FRIENDS  5' Two princesses are friends, but they're not alike

Once upon a time a long time ago in a land far, far away lived
two kings who joined together to fight a common enemy. After
they defeated the enemy, the two kings became friends. So did
their wives and so did their daughters who were nearly the same

Noone knew why the two princesses were such good friends because
they seemed so different. One princess, Mary, loved to read and
write poetry. She loved to learn proper manners, such as how to
properly entertain guests and how to properly pour tea and plan

The other princess, Margaret, liked none of those things.
Instead, she was very athletic. She could out-run, out-climb and
out-fight any boy her own age. Her goal was to be the world's
first female knight.

But what most people didn't know was that the two girls had one
thing in common: they both loved to talk about boys.

Whenever Mary had a piano recital or poetry reading, Margaret
would always be in the audience. And whenever Margaret entered
an archery tournament or fencing match, Mary was always there
cheering her on. And, of course, after the event was over, the
two girls would talk about the boys in the audience,
particularly which boy would make the best husband.

One night in the middle of the night, Margaret heard a knock on
her bedroom door. When she opened the door, there was Mary with
tears in her eyes.

"What's the matter?" asked Margaret.

Mary replied, "Father said that on my sixteenth birthday I
should be married."

"Well, that's wonderful!" exclaimed Margaret, "Why are you

"Because he won't let me choose my own husband!" exclaimed Mary.

"Well, that's not so bad." replied Margaret, "I'm sure he'll
choose a good husband for you."

With that Mary began to sob, "But, I've already fallen in love
with someone."

Margaret replied, "Well, maybe your father will choose him."

"Never. Not in a million years!" sobbed Mary.

"How do you know?" asked Margaret.

"Because Father isn't really choosing my husband." replied Mary,
"The man I marry will be the winner of a contest."

"Well, isn't it possible that your boyfriend could win the
contest?" asked Margaret.

"Not a chance!" exclaimed Mary, "The contest will be an athletic
contest. The winner will be the best horseman, the best climber,
the best sword fighter, and the best archer."

"Well, if your boyfriend practices those things, he could learn
to excel in those things, couldn't he?"

Mary replied, "You don't understand. My boyfriend is just like
me. He likes to read and study and talk. He's terrible at riding
horses and archery and sword fighting."

"Well, I could teach him those things!" replied Margaret.

"But, it's less than two weeks until my birthday!" exclaimed

"Let me try." replied Margaret.

And so, Mary's boyfriend, Prince Phillip, spent every day of the
next two weeks with Princess Margaret training in secret to win
the hand of his fair princess.

On the day of the tournament, each knight and prince who desired
the hand of Princess Mary first dressed full armor, then rode
his horse in front of the grandstands where the royal family
were seated. He would throw the princess a red rose, remove his
helmet and bow before the royal family, then ride off to

Finally, it was Prince Phillip's turn to be announced for the

"Announcing Prince Phillip, Prince of Willshire."

The prince threw the princess a red rose, but he didn't remove
his helmet before he bowed to the royal family and rode away.

Then the trumpet blew and the competition began: first the
joust, then the cross country horse race, then the sword
fighting, then the hand-to-hand combat, then archery.

In spite of the fact, that Phillip was the shortest knight to
compete, he won every event. To those who knew him, his
performance was amazing!

After the last victory, King Henry stood and took the hand of
his daughter Princess Mary and he descended the stairs toward
Prince Phillip intending to give the hand of his daughter. But
instead of receiving Mary's hand, Prince Phillip galloped his
horse into his tent. Then, after several seconds of the sound of
armor clanking, Prince Phillip walked confidently out of the
tent without his armor to receive the hand of his true love.

And they all lived happily ever after.

But that's not the end of the story. After Phillip married Mary
and became king, he never wore his armor again. He became known
as the smartest king who ever lived. Because of his love of
learning and books, other kings from all over the world came to
visit him and get his advice. And his queen, Queen Mary became
known as the world's most gracious hostess. Kings, queens and
royalty of all nations longed for an invitation to visit the
world's most famous couple. And there was peace in the land.

But to this day, noone knew that it was Mary's friend Margaret
who wore Prince Phillip's armor that day. And Margaret and Mary
were best friends for the rest of their lives.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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