*Inspired by the Swan Lake story
Two separate kingdoms that had been fighting with each other after years of famine finally were beginning to make amends to one another with the planning of a future wedding between Princess Arianna and Prince James II. An evil magician holds a different sort of idea in store for the fated couple, however, the magician’s wicked plan had been set in stone for years with his evil eyes on the beautiful Princess. The poor unsuspecting Prince had no idea what was in store for him with the power of the magician’s curse.
The magician was a member of King Quentin’s court. He had enjoyed watching the young princess grow up throughout the years. He admired her beauty and yearned for her as she grew older, just solely because of how kind she was. Pain has a special way of changing people. You either allow yourself to turn kind, or you end up growing bitter with it. King Quentin definitely used the magician throughout the years, as his own personal court jester. It was his way of coping after the death of the Queen. The magician had a harder life than he knew what to do with. So very patiently, he observed the King and Princess, for years. As wicked as it may sound, he had cursed the entire land with a famine-like no other around the Princess's twelfth birthday. He had grown jealous of her relationship with her father. Some might even say he wanted to overrule the kingdom himself. The magician was terribly tired of being King Quentin’s fool. He wanted Princess Ariana’s heart all to himself, solely due to how kind and loving she was.
This love story of theirs was destined to reunite the two dueling kingdoms from afar. Prince James the Second was considered to be one of the most eligible bachelors within the lands. His dark hair perfectly framed his chiseled face. He had wide green eyes that looked forward to the future, even if he was a little childish at times. His future bride-to-be was utterly no exception to looks. Her fair honey-coloured hair and wild blue eyes drove most men wild with madness. That is exactly how the evil magician fell in love with her in the first place. The two elderly Kings had held this pact with one another throughout the famine years. Hoping that this marriage would glue the fabric of their dueling realms back together after years upon years of their own people starving. As long as Princess Ariana and Prince James’ engagement held through, there would be fair trade throughout the lands.
Before Princess Ariana’s mother had died, the two children had met at a royal ball held at King James and Queen Esther’s royal palace. The first time the two small children had met, magic instantly happened. They had instantly had become fast friends and the palace fell in love with the idea of the two children being together in their later years. A tale as old as time, the arranged marriage. The two kingdoms had gotten along very well back then. It might have had something to do with Queen Esther’s generosity but nobody really knows the full truth of why the two Kings began to feud. It became quite the spectacle as both King James and King Quentin were very prideful.
When supplies had begun to become scarce, the fighting between the communities began. Now nobody fully knows why the two Kings had stopped speaking to one another over the years, even with the idea of an arranged marriage between the two royal children. But people were very unruly within King Quentin’s court. They were starving, cold, and hopelessly lost within the King’s own grief over the death of his wife. For years the villagers watched the man struggle to hold himself together. The magician knew that fact very well. He thrived off the chaos that followed during the famine. The starvation had begun to take a toll on the villagers. The King knew that his daughter’s arranged marriage would benefit them all, even if she was a little unhappy about it at the time. They needed fair trade. She had tried to believe in something called true love over the years, but she had decided that being forced to marry had made her very unhappy.
King James and Queen Esther were unfortunately much better off than King Quentin. Their livestock had been doing much better, their villagers were much more content, even if his own kingdom was a little weathered and worn like King Quentin’s. The evil magician was well aware of what the Kings were intending to do and he was not happy. Over the years he had let his anger towards the arranged marriage grow. The poor magician was hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Princess. And when I say hopelessly in love, I mean desperately, foolishly in love. To the point of plain stupidity.
Just a few days before a royal gathering, where the two were to be wed, Prince James was out riding his personal horse within the day. The beautiful creature was pure white. He was supposed to be meeting with King Quentin and Princess Ariana to arrange a few marriage details before the royal wedding took place. It was their first meeting since they were children. Unfortunately for the Prince, he had stumbled across the wicked magician from King Quentin’s court. The magician had immediately developed a quick and devious plan to deceive the poor princess from falling even further in love with this “fool”. He knew what he was doing was wrong. With a sudden flick of his wrist, he turned that handsome prince into a beautiful red macaw. With utter horror flashing across the Prince’s handsome face, he had begun to transform and shrink down until he was no longer recognizable, just only by the sound of his voice.
