A Story for the Engaged Girl: the Princess and the Throne
Once upon a time, there lived a young princess named Beth. She was a daughter of the King, not by natural birth, but because she was chosen out of thousands to be brought into THE KING’s house. The King had completed all of the formal adoption procedures from the technical paperwork to paying the highest possible price to call the young girl his own. But he hadn’t stopped at that. He gave her His name. He lavished her with love. And each day, he gave her a new gift.
One day, the King walked excitedly up to Beth’s room where she was sprawled out across her canopy bed reading one of the many books from the King’s treasury. The heavy wooden door creaked as the King opened it wide. Beth looked up from her position on her belly and smiled as she saw her father looking back at her. The King took pause as he gazed at the beauty of his daughter, the long blonde locks of hair cascading down from her head reminded him of the sun glistening off a thousand waterfalls, and her hands, so delicate, were wrapped around the worn cover of one of the many battle stories from his library. He smiled at Beth and held out his hand. “Beth, I have something to show you.”
Beth knew that tone; she closed the book, quickly dropping it on the bed before letting her feet gently pad the floor. “Do I need shoes?” she asked with her head cocked to the side and fingers laced behind her back. The King grinned and shook his head, “Only if you want to.” He knew how Beth despised anything on her feet. She even avoided stockings unless absolutely necessary. Beth glanced in the mirror, raking her fingers through her hair as she reached out to take her Father’s hand.
“Where are we going?” Beth questioned excitedly as she skipped down the hall next to her father. She always loved the King’s surprises. He knew her so well. As they made their way down the long corridor, Beth let her imagination wander through memories of the many gifts her father had given her. One of the first days she was living in the castle, the King had taken Beth to the east wing and pulled back a velvety-scarlet hued curtain to reveal one of the most elaborate libraries she had ever seen. He gave it to her that day as he knew her love of reading. Another time, the King had lead Beth out on a hike over the north hill toward the mountain. They had crossed a rickety, old wooden bridge and taken the long way through the woods; but when they arrived, the journey had been worth it. For in front of Beth was a waterfall that seemed like it came straight from the heavens, falling over rocks as it splashed into the river below. The King had whispered in Beth’s ear that the roar of the water’s motion echoed the sound his heart made when he thought of her. That day, Beth had fallen in love with her father all over again.
Today, he was leading her outside again. Her curiosity was roused, and she realized her father hadn’t answered her earlier question. She posed it again, “Where are we going?” The King squeezed her hand gently and spoke with a smile. “I’ve got another surprise for you, Beth. I know you’re really going to like it.” She had no doubt. The King knew her so well. He led her around the castle grounds. Beth delighted in the soft grass between her toes then watched her step carefully as the King led her down a brick path. They arrived in front of an iron gate, royal green ivy climbed amongst the swirls of hammered metal. Beth looked up; the gate had to be ten feet high. She furrowed her brow trying to figure out why she had never noticed this place before. They were just on the backside of the castle, and she had explored the grounds many times. She jumped at the sound of metal on metal. The King had a key and was fitting it into the lock on the gate. The latch turned easily and the gate swung open freely. The King held out his hand, beckoning her to enter. Beth’s breath caught in her throat as she took in the beauty around her—pink and white roses gently climbing up trellises along the wall; beds of lilies elaborately arranged with their variegated colors shimmering in the light; hand laid stone pathway that lead to the center of the garden where a white bench sat in the shade of a Japanese cherry tree next to a trickling fountain. It was perfect. Beth’s eyes followed each carefully planned line and angle. She delighted in the dancing sunbeams that landed on each petal. She began to explore deeper into the garden, and just as she turned one corner, she caught a glimpse of something. Or was it someone? She cocked her head as she inched closer to the giant hydrangeas. Yes, it was someone. A handsome man stepped from behind one of the deep blue flowering plants. He was dressed in the finest of clothes with a sword at his side. His blue eyes were speckled with brown, and Beth thought she might just drown in them. She was so intrigued that she didn’t even notice when her father slipped out of the garden.
“Hello,” she ventured. “Hello.” His deep voice was smooth as milk chocolate and just as sweet on the ears. Beth smiled. “What’s your name?” “Timothy.” The handsome figure replied. “And you must be Beth.” He approached her side, taking her arm and leading her to the white bench in the shade. “How do you know me?” Beth questioned with a furrowed brow. “Your father has been telling me much about you, Beth. I’ve been watching you.” Beth sighed deep and satisfied. This was even better than the hall of butterflies!
