The Melancholy Princess (A Fairy Tale for All Ages)

The Melancholy Princess
by Jodee Rose

 Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who just wanted to be loved. She had read many fairy tales and had all sorts of silly ideas on how to find the perfect prince. She would wake early in the morning and scour the royal bogs for comely young frogs.

 She kissed them all, it seemed, but none ever became a prince. She took dancing lessons and went to all the balls. She always left a shoe behind but no prince ever came looking for the owner.

She even took to sleeping in silly places like forests and tall towers in hopes that a dashing young prince would happen by and kiss her awake, but none ever came.

She was devastated and lonely. ‘If only I had a fairy godmother,' she thought. But fairy godmothers were just the stuff of stories. She was on her own.
One morning she awoke, lonely as ever and decided to go for a walk. She moped slowly along beside the royal stream absent-mindedly picking pink and blue flowers.

She plucked their petals muttering sadly to herself, “He loves me not, he loves me not, he loves me not.” Suddenly, she broke into sobs and slumped to the ground feeling terribly sorry for herself.

She sat for a long time, crying and whining and being generally pathetic. From the trees behind her, she heard a low growl. She turned mildly, blinking slowly. A great silvery wolf was poised amongst the trees peering at her. 

“Oh,” she said blandly. “Come to eat me, have you? Well, go ahead. It’s not as if I have anything to live for anyway.”

The wolf sat down and considered her carefully. “Not really the reaction I usually get, you know?” He said. 
“Yes,” said the princess, “but I imagine that you usually eat princess who have much more going for them.”

The wolf, in an act of great effort, rolled his eyes at her. “Well, really, your attitude makes this so much less satisfying. Nevermind.” He got up and began to leave.

“Right, of course,” she said angrily. “A stupid wolf won’t even eat me!” She began to sob again.
“Now stop that!” He said coming closer to her. 
“Go away!” She shouted, turning towards him sourly.
“If I might ask, what about your life is so terrible that you would be fine with becoming my breakfast?” The wolf sat down beside her.
“Everything!” she said pitifully.
“Come now, you are a princess, right? Your father is the king. You are rich and famous and beautiful…”
She sniffled. “You think I’m beautiful?”
“Well, yes,” the wolf said honestly, as contrary to belief, wolves are really quite honest. She reached over and stroked his gray fur. He looked at her warily but allowed her touch. “So, really, what is so terribly awful that you are wallowing alone in a forest?” The wolf asked.
“I am lonely,” she said, “No one loves me.”
“Oh, that,” he said. She whimpered and nuzzled against his warm fur. “Don’t cry,” he said. “I’ll keep you company.”

They talked for a long time, about being a princess and being a wolf. They shared stories and laughed. It began to get late. Suddenly a noise came from the distant forest. The wolf jumped up, alert. The princess looked around. 

“They must have sent someone to look for me.” She said in a hush. “Can I meet you here again?” 
The wolf agreed and darted off into the woods.

The next day the princess woke in a much better mood. She dressed quickly and went to the kitchen to pack a basket of food for her walk. Since she had denied the wolf quite a breakfast in her, with her surly attitude the day before, she figured it was only fair. 

After her basket was full of delicious meats and cheeses and fresh cool water, she began her walk into the forest to meet with her new friend. She scanned all along the trees, looking for the wolf as she went. ‘I think this is where I was yesterday,’ she thought to herself, ‘perhaps wolves are not good with directions.’ She waited a long time but the wolf did not show up. Sadly, after a long while, she got up, leaving the basket, and walked back towards the castle.

The next morning she did not bother to get out of bed. Her father, the king, came in to check on her and she sent him away. Her stepmother, as all self-respecting princesses have stepmothers, came in next. She insisted that the princess get up and go for a walk to refresh herself. Begrudgingly, the princess got up, dressed and went dutifully for a walk. ‘Maybe,’ she thought to herself, “he didn’t really mean to stand me up.’ She walked on. ‘But what does a wolf have to do that he can’t meet up with a princess?’ She frowned.

From the woods, she heard a rustling. “Wolf?!” she said, expectantly. A young man stepped out of the trees. 

“Oh,” she said dejectedly. “Have you seen a wolf in the woods?” He shook his head and grinned at her. “What?” She said, annoyed, though he was a fairly handsome young man dressed in nice enough clothes.
“I’m Ivan,” he said.
“Okay...” she said warily.
“Why are you looking for a wolf?” He said, “Most young girls look to avoid nasty beasts in the forest.”
She eyed him. “Not all wolves are nasty beasts.”
“Sorry,” he said sheepishly. “I’m Ivan.” He reached to shake her hand.
“Yes, you said that.”
“But you are here looking for a wolf,” he laughed. “Would you like me to help you find him?”
“No,” she said quickly. “But thank you,” she said remembering her manners. It really was nice of him to offer but she didn’t know him and she had things to do.
“Well, see you, then,” he said, smiling at her.

“Okay,” she said dismissively with a shake of her head and headed back towards the castle. 

That night, nestled in her warm luxurious bed, she had dreams of wolves and hunters and delicate pink and blue flowers. She awoke determined that she would go into the woods once more to find her wolf.

“Hello again.”
“Ivan,” she said, surprised by the man standing amongst the trees. “Do you live in these woods or something?”
He grinned. “You could say that. Come looking for your wolf again?”
“Yes,” she said. “I am worried about him.”
“Shall we look together today?”
“Fine,” she said. ‘Company wouldn’t be bad,’ she thought to herself.

They wandered through the woods looking for the wolf, talking. Ivan told her stories of hunting and silly jokes about dwarves. She smiled.

Coming to a clearing in the trees, the princess stopped short and gasped.

On the dappled ground lain a silvery wolf pelt.
“Wolf!” She cried, dropping to her knees beside the bundle of fur. Stroking the soft, cold coat, she began to cry.
“Don’t cry,” the voice drifted down to her. She blinked up at Ivan.
“Wolf?” She whispered.
“I’ll keep you company,” he said.
The princess looked up, eyeing the man before her.
“I’ll keep you company,” he repeated again, pulling the princess towards him, softly nuzzling her hair.

“But where were you?” She said, kissing his cheek. “Why did you go?”

“I ran deep into the forest to find an enchantress to turn me into a man so I might keep you company as long as you like. 

"I know what it’s like to be sad, to be scared of nothing at all and everything at once,” he said, taking her into his arms. “You were the most melancholy princess I have ever seen, but your loneliness drew me in. I was lonely too. I promised I would keep you company and I meant it, but no respectable king would let his daughter marry a wolf and I could not bear to be kept as a pet. If you’ll have me, I’d gladly be your prince. I love you, princess.”
“I love you too, wolf.”
“Ivan,” he smiled.
“Prince Ivan,” she said. And she was never lonely again, except sometimes she was, but she always had company when she wanted it.


  1. This was lovely. I've been feeling rather lonely myself lately, so it was nice for me to read.

  2. Light and sweet and so nice. Thank you.

  3. Wonderful Story! And fantastic illustrations.


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