The Carpenter’s Daughter
Written by Rebekah Postupak
The Queen’s son watched as the carpenter’s daughter was snatched away. Others had been taken before her; others would doubtless follow. But seeing the carpenter’s daughter in the violent hands of the Takers stung him in a way none had before. In fact, it very nearly spoiled his breakfast (a delicately poached egg—cooked in goat’s milk, not water–on toast, with cold ham and a side of mini gherkins).
At ten o’clock he was seated on a magnificent Andalusian horse (chestnut, with pink ribbons braided in its mane, despite bearing the name Mighty General), performing third form Royal Walks, when the carpenter’s daughter’s face floated through his mind.
“Get out!” he shouted.
This shout startled the stablehands so severely that one knocked over a stool and another fell face-first into a steaming hot pile of manure. But all then fled the courtyard in such obedient haste, the Queen’s son was forced to sit astride for a good forty-five minutes in profound irritation, since he could not dismount without aid.
Following a rather sullen lunch of roasted chicken and asparagus with lemon (which the Queen’s son had to send back three times until the trembling cook was able to get the texture right—asparagus, after all, should not collapse like a noodle on one’s plate), he was forced rudely out of a light nap by the sad brown eyes of the carpenter’s daughter and a whiff of juniper wafting across his dreams.
“This won’t do,” said the Queen’s son, and he summoned the Master Dreamweaver.
“I did not send you this dream,” protested the dreamweaver after the tirade ended. “And I would never dare send you a waking dream, at least not on my current salary, without sufficient incentive from interested parties.”
“Who then?” thundered the Queen’s son. No one could answer.
The sun eventually slunk beneath the eastern mountains, though not before the tear-stained face of the carpenter’s daughter had chased the Queen’s son through the Royal Hall of Ancestral Portraits (one of which was hidden politely behind a curtain until a recent but unfortunate question of parentage could be resolved), the Hall of Meetings, and even into the Royal Watercloset.
It was a pale and terrified household assembled before the Queen’s son that night. The look on his face was so grave, it reminded the older servants of former queens’ sons who had actually Done Things. All waited, hearts pounding.
“I am going on a Quest,” he said, “to fetch back the carpenter’s daughter from the Takers. I–”
A knight interrupted (he was not beheaded for this offense). “Quite noble, my lord, but must I remind you you are blind?”
The Queen’s son turned his sightless eyes toward the door. “I see her face,” he whispered, “and I will follow her.”
And that is how the blind prince’s Quest began: in the middle of the night, without proper ceremony or even boxed lunches.
But (though we must leave him there) that is not how it ended.
500 words exactly, inspired by this week’s Finish That Thought flash challenge and incorporating a variation of the mandatory starting sentence and optional three Challenge words (water, curtain, hot) within the 500 word count requirement.