As his beautiful white horse galloped away in fear, the Macaw prince squawked in protest. “How dare you do this to me? I demand answers.”
“Why sir, it was only due to your bride. Truly, my honest apologies. But I cannot have that woman fall in love with anyone other than me.” The magician cackled in such a peculiar manner. He found the Macaw prince to be funny-looking now. The magician hated how devilishly handsome the prince was in his human form.
The Macaw prince’s handsome red feathers were ruffled. “But that is my bride. That wedding has absolutely nothing to do with you. She has no business being with you.”
“I’m afraid that Princess Ariana belongs to me.” The magician grinned a manic toothy grin.
Prince James huffed from the ground. He was beyond frustrated with this man and this curse that had befallen him. “What on Earth earns your claim to Princess Ariana?”
The magician chuckled and flashed a toothy grin. “I have studied her from afar for many years now. I feel as if such a woman is just truly too beautiful to belong to such a coward like yourself.” With a puff of smoke, the magician disappeared, leaving the beautiful macaw Prince to himself. He squawked with frustration. He knew how important this marriage was for trading between the two kingdoms. He could not even believe it, but he was no longer recognizable. He looked at his own reflection in a creek and was just horrified. His own father and mother would never even begin to know that he was disguised as this beautiful bird. What could Prince James II do? He felt very small and insignificant now compared to the wicked magician. Even though his feathers were very beautiful, he felt out of place within his new cursed body. It just was not fair. It really was not fair. He flew up towards the branches of the jungle trees, deep in thought. How on Earth was he going to get himself out of this mess?
King James and Queen Esther were worried back in their own home. They knew this wedding was much more important to their two kingdoms than either the Prince or Princess knew. As children, their fate had been decided for them. They had judged King Quentin for his strange behaviour after the Queen had passed away many years ago. Grief changes people. I think that's why the King had put up with the magician’s shenanigans for as many years as he had. When Prince Jame’s horse had returned without him, the worry had begun to set in for their entire palace.
The Macaw Prince was just humiliated, he had no idea how to explain what had happened to him. There was no way to right this wrong in Prince Jame’s eyes. He just felt as if he was a fool. He felt strange in his new body, but as strange as it sounded, it felt freeing to be able to fly around in peace. He just had no idea what to say to his own family about the strange curse. He knew he needed some sort of advice to figure this out.
Maybe the advice of one of the town witches would be able to help him figure this out. He flew circles around his mother and father’s palace, deep in thought. He knew he needed to let them know he was still alive with the return of his horse, but he was painfully aware of how his new appearance would fare over with his parents. He wished he could still his mind but he knew that he had no choice but to show his face. Or beak I suppose. He needed help to unwrite the magician’s curse that had befallen him. He just was too ashamed. Instead of facing his parents, he decided to tempt himself with a visit to King Quentin’s palace instead.
Princess Ariana stood gracefully within her palace courtyard. Her blonde hair was placed perfectly. She was preparing to meet Prince James for the first time since those fateful ballroom days back when her mother was still alive. The purple dahlias were wilting away with the latest drought. It made her feel truly awful, knowing that there was nothing that she could truly do other than marry this man. Her father never seemed to understand her viewpoints on this so-called marriage. With the death of her mother at age six, she had seemed to feel alone for most of her life. Her father distracted himself with business affairs. She did not like the idea of an arranged marriage but she felt as if she had no choice, in order to please her father she was planning on marrying that man. Being in her courtyard, she felt safe. Safe from most of the pryful eyes of the community.
Like nothing at all, a beautiful rare macaw appeared out of nowhere. She stared at the red parrot in wonder. What a beautiful creature to exist in such treacherous conditions? The poor Prince Macaw was utterly heartbroken staring at that golden-haired beauty in wonder. He studied her carefully. Her silver-blue eyes were all too much for him to handle. He wondered as if she still remembered him from when they were children. He knew he could speak to her if he wished, but he was too afraid to reveal who he was. Of course, the magician was right when he called him a coward. How could the prince hold so much love for a complete stranger?
Princess Ariana carefully studied the beautiful macaw perched on the jungle branches. It was such a rare sighting to see a bird like this, especially within the limits of the kingdom. The famine had killed off a lot of the natural wildlife in the areas, and the red macaws were a beautiful dying breed.
