The Little Prince
By Dana Quell

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a faraway kingdom, so far away one from around these parts would never have heard of it, stood a castle. In this castle lived all sorts of people; there were servants, cooks, housekeepers, butlers, merchants, travelling bards, and animals. But the two most important people living in this castle were King and Queen. They were cold, callous rulers, as most good ones are (except they were not very good rulers at all), and so do not deserve to be named in this story.

They did have a son, though, an heir to the throne. Every chance they had, they forced the responsibility and importance of being heir to the throne down his throat. It was for this reason, and the fact that they were cold and did not love him, that he hated them.

What was a pair of cold, unloving parents supposed to do? They hired a woman, old, to teach him the morals they did not have but thought he might possibly need.

The woman was exactly the opposite of his parents. She was considerate, loving, and compassionate. The boy, whose name was Charlie, loved this woman more than he loved himself. Her name was Celeste, and sometimes she would tell the boy, whom she called Char, stories. These stories were usually well known faery tales, but sometimes she told him of how she came to be created.

He was delighted to hear how her gods had created her- to imagine a star falling from the heavens up above and landing on the ground to create a whole human being was fantastic.

He filled her days with joy, and she filled her purpose, which was to fill his head with morals and ethics and other things he would need to rule the kingdom successfully.

After a time, he did not truly need her anymore. But he still kept her in his company, for both her wise advice and for the fact that he loved her more than his parents.

When his father died in a tragic hunting accident (if one could call being run through with a spear because he was mistaken for a bear tragic), he did not care. It only meant one less person between him and the throne, which he did not want. He would accept responsibility for it, but never would he enjoy ruling. It was something he felt he had been borne only to do.

His mother died a year later. The rumours in the town below the castle said that she had died of a broken heart, but her son knew better. She had overeaten on one of the many feasts, and, because she had done this many times before, her heart simply gave out after she fell asleep.

Her death was no more grief-filled than his fatherís. He stepped up to the responsibility of running the kingdom, but, just as he had thought, he did not enjoy it. Power was grief.

The only light in his life was Celeste, who, by this time, was even more wrinkled and grey than the day he had first met her, nineteen years before. She was growing more and more weak with each passing day, and he feared for her health. He brought top physicians from all over the kingdom, but, at her insistence, he could not persuade them to tell him what was wrong with his old mentor. For all the power he held over every personís life in the kingdom, he was powerless.

Char was awakened late one night by one of the servants, who told him that she was slipping away quietly. He immediately fled to her chambers, but he was too late. She had gone.

The next day, a servant who had been cleaning out her chamber found a letter addressed to the once-upon-a-time prince. Upon receiving it, Char opened it at once.

My little prince,

My heart is heavy with sorrow writing this now, knowing that if you are reading it, then I am dead and you are in mourning. Black does not suit a child like you. You should be cloaked in golds and silvers and joyous colours of life.

The purpose of this letter is to let you have something tangible of me after I pass on. I know I am close to my time now; I have felt it for quite some time. The gods do take back this life they gave me.

Take care of your kingdom. I know that you can rebuild that which your parents destroyed if you only try. You might even learn to enjoy it.

Remember that even stars die, my dear. Do not mourn for me.

With much love,

Two tears slipped past the barriers he had learned to install from any strong emotions over the years and slid down his cheeks. One, then the other. Just two. Yet in each of those tears was more than all the tears he had shed his entire life. He didnít know if he could go on now. Perhaps he would take as much money from the treasury as he needed to survive for the rest of his life on just the essentials, and slip away into a nice forest, or a cave, or perhaps even a desert. But then he realized that no matter what, he must take charge of the kingdom. For Celeste if not himself.

Maybe he could make something out of it, like Celeste had suggested. Maybe he would bring this kingdom out of the financial and civil troubles that his parents had run it into. Just maybeÖ

He put the letter down and glanced out the window. There were so many stars out there, representing both themselves and the many endless possibilities. He remembered what Celeste had written. Even stars dieÖ

People live and die. Stars glow bright and hot, then cool to nothingness. Kingdoms rise and fall. But no matter what, there was only one constant in the universe. Change. It was something the little prince knew had to come about, even if he didnít want it to. And now, with so many personal changes within his life, the little prince would bring great changes to his kingdom.