ok you know that ‘make the princess laugh and you can have her hand in marriage’ thing?
imagine so many come in.
they try, so hard, to make her laugh.
she just sits there, morose, ignoring every man who tries to coax a smile.
one day she’s sitting on the balcony. she just looks so sad.
of course that little thief tries to make her smile.
a girl who goes through the (semi public) royal gardens every day to pick flowers, even though technically only the royal family is allowed to do that.
she sees the princess while she’s picking them up to sell on the streets, and she’s just… so sad. this princess needs someone to cheer her up.
and she tries. she’ll do silly dances when she comes in, she’ll bring up frogs from ponds and act out comedies, she’ll make flower crowns and exaggerate just how hard it is.
the first few days, the princess doesn’t even look at her.
then she starts noticing. this girl, trying so hard to cheer her up. she probably hasn’t even heard of the hand in marriage thing, she doesn’t know she’s trying so hard for nothing.
but she does it anyway.
one day, the princess starts talking to her as she does these things. “You do know that it’s useless?”
“What?” the thief says. “No way! I’m going to get you to laugh!”
“The best jesters in the kingdom have tried, don’t bother,” the princess declared pessimistically, staring down at the girl.
Then the thief puffs out her chest, “Of course I am! I’ll find the best jokes, even better than the jesters have found! I’ll… fight a fire breathing dog for them!”
There’s no laugh, but the corner of the princess’s mouth twitches. it’s sad how she thinks she can make me laugh…
the girl keeps trying, for years, making more silly stories and trading flowers for jokes rather than food or money. the princess slowly realizes the girl is getting closer and closer, asking her for responses in knock knock jokes and encouraging her to speak when she wouldn’t respond immediately.
the princess eventually had the girl hanging from her balcony, holding on tight to the rail and feet wedged between the columns, grinning and telling yet another iteration of that already old chicken joke.
the princess has been smiling, slightly, but she mostly just looks unresponsive. the girl is happy, it’s better than looking so sad, like she had been years before.
the girl moves on to puns, pointing at the exotic lunch the princess was eating. “Why do the melons have to go to get married? They cantaloupe!”
“You only know that word because of me,” the princess snarks, but there’s a small smile there, a bit of happiness. This little flower girl, this thief has grown into an amazing friend, a wonderful person who genuinely just wants to help. she doesn’t know of the deal, only nobles and jesters could know, not the commonfolk.
“Well, it makes quite the pun,” the girl says, proud of her joke. a smile! what an accomplishment!
“Say…” she continued, “What would you call a princess who got swept up in conversation a thief?” she pulled a flower out of her pocket, waving it in front of the princess’s face. the princess’s eyes crossed to see the flower before they rolled at the obvious setup.
though, it was interesting that it obviously involved them.
“I don’t know,” she admitted, sighing in preparation for another horrible pun. “What?”
the girl grinned. “A pretty theft!” she exclaimed, ticking the flower against the princess’s nose.
the princess froze for a moment, stunned. she had been complimented a million times over, called graceful by etiquette instructors, been called beautiful by many a suitor, been called wonderful by her mother before… she stopped thinking about that.
she had never been called pretty.
she burst into laughter at the commonplace compliment, as if she was some sort of milkmaid who had somehow grown up to be good looking! it was ridiculous, the notion, yet somehow it had her blushing all the same.
then she suddenly stopped, realizing what she’d done.
the flower thief was staring at her in amazement, a blush of her own speckling her cheeks. her flower tilted out from in front of the princess’s nose, as if it had it’s own amazement.
“Wow…” the girl breathed. she’d never heard something so beautiful in her life.
The princess was silent, knowing what she had just done. She had just laughed for the first time in years.
The girl may not have been aware of the arrangement, but she was quickly swept up in it. A maid had heard the laughter and burst in, to find the thief and the princess, caught up in each other’s eyes, reveling in what had just happened.
The wedding was beautiful, a flower filled affair, a wonderful nod to how it happened. The king was so happy to see his daughter with someone who made her smile for once, tearing up as they were wed.
The princess’s laugh was still incredibly rare. She still had a hard time smiling. But a well timed joke from the girl– no, her wife– and another flower that had a hidden meaning behind it, than maybe, maybe you would hear it.
After all, the princess had finally laughed with the one she loved.