Prince James sat perched upon the branch above her courtyard. Very carefully, he studied his old childhood friend. Their engagement was truly no surprise to any of the villagers in either kingdom. But the wicked magician’s curse had befallen them at such a crucial point within their courtship. He couldn’t even return to his own home because of how deeply ashamed he had felt over what the magician had done to him. And the worst part is that nobody else had realized what was done to him.
Princess Ariana had called out to him very softly. “What a beautiful bird you are.”
The Macaw version of Prince James froze. He was puzzled. He had no idea how to respond to her. He knew that Princess Ariana would most likely not recognize him after all these years. But he was just embarrassed to have befallen such a stupid curse in the first place. Especially right before their arranged marriage. He knew that he could speak to her, but his beak just wouldn’t move. His own family was bound to be missing him by now, especially with his horse running off in the opposite direction. He felt just as lost as the beautiful Princess was in the madness of the famine years. Plucking out one of his red feathers, he abandoned it and took flight. He was too ashamed to admit it to himself, but he could not even speak to her. Not until he figured out a way around this wicked curse. Flying away in tears, he decided to attempt to speak to his own mother and father in his macaw body.
Princess Ariana had watched the beautiful macaw take flight. Taking notice of the red feather the beautiful bird had abandoned, she grabbed it and studied it carefully. It was curious watching the bird pluck his own feathers out. It was rare to see such a creature at all let alone be gifted one of their beautiful feathers.
As sad as it may sound, the Prince just had no courage anymore. He felt useless as a macaw. It’s easier to wallow in how you feel sometimes than to overcome it. But the royal wedding ball was to be held soon. He had no idea how he was going to get himself out of this curse that the magician had struck him with. And the poor Princess had no idea what had befallen him.
The magician was stalking the poor princess. As she returned inside the palace with her newfound treasure in hand, he halted in surprise. He did not think the Prince would even be brave enough to speak to her in that state. Utterly horrified, he asked her the question. “How is your day Princess Ariana?"
The Princess did not enjoy the magician's company. She really did not understand why her father had kept him as close as he did over the years. She smiled curtly and showed him her newfound treasure. “I was just outside in the fresh air. A beautiful macaw appeared in the courtyard and left a feather.”
The magician was beyond mad. He thought by turning the Prince into a macaw that he would disappear without a trace before the grand wedding ball. As tricky as it may sound, all that Prince James needed to do to break the hideous curse was to speak to Princess Ariana in his macaw form. Neither one of them had any idea of how carefully close he was to even be able to break the stupid thing just by appearing in the courtyard in the first place. He just needed that courage to speak to her. The Prince just felt lost as a parrot.
Prince James flew around his family's palace for what felt like hours. He had no idea what to even do, stuck as a bird. He felt hopeless. I think his words were lost. He knew he had been far too cocky with the arranged marriage. He knew he couldn't speak to them, as badly as he had wanted to. Weird as it may sound, he knew one of the village witches would be able to give him some advice, even if he knew it would humiliate his family, he knew he needed to speak to her.
Deep within the woods, there was a weathered old cottage. The witch that lived there was known to be a hideous-looking creature, but Prince James was feeling brave. He wound up grabbing a hold of his courage and perched on a low-hanging branch right outside the witch's house.
"Hello?" Prince James called out in desperation. He was too ashamed to look at his parents any differently.
The ugly witch was deep in her own magic at the time. She heard the Prince Macaw call out to her. She knew the magician far better than anyone could give her credit for. She cackled a little and strode out of her molding cottage. "What can I do for you, my dearie?" She had a wicked grin on her face.
The Prince Macaw froze. She knew who he was. He knew it. He hesitating before replying. "Witch, I'm lost. I froze running into the magician from King Quentin's court, and he turned me into this hideous creature."
She smiled softly. "My dear, you are no hideous creature. You are a beautiful rare breed."
Prince Jame's feathers were ruffled. He knew he needed her help, however. "Witch, I know that you know how important this marriage is to my family. How can I defeat this wicked magician?"
She hesitated for a while. She found it quite funny that the King's son was in such a state. However, her hatred for the magician was very apparent to most people who knew her personally. She put a lot of thought into her response to the poor little Macaw Prince. "My dear, for this advice, I must warn you, it will be costly."
The poor Prince tearfully cried, "Anything, I'll do anything to be rid of this horrendous body."
