Little Ellie Eden stood in front of the bookshelf and surveyed its contents. The bottom shelf, affectionately dubbed, “Ells shelf” by her older siblings, held the children’s books that at seven years of age, she now scorned as too babyish. The top shelf held Mummy and Papa’s books—titles such as, Low Calorie Recipes for Anxious Mums, Do It: 80 Things Every Man O’ The Family Should Know, and Biographies Of Everyone We Know Enough About To Make One—that one was pretty thick; Ellie imagined that since it took up about half the shelf it must be about as heavy as Papa’s truck!
The middle shelf, however, was the one she liked most. Upon it were all the books that her older siblings had written and published. As she gazed at the row of books, an idea began to form in her head: If all her siblings could write books, why couldn’t she, Elliena Eden? It was true that she was only a “lil’ lassie” as Papa called her, but great authors had to start somewhere, right?
Convinced of this, she fetched a piece of paper, borrowed a pencil from her oldest brother, Thompson, and sat down at the little table by the bookshelf. She took a deep breath, and then began:
Once upon a time…there was a princess
She almost put a period there but then added,
…with long mustard colored hair.
There. That was an elegant beginning!
A shadow fell over her paper and she looked up to see that Thompson had followed her in.
“Whatcha doin’, little sister?” He inquired, looking with some amusement at the sentence on her paper.
“I’m writin’ a book!” She declared confidently, “Jus’ like you!”
“Then you’d better make sure you have plenty of characters—too few’ll make it dull,” Thompson advised as he left the room.
Ellie looked at the two thick books side by side on the shelf, Trouble and More Trouble with “Thompson Horace Eden” proudly emblazoned in gold on the front and side. Then she wrote,
There was also a King and a Queen and a Knight and a Squire and a cook and a stableboy and a whole lot of other servants.
There was no way this would be a dull story now, she thought proudly.
Louise stepped into the room with her feather duster. She dusted the lamp and the windowsill before finally noticing Ellie watching her.
“What are you up to this afternoon, Elliena?” she wondered, smiling sweetly at the little girl.
“I’m writin’ a book, just like you!” was the cheerful response.
“Oh! I’m sure it will be wonderful! Just remember to use descriptive words so that your readers will be able to almost see your characters as though they were real,” she advised, going out to dust the mantle in the sitting room.
The princess wore very long dresses, so long that her feet were never seen and so no one knew that she always went barefoot.
That was a good start! She looked admiringly at Louise’s novel, How it Felt to be Kissed by the Wind, then continued.
The King, her father, always wore a big crown and had a huge nose. Her mother, the Queen, only wore purple dresses and did not usually wear her crown since it hurt her little head she said. There was only one Knight and he wore amor that looked just like…
She paused, trying to remember what the shiny stuff Mummy used to cover food was called…Oh!
…just like aluminum foil. The Squire was 16 years old and had brown hair.
Just as she had decided that that was all the describing she could do, Anna skipped in to practice the piano.
“Anna, what else should I put into my book?” She asked.
Anna thoughtfully played a scale before answering, “I think every good book should have music in it.” She nodded toward the bookshelf, “Like Amanda and I’s book, you know, The Waltz of the Century.”
Ellie gave a quiet sigh. Writing a book was actually pretty hard work; maybe if she had a twin to write with her like Anna did it would be easier…but she didn’t have a twin. Resolutely, she picked up her pencil again, remembering what her Uncle Morgan was always saying: “Perseverance is the author’s best friend!”
The royal family liked to have balls with lots of violins and pianos playing the music--
“Ya writin’ a story, Ells?”
She looked up to see Michell peering down at her though his thick glasses.
“Yes—I mean no! I’m writing a book, like yours!”
“Like mine? Well, then you better add some tragedy—ya know, sad stuff,” he added hastily, seeing her blank look, “and, be sure to just give the facts; I find that’s always the best way.”
Give the facts? What did that mean? She wondered after Michell had left. She pulled his book off the shelf and looked at it. But Drowning in Tears didn’t seem like it would shed any light on the subject. Perhaps making lists was a way to ‘give the facts’ she decided, and went to work.
But the princess was very sad because of 2 reasons:
1. Her mother the Queen died very suddenly.
2. Her father the King fell of a horse and died…a noble death.
And the princess was also sad because now she had no one to dance with at the balls because her father couldn’t (because he was dead). She cried sometimes, but thankfully she did not drown in her tears.
“Oh, Ellsie, if you’re writing a book, you must have romance—do you have romance in it yet?”
Ellie looked up at Emma and shook her head, “Are you sure I need romance?” she wondered skeptically.
“Oh, yes,” Emma replied, emphatically nodding her head as she skipped out to help Mummy with supper. Ellie watched her bobbing curls disappear, then looked up at Emma’s book. The Prince who Saved a Lilac said the flowing script on the side.
One day a Prince came to the castle to ask the Princess to marry him.
Oh dear. What should happen next?
She hailed Markus, who was passing by the doorway, “Markus, I don’t know what else to put in my book.”
“Adventure!” came her brother’s enthusiastic reply, “But you’d better finish it quick; dinner’s almost ready!”
Adventure? What sort? The title of Markus’ book, Dragons and Doorknobs gave her an idea.
And the princess said, yes, she would marry him, but could he please kill the dragon first? He was very bad and she didn’t want him to interrupt their wedding. So the prince rode off gallantly on his..camel, and tried to kill the dragon but couldn’t until the Knight helped him, (and the Squire helped too), but unfortunately the Squire died as well as the dragon so after they had gone back to the princess they had a funeral for him, (the squire not the dragon), then the Prince and Princess got married and lived happily ever after.
“Time for dinner!” called Mummy.
Ellie jumped up, and grabbing her paper, slid into her seat at the table.
After Papa prayed, there wasn’t much conversation until Michell looked up from his bowl of chili and inquired,
“Did ya finish your story—I mean book, Ells?”
Ellie nodded proudly.
“May I read it?” asked Papa interestedly.
Ellie handed him the paper, feeling quite pleased that she had managed to follow everyone’s advice.
There was a long silence as Papa put on his reading glasses and solemnly read the story.
Finally, he spoke,
“Why didn’t you give any of them names?”