KIDNAP4  7' Princess disappears, detective finds her

Once again, Michaela's family was awakened before dawn by the
thundering of horses' hoofs outside. When Michaela opened the
door, the king exclaimed, "Michaela I need your help again! My
daughter has been kidnapped!"

Michaela got dressed quickly and climbed into the coach, then
the horses galloped at full speed to the royal palace. The king
brought Michaela up to the princess' bedroom. "She was last seen
up here late last night. How could she have just disappeared?!"
asked the king.

Michaela examined the room, then she explained, "I can't find
any evidence of forced entry into the room nor any evidence of a
struggle. Are you sure this is a kidnapping?"

"Well, no." replied the king, "But what else could it be?!"

Michaela examined the fireplace with her magnifying glass, then
exclaimed, "Aha!"

"What is it?!" asked the king.

"There's a small piece of paper that has been burned. But you
can still see the writing on it." replied Michaela.

The king reached for the blackened paper.

"Don't touch it!" exclaimed Michaela, "It will crumble to pieces
if you touch it!"

Michaela examined the scorched paper with her magnifying glass
and exclaimed, "Aha!"

"Can you read it?" asked the king.

"Yes." replied Michaela, "It says, 'Meet me at the tent at ten
o'clock.' What tent do you think it's talking about?"

"I suppose it could be.... Oh no!"

"What is it?" asked Michaela.

"The Gypsies!" exclaimed the king.

"You mean you think the Gypsies kidnapped your daughter?" asked

"No," replied the king. "The gypsies have a circus that came to
town. They set up their circus tent in the meadow on the other
side of the river. My daughter went to see the circus yesterday
and she.... she....";

"She... what, Your Majesty?" asked Michaela.

The king replied, "My daughter is now of marrying age. And she
was smitten with the man on the flying trapeze."

"You don't think she would run off and marry a man she's only
known for less than a day, do you?" asked Michaela.

"You know how young girls are! That boy was strong and handsome.
I suppose she just wanted to see him again... alone." replied
the king, then he shouted, "To the royal coach! We're going to
the circus!"

But when they got to the circus and searched all the wagons and
tents, they found no trace of the princess.

"What have you done with my daughter!" shouted the king as he
shook the trapeze artist by the shoulders.

Meanwhile, Michaela searched the outskirts of the meadow for
several minutes then shouted, "This way, Your Majesty!"

"What is it?" asked the king as he came running.

Michaela pointed at the grass and explained, "The dew is still
on the grass. You can clearly see the tracks of a man's shoes
walking backward while dragging a person wearing shoes with
small heels."

"My daughter has shoes with small heels!" exclaimed the king,
then he commanded as he followed the drag marks through the
woods, "This way men!"

Meanwhile, Michaela followed the drag marks in the other
direction, toward the circus wagons. They led to the costume
wagon where she found a cup with a small amount of wine
remaining in the bottom. So she sniffed it. "Aha!" she exclaimed
but noone was listening.

So, she examined the rest of the costume wagon thoroughly until
the king returned.

"I found my daughter!" he exclaimed.

"Don't tell me. Let me guess." replied Michaela, "She was asleep
and you couldn't wake her up?"

"How did you know?" asked the king.

Michaela pointed at the nearly-empty wine cup.

"That cup smells of sleeping potion." she explained, "Whoever
lured your daughter here had her drink some wine to drug her,
then he dragged her away and hid her somewhere."

"Yes. She was in an abandoned cabin in the woods. But she was
unharmed. Why would someone lure her to the circus and then put
her to sleep?" asked the king.

"Was anything missing? Necklace, bracelets, rings?" asked

"I don't know. I was so glad to see that she was alright that I
didn't notice." replied the king as he left the wagon, "I'll go

Michaela pointed to the wooden boxes on the floor of the wagon
and asked one of the gypsies, "These boxes seem like they're out
of place in a costume wagon. Do they belong in here?"

"No," replied the gypsy, "They're supposed to be stored in
another wagon. I wonder what they're doing here."

When the king returned, he exclaimed, "They're gone! All of her
jewelry, her necklace, her bracelets, her rings... all gone."

Michaela began stacking the wooden boxes in the middle of the
wagon while she explained, "Here's what happened. Your daughter
came here expecting to meet the young trapeze artist. But he's
not the one who wrote the note we found burned up in the

"Who did then?" asked the king.

Michaela finished stacking the boxes, then climbed to the top of
the stack and reached into the rafters of the wagon and pulled
out a handful of jewelry, explaining, "The person who wrote the
note and pretended to be the trapeze artist merely wanted to
steal the jewelry and blame it on him."

"That's my daughter's jewelry!" exclaimed the king, "Who would
do such a thing?"

Instead of answering, Michaela asked her own question, "There's
more jewelry hidden in the rafters. Can you reach it?"

The king stepped up and easily reached a bracelet and ring from
the hiding place, saying, "That's the last of it."

Michaela explained, "The person who hid the jewelry in the
rafters couldn't reach the rafters unless he stood on these
boxes. Do you see which of the Gypsies outside are too short to
reach the rafters?"

The answer was obvious. The king shouted, "The midget! Arrest

Then the king turned to Michaela and asked, "But how did he get
the princess to drink the wine?"

Michaela replied, "I guess that he met the princess at the edge
of the meadow and told her that the trapeze artist would be
late. He had her wait in the costume wagon and offered her
something to drink while she was waiting. As soon as she drank
the wine and fell asleep, he stole her jewelry and hid it. Then
he dragged her off into the woods knowing that she wouldn't wake
up until after the circus wagons had moved on to their next

And so, the world's greatest detective solved another crime and
they all lived happily ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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