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ORPHAN1  9' An orphan girl teaches a prince how to be a man

"Captain! Welcome home! How was fishing?!" asked the palace
housekeeper.

"Came back with a full load." the captain replied.

The housekeeper pointed to the teenaged girl standing next to
the captain and asked, "Who's this?"

The captain answered, "We fished her out of the sea near the
mouth of the river on our way out to sea. We had her on board
the ship for the whole voyage. We put her to work mopping the
decks and repairing the nets. She's a good worker. But she's an
orphan. So, I thought that, since the royal palace always needs
good help, you might be able to give her a job and home."

The housekeeper turned to the girl, "What's your name, girl?"

"I don't know." The girl replied.

The Captain replied, "We think she whacked her head when she
fell into the river and got washed out to sea. We think she has
amnesia."

"Do you know where you're from?" asked the housekeeper.

The girl shook her head, "No. Nothing."

The housekeeper asked, "She's wearing boys clothes. Where are
her clothes?"

The Captain replied, "These are the clothes she was wearing when
we fished her out of the water."

The housekeeper stroked the girls blond hair, "Your parents are
probably really worried about you. We'll give you a home and a
job here in the palace until your parents come get you."

Because the girl was wearing boy's clothes, the housekeeper put
the girl in charge of the stable, feeding the animals, cleaning
horse stalls, and polishing the royal coach. She was a very good
worker.

One morning while she was sewing a horse blanket, a teenaged boy
dressed in blue came into the stable.

"You're new here." he said.

The girl didn't know this person, but, knowing that blue is the
color of royalty, she dropped what she was doing and knelt down.

"Your highness." She replied.

"You needn't be so formal when my mother isn't around." the boy
insisted. "My name is Philip."

"Would you like me to saddle your horse for you, Prince Philip?"

"No." Said Philip. Mother doesn't want me riding horses. She
thinks I might fall off and get hurt. She treats me like a baby.
What's your name, girl?"

"I... I don't know." replied the girl.

"What do you mean you don't know?!" Asked Philip.

She replied, "The sea captain who plucked me out of the water
thinks I hit my head when I fell into the river. He says I have
something called amnesia."

"Well, then," said Philip, I shall give you a name. I'll call
you by the name of a princess I heard about in another kingdom.
I hear she's very beautiful. Her name is Margaret. So, hello,
Margaret."

"Hello, Prince Philip." Margaret replied as she bowed again.

Philip turned to leave.

"Where are you going?" asked Margaret.

Philip replied "I just came to visit my horse. And I already
visited my horse, so....". Philip turned to leave.

"But you haven't ridden him yet."

"I told you, the queen is afraid that I'll get hurt." Philip
explained. Then he turned again to leave.

Margaret replied, "You know what I think? I think YOU'RE afraid
you'll be hurt. I think you're a chicken."

Philip turned. "A chicken?!"

"Yes, chickens are afraid of everything. When it rains, they
run. When a bird flies over the chicken yard, they run. When a
mouse comes in, they run." Margaret made the sound of a chicken,
"Buk buk bukuk! Chicken."

Philip stopped and turned, "I'm a prince. I could have you
thrown into the dungeon, you know!"

Margaret smiled, "If you do, I'll tell everybody that the reason
you put me in the dungeon is because you're too much of a
chicken to ride a harmless horse."

Philip replied, "I would ride. But I don't know how. I'll learn
how someday. You'll see." He turned to leave.

Margaret made the sound of a chicken, "Buk buk bukuk!"

Philip clench his fists and turned. "Alright!" he said angrily,
"I'll ride the silly horse!"

Margaret took Philip by the hand and led him to the stall of his
horse. Then she clasped her hands together near his knee and
said, "I'll help you up."

Philip changed his mind and turned to leave.

Margaret made the sound of a chicken, "Buk buk bukuk!"

Philip took a deep breath, turned quickly and put his foot on
Margaret's hands, then he slung his leg over the top of the
horse and sat down on the bare back of the horse. "See? I'm not
a chicken! Please don't tell the queen I was up here!"

Philip visited the stable every day. And every day, he spent
more and more time on his horse. Every day Margaret taught him
more and more about horses.

