The original opening for the fantasy:
Of course her parents didn’t actually christen her Princess Persnickety. Her name was actually Princess Amber. They called her that because even as a newborn infant she had beautiful amber hair. So Amber it was in the beginning.
But it wasn’t long (a few years doesn’t seem that long when you’re looking back) until someone (her maid if you care to know) referred to her (to the cook) as Princess Persnickety. The name stuck.
Her mother was quite annoyed when she first heard it, but not two weeks later, in a bit of a rage because her young daughter was refusing to wear anything other than one tattered green dress, she blurted out the name. As her mind came to realize what her lips had just uttered, she clasped her hands to her mouth.
The King, who happened to be in the room at the time, just laughed and said the name suited Amber much better than Amber. Besides, by that time her hair had assumed its real colour and “Dark Brown” would have been a more accurate name.
So Princess Persnickety she became and, truth to tell, the Princess rather liked it. She was actually quite proud of the name and the meaning behind it. She’d much rather be known as a persnickety person than a dull one, and Amber seemed very dull to her.
“That’s the last straw!” Princess Persnickety said.
“Is it?” said her companion, a young man who was seated on a single bale of hay that had been set against the one of the end walls of a cavernous barn. “It didn’t take very long. Are you sure it won’t fall apart the first time you wear it?”
“It’s a perfectly fine hat!” The Princess, currently dressed in a gossamer green gown with tattered edges and a droopy sash, set a large-brimmed straw hat on her head, put her hands on her hips, and glared at Stefan, her childhood playmate and the only person in the Kingdom of Spiffinia who seemed able to navigate the up and down nature of the Princess without getting exasperated, walking away in a snit, or having his feeling hurt.
Stefan cocked his head on one side. “Well, it’s a hat,” he said. “More or less.”
“It’s quite good enough! And anyway, how many princesses do you know who can make a hat?”
Stefan didn’t bother to mention that almost any servant could make a hat. “I don’t know any other princesses,” he said instead. “You’re the only one. Except the ones in stories, of course. Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. Snow White.”
“Fairytale princesses!” she scoffed. “Stories invented by man with a penchant for helpless females who needed some great brave male to come and rescue them. None of them are anything like real princesses!”
” Do you know any other princesses?” Stefan asked. “I don’t need to. I know myself. And I am quite real.” Her hat still on her head, she turned and strode out of the barn.
Stefan jumped up to follow her. But he hadn’t caught up when there was a sudden loud, blaring noise, and the two of them, along with every other person within the walls of the castle, came to a sudden stop and wondered what on earth was happening.
Written by N. J. Lindquist.