She cackled. "I will require your's and the princess's firstborn child in order to rewrite this spell the magician has cast upon you."
Prince James froze. He knew he was making a mistake but he cried out to her for help. "Anything. I'll do anything."
The old witch smiled before replying with gravel in her voice. "Very well my child. In order for you to break this curse, you just need to speak to the Princess in the very body you reside in. Have her fall in love with you truly and fully. Be yourself. That's how you unwrite the curse that has befallen you." The Prince was puzzled. That was a large promise to hold for the witch, with such an easy fix to a complicated situation. She blew him a kiss. "I mean it, dearie. Just speak to her. All I require for payment is your firstborn child, don't you worry, I'll collect payment when the time comes."
The Prince bobbed his head. He understood. The town witches were outcasted by his own family. He knew her hatred for the royal families had run deep throughout the years. He knew it was a mistake, but he felt hopelessly trapped. And the wedding ball was rapidly approaching. He honestly had no other choice at this point.
Princess Ariana had begun to grow very wary. It was growing late and Prince James the Second had been supposed to meet with her in preparation for their big day. It had been hours now. A word from his home was that he was supposedly on his way to her father's palace. She had no idea what was taking him so long and she had been locked up in her palace room for far too long.
Prince James was just tired. He had spent most of the day flying around in circles. He had no idea how this conversation with the Princess was going to fare. But he knew it was important.
Knocking his beak against her window was the strangest thing he ever felt compelled to do. He wondered if the princess would recognize him from their childhood. I think the Prince felt as if he had no choice to speak to her, as sad as it might sound.
The Macaw prince knocked at her window, knowing it very well could be the biggest mistake of his life. But she turned to that window with kindness, not knowing anything about the stupid curse that had affected him, she remembered the red feather. As puzzling as it may sound, the curse had deeply affected both of them.
With some surprise in herself, Princess Ariana flew her windows wide open to greet the strange Macaw that she had met earlier. She found the strange bird's behavior peculiar.
With the windows open, the Prince Macaw had no idea how to proceed, for she was just too beautiful for words to even describe. There she was, his future bride. He knew she was worked up over the arranged marriage. He could tell he had disappointed her by not appearing in his human form.
"Hello?" Princess Ariana called to the bird.
Prince James was still frozen. He paused for a moment before replying with a basic, "Hello."
She was shocked. The parrot had copied her. It was nighttime. There was no way this bird should have appeared at her window at all let alone so late in the day. "What a curious bird you are."
The Macaw Prince was just heartbroken. He knew he couldn't speak on the curse that the magician had cast, because of his own feelings towards giving up his first-born child. He couldn't blame anyone other than himself for the mess he had created, whilst being a bird. Maybe, as strange as it sounds, there were no truly happy endings.
Pausing for a long while, he cleared his throat. The shocked Princess was astonished that the bird had made such a noise. The Macaw Prince began to speak to her from his own heart. "I'm sorry it took me so long to get here. I'm Prince James, the Second, and I have travelled a really long way to get here. I truly have no words to speak on what has happened to me in the past, but all I can say, is that I am sorry that I brought myself here in the first place."
The Princess felt lost. This strange bird that had appeared in her courtyard hours prior, was Prince James? She was puzzled. She had believed in magic, fate, destiny, whatever you wanted to call it. But she took one look at the beautiful creature that was before her, and she was surprised, but she did believe him. She stood still while the parrot sat on her window ledge. The Princess just didn't know what to say, so she thought.
Reaching for the feather he had given her earlier, she thought it was the right thing to do. She placed it next to the poor Prince, and swallowed a whole lot of pride, kissing the top of his feathered head.
He knew he couldn't speak on the two curses that had befallen him, but like nothing at all, he transformed before her very eyes. Golden light shimmered around him, and the Macaw Prince returned back to his human form. He was just as suprised, if not more than surpised than she was. Princess Ariana just stood there in shock. She had no idea how this had befallen him, but she knew deep in her heart she was okay with marrying him now. She accepted him for who he was, right before his very eyes.
Without a word, he scooped her up in his arms, and silentlty thanked the horrendous witch for the valuable advice she had given him. But with the knowlege of the promise he had made the witch, still in the back of his mind, he tried to remain hopeful. With the woman with the heart of gold, finally in his arms, he felt at peace. Just for now at least.
Chloe Rose Violet