"How do you know so much about riding horses?" he asked her.

"I don't know. I just do." Margaret replied.

Within a month, Margaret had Philip riding zigzag through the
woods at full gallop while plucking colored rags off of the
branches of trees.

"It's time for you to learn how to jump your horse over fallen
trees and fences." Margaret demanded.

"I don't think so. I'll fall off." Philip replied.

Margaret made the sound of a chicken, "Buk buk bukuk!"

Within two months, she had Philip jumping his horse over fallen
trees and fences.

"It's time for you to learn how to fight with swords on
horseback." Margaret said.

"But I don't even know how to sword fight on the ground."

Margaret made the sound of a chicken, "Buk buk bukuk!"

"But I could cut myself." Philip replied.

Margaret made the sound of a chicken, "Buk buk bukuk!"

"Alright! I'll do it!" Philip replied. "But who will teach me to
fight with a sword?"

"I will." replied Margaret.

"How do you know about sword fighting?" he asked her.

"I don't know. I just do." Margaret replied.

It took two months for Margaret to teach Philip how to fight
with his sword. They started with sticks, then Philip borrowed
two swords from his father's closet.

Finally, Philip mounted his horse with the sword. He was
nervous. "How am I going to hold onto the horse when I have a
sword in my hand?" He asked.

Margaret made the sound of a chicken, "Buk buk bukuk!"

Within a few more months, Philip was able to slash a watermelon
in two with his sword while riding at full gallop.

Margaret practiced every day with Philip. And by his eighteenth
birthday, he could also throw a spear and shoot an arrow from
horseback.

At his birthday party, Philip announced to the king and queen
that he could now take his rightful place as commander of the
king's army.

The king replied, "My son, if you want to be the commander of my
army, you must know how to ride a horse and fight with a sword,
and throw a spear and shoot a bow and arrow."

"But, father," Philip replied, "I'm very good at all of those
things."

His mother got angry. "You mean you've been riding a horse?!"

"Yes." Philip replied.

The king asked, "How did you learn how to do all those things?"

"Margaret taught me." Philip replied.

"Margaret? Who's Margaret?!" The queen asked.

Philip replied, "She's the orphan who works in the stable."

The king asked, "How did a girl know how to ride a horse and
shoot a bow and arrow?!"

"I don't know. She doesn't know. She has amnesia." Philip
replied. "Can I? Can I take my rightful place as commander of
the Army?"

Both king and queen answered, "NO!";

"You'll get hurt! I can't let by baby boy get hurt!" the queen
said.

"There is no way you could learn from a girl and be good at it!"
said the king.

A few weeks later, Prince Philip was put to the test. The king's
army went to war, leaving him behind to guard the palace. But
some enemy soldier slipped by the army and attacked the castle.
Both Prince Philip and Margaret used all their riding and
fighting skills to save the queen and the others living in the
palace. They drove the enemy soldiers away and sent them
running.

All of the kings of surrounding kingdoms were invited to the
ceremony where Prince Philip's father would award both Philip
and Margaret medals of valor. When the two brave soldiers walked
up to receive their awards, a visiting queen stood up, pointed
at Margaret and gasped, "Margaret!"

Margaret, turned and gasped, "Mother?" Suddenly her memories all
came rushing back.

It turns out that Philip had named Margaret after a princess who
had been kidnapped by pirates, but who escaped and ran for her
life. She changed into boys clothes so the pirates wouldn't
recognize her. But running away from them at night, she fell
into the river and was washed out to sea.

Needless to say, Philip was pleased that his best friend was
really a princess.

"But where does a princess learn to ride and shoot like that?!"
asked Philip.

Margaret replied, "I copied my older brother when he learned how
to ride and shoot."

Then Philip held Margaret's hands and asked, "Princess Margaret,
will you marry me?"

Margaret replied, "I don't know, I....".

Philip made the sound of a chicken, "Buk buk bukuk!"

Margaret smiled and replied, "Alright! Alright!" I'll marry
you."

So, Philip and Margaret were married and united their two
kingdoms into one when they became king and queen over all the
land. And they all lived happily ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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