ONCE UPON A TIME, in a land far from the kingdom of the Twin Cities, a young princess (in name only) received a royal treasure from her fairy godmother.
The treasure chest of jewels arrived via a rural chariot, a horseless carriage dispatched to deliver correspondence of great importance to those dwelling in the land of Prairieville.
The gift—an elegant card upon which a treasure chest and jewels were imprinted—arrived on the 8th birthday of the Little Princess, or some such birthday of her youth. The aging princess can no longer precisely remember the year.
The Little Princess, whose name was given to her by her fairy godmother’s sister, found within the treasure chest an emerald ring. She was overcome with happiness as she slipped the ring onto her finger. Such beauty she had never known.
She vowed then and there never to remove the ring.
Each morning, the princess would awaken and cast her eyes upon the emerald that graced her finger. The gem sparkled upon her hand and, for the first time, the Little Princess truly felt like a real princess.
Then one afternoon, after the princess had been romping about the farmyard of her peasant family (perhaps in a raucous game of tag with her siblings; she can no longer recall details), she discovered the ring was missing. The king issued a royal decree ordering his rural subjects to hunt for the lost treasure.
The Little Princess joined the futile search. Despite their best efforts, the good people of Prairieville—who scoured the woods and grasses and even the gravel pathways of the land—never found the lost emerald.
Great crocodile tears slipped down the Little Princess’s cheeks and she was overcome with inconsolable sadness.
The above tale, which clearly is not a fairy tales because it does not end with “happily ever after,” is a slightly embellished story from my childhood. I’m not a real princess, you know. Nor was I ever gifted with a genuine emerald.
Recently I was reminded of my cheap, adjustable, but treasured, childhood birthday ring by two incidents.
I was shopping in the jewelry department of a Big Box retailer when I spotted a ginormous emerald, in reality a fake stone on a piece of costume jewelry. I was giddy, I tell you, just giddy. I slipped the jewel onto my finger and remembered that lost ring from long ago before placing the band back on its display hook.
Later that day, while attending Family Game Night at my church, 6-year-old Nevaeh raced up to her mother in tears. She had, she lamented, lost her ring while drying her hands in the bathroom. Billie Jo soothed her daughter and assured her the ring could be replaced.
Then I told this sweet princess about the ring I’d seen earlier that day and about the lost ring of my childhood.
At that point, I noticed Nevaeh’s adorable fingernails painted with holiday designs. I decided to distract this sweet princess and asked to photograph her hands.
And so Princess Nevaeh splayed her hands across the kitchen counter in the church fellowship hall, the tears gone, a smile stretching across her face.
WILL SANTA BRING Nevaeh a new ring for Christmas? Will Santa bring me an emerald (uh, imitation stone) for Christmas? How will these two stories really end? Happily ever after or with two princesses still missing their treasured rings?
© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling