Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The tale of two princesses and the disappearing jewels December 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:30 AM
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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.


Nevaeh's cute, cute holiday painted fingernails.

Nevaeh’s ringless fingers. But look at those adorable nails.


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


30 Responses to “The tale of two princesses and the disappearing jewels”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Great story and great diversionary tactics on your part!!! Love the nails and the story of Princess Nevaeh!!!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks. After raising three children, I do have a few diversionary tactics on which to draw. BTW, did you notice that Nevaeh’s name is “heaven” spelled backwards? She’s the sweetest girl with an equally sweet brother and equally sweet and wonderful parents.

      • Beth Ann Says:

        I did NOT notice that—I was trying to figure out the origin of it —what a great name!!!! Love it!

      • Clyde of Mankato Says:

        I hope the brother isn’t named Lleh.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        No, most definitely NOT. I thought, “How does Clyde think of this stuff?”

        So I googled and found this New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/18/us/18heaven.html?_r=0

      • Clyde of Mankato Says:

        I was just being a smart mouth. Had no idea. Your story has a sweet plaintive nostalgia to it. Not plaintive, not sweet. Cannot name it but like it.
        I once taught a pair of sisters named Dawn and Twylla. The mother was always ticked that no one got it.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Thank you, Clyde. I appreciate the compliment from a fellow writer of your talent.

        I also appreciate your wit and humor, traits you share with commenter Allan Landman. I know I’m always going to find something especially interesting in the comments either of you make.

  2. Oh I hope the princesses get their rings! I’m a sucker for a happy ending.

  3. Clyde of Mankato Says:

    Read about Watermelon Pickles but think ring:


    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Clyde, I love this. Readers, you have to follow this link and check out this poem.

      • Clyde of Mankato Says:

        WordPress is being difficult today, as it does now and then. Cannot see your post on your blog. But it comes from a wonderful book called Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle and other Modern Verse. Out of print. “Far above and away from the softening effects of civilization” is on of my favorite lines of poetry.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        I am sorry about WordPress throwing a tempter tantrum this a.m. Send it to a corner for time-out.

        That book, Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle, oh, my gosh, I have it, somewhere, packed away. I bought it from one of those school book orders when I was in junior high, probably. Thanks for reminding me of that book. If only I knew where it was stashed, I would pull it out this minute.

      • Clyde of Mankato Says:

        “A silver-scaled dragon with jaws flaming red/sits at my elbow and toast my bread . . . ” “Agatha Morley all of her life/ grumbled at dust like a good wife . . .”

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        You are a treasure trove of poetry knowledge. Thank you. Again.

  4. Jackie Says:

    Have you ever thought of writing children books? Loved the story, hoping a happy ending is in the near future, and those little hands are just so adorable!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Ah, Jackie, thank you. The thought of writing a children’s book has crossed my mind occasionally through the years. So what is stopping me from trying? I don’t know other than knowing that writing children’s books is difficult.

      What I’d really like is to compile a collection of my poetry into a book given my success thus far in getting my poetry published.

  5. Isn’t it funny how our childhood memories come back to haunt us? I am fascinated by this idea…and by the loss of innocence we all face at some point – when what we dream turns out to be so far from reality…

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, I find this all fascinating, too. Who would think a simple ring would have meant so much to me? But, to put it in perspective, I did not receive birthday gifts growing up, except from my godmother, my Aunt Rachel. My parents did not have the money for gifts; our gift was always an animal-shaped birthday cake. And believe me, I treasure those cake memories. So, to me, that beautiful ring truly was a treasure.

  6. Beautiful story and hopefully the princesses will have their wishes granted:) Have a Great One!

  7. 🙂 Nice story, and I want her manicure!

  8. treadlemusic Says:

    The really great thing about this post is that the comments are as wonderful as the original post…..thank you so much!!!!

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