They continued in conversation for quite some time and planned to meet in the garden the following afternoon. That afternoon turned into the next, then two, then three. Days turned to weeks and weeks to months. One afternoon, Beth went to meet Timothy in their usual location, and she found a note with a feather attached. Meet me where the waters touch the skies, my bird. Your Warrior. Beth slipped the note into her pocket, careful to spare the plumes of the blue feather, and ran as fast as it was lady-like to do so until she reached the base of the falls—the gift from her father. More feathers lined the rocks that seemed to lead around the back of the falls. Beth collected them one by one, hopping on her tippy toes from one rock to the next. Soon she was up against the face of the mountain; she eyed an opening behind the midst that she had not noticed before and carefully edged herself along the slippery stones until she found herself in a cave behind the falling blue water. The inside of the cave was illuminated by candlelight, and there in the center was Timothy, her beloved. He waved her over where they embraced. “Turn around,” He said. She turned her back to him and faced the curtain of crystal blue falling over the mouth of the cave. She closed her eyes. Timothy’s voice echoed in the hollow as he started, “Do you hear that sound?” Beth listened to the familiar rush of waters. “That’s the sound my heart makes when I am with you (something about those words sounded really familiar), and you would make me the happiest man alive if you would agree to become my wife.” Beth spun around to see Timothy on one knee with a ring held out to her. She held out her hand. “Yes, absolutely yes!” she replied, and Timothy slipped the ruby onto her ring finger.
Wedding plans began in earnest. The whole kingdom was preparing for the day. Beth imagined their life together, the endless romance, the constant friendship, the continuous pursuit, how Timothy would meet her needs and she his, how her heart could be safe in his hands, and how they would live happily ever after. One afternoon, the King tapped on Beth’s door. “Come in,” she called. Her father approached her bed where Beth was writing in her diary. “Beth, would you like to go for a walk? I have something I’d like to show you.” “No thanks.” Her reply was rapid. “Timothy and I have plans for the afternoon.” The King just nodded and backed out of the room. Beth didn’t even notice as she continued to record the adventures she and Timothy had shared.
A few days later the King was walking through the palace when he heard talking coming from the throne room. He decided to investigate. He tiptoed down the long corridor and pulled back one of the violet draperies hanging from the columns near the throne. His eyes widened at what he saw. Timothy was sitting on his throne, while Beth was sitting near his feet. He had to strain to hear the words. “Doesn’t it feel nice, Timothy? It’s going to be your rightful place, you know. You can make the rules. You can have the power. We can do whatever we want to.” Beth stood up and twirled then bowed low before her betrothed. “Your Majesty.” She stated as she pulled her blue skirt out in a curtsy. That’s when the King noticed the crown, His crown sitting on top of Timothy’s head. He closed his eyes, bit his lip and breathed deep. He let the curtain fall back into its natural place. I must address this with Beth before it is too late.
That evening, as the King shared dinner with Beth as they always did, he approached the subject. “Beth, darling.” Beth looked up from her soup bowl and finished swallowing. Placing her spoon down, she replied. “Yes, Father?” They had shared many special, deep conversations at this dinner table. It was one of many safe places her Father had created for her throughout the years. “I was walking through the palace today, and I overheard you speaking with Timothy in the throne room.” Beth’s face turned a deep shade of red. “Yes, Father, we were in there.” “Was Timothy on the throne?” He asked gently. Beth swallowed hard. He must have seen them. She didn’t know why she felt so guilty at that moment; it felt so right at the time. She dropped her head and stared deeply into the steaming vegetables and broth. “Yes, Father. It was my fault. I told him to sit there.” The King had made his way around the table and was now standing behind Beth. He placed his hand on her shoulder. “Beth, I love you. I love you more than life.” Beth turned and looked up into her Father’s face with tears filling her eyes. The King continued. “As much as you might like to imagine, Timothy will never take my place. He may sit on the throne, and you may even pretend he is KING, but he has no right to be there.” Beth knew the King was speaking truth, yet she was surprised to see hurt in his eyes. “But I, as your loving father, also will not ask him to step down. That has to come from you.” The King paused for a moment, found Beth’s eyes and gazed deeply. “I created Timothy to be one of my most precious gifts to you—to be a reflection of me, not to replace me. I longed for this gift to draw you closer to me, to see my glory and to know my passionate love for you without limits. But it’s your choice to delight in the gift, or to delight in the giver. I love you, Beth.” The King kissed his daughter on the head and exited the banquet hall.