed her daughter on the cheek, then turned and picked up the book and candle from the nightstand. She left her daughter’s room and went to her own. Her husband was getting ready for bed.
“How many stories tonight?”
“Three.” Sarah placed the book and candle on the nightstand. “She asked a new question tonight.”
Will turned to his wife as he continued to undress. “Oh?”
“She wants the prince to be kind.” There was laughter in her voice.
He chuckled and shook his head. “Then add the word when you tell her the stories. It’ll make her happy.”
Sarah placed a hand on the book. “Will, I want you to teach me to read.”
“I have often offered, but what changed your mind?”
“She’s getting older. She wanted to try to read one of the stories tonight.” Sarah looked down at the title on the book “Farmers Guide to Irrigation”, at the letters that meant nothing to her. “She’ll know soon enough that the stories I tell her aren’t from this book.”
Will went to Sarah and took her in his arms. “They’re from your memories of the stories you were told as a child. She should know that anyway. Why you don’t tell her is beyond my understanding.”
Sarah shrugged and gave her husband a kiss. “I will, when she asks, but I want to learn how to read before then. It may help me to find a book with stories that she wants to hear.”
He smiled down at his wife. “We’ll start now.”
She smiled back. “Thank you.”
Will smiled again, kissed his wife then let her go. The couple settled on their bed as Will took the book in hand. He opened it up and started to teach his wife to read.
“Evelyn, I’m sorry, but they don’t have a fairy tale with a good dragon and a girl that saves the kind, handsome prince. I’ve looked.”
From her bed, the small girl frowned, her blue eyes showing disappointment. “That’s ok. Can you call the prince kind when you tell me a story?”
Sarah smiled. “Of course, love. Anything for you.”
Evelyn gave her mother a huge smile. “Thank you, mommy!”
She smiled again and opened the new book of fairy tales Will had purchased at the fair earlier in the week. It was a present for her and Evelyn, as she could now read well enough to decipher the new stories. “Daddy bought you a new book. We’ll read from that tonight.” Evelyn smiled, settled in her bed and waited for her mother to start. The stories her mother told were fine, but Evelyn still wanted to hear about dragons and girls who could save the day. It happened every day in Lillisthad, therefore Evelyn felt it could also happen in her home realm of Kaymbria.