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ORPHAN6  6' An orphan girl and a princess trade places

After the orphan Mary saved the king and queen from the ugly,
evil prince, the king had a banquet in honor of the girl he
thought was his daughter.

Mary bathed and dressed in a beautiful new dress and was about
to enter the banquet hall, when a young man, who also wore
beautiful new clothes came up to Mary and put his arms around
her, saying, "I hear the church is going to annul your marriage
to the prince. That means you can marry me!"

With that, he kissed Mary on the lips.

She wrestled with him and bent his arm behind his back, saying,
"I'm not going to marry anybody! I don't even like boys."

With that, she shoved him into the wall and went into the
banquet hall.

At the banquet, a courier arrived with an urgent message for the
king. As the king unrolled the scroll to read it, Mary read it
over his shoulder. It read:

"I am holding Princess Margaret prisoner. If you want to see her
alive, you must pay one million gold coins."

Upon reading the scroll, the king threw it into the corner,
shouting, "What kind of fool do these people think I am?! Why
would I pay a million gold coins for my daughter when she's
sitting right next to me?!"

But Mary knew that the real Princess Margaret was in trouble.
She sprang to her feet to follow the courier out of the castle,
but he was gone. So, lifting her skirt, she ran up the stairs to
the top of the castle wall to look down at the city, hoping to
see the courier riding away.

Sure enough, she saw a man riding at top speed down the hill
away from the castle. Whenever Mary lost sight of him, she ran
to the other end of the wall to see which way he turned. The
farther away the courier rode, the harder it was for Mary to see
Him.

So, again, she stripped off her floor-length dress and shoes to
climb the outside of a watch tower. When she finally climbed to
the top of the watch tower, she saw the courier turn down a
familiar street. It was the street where Mary first met Princess
Margaret, the dress maker's shop.

As quickly as she had climbed up, she climbed down, then she ran
along the top of the wall until she was above the stable. She
climbed down to the roof of the stable, then swung onto the back
of the king's white horse.

"Prince Margaret!" shouted the stable boy, "Why are you in your
underwear?!"

"No time to explain!" shouted Mary as she guided the horse out
of the stable, "Call the palace guards to arms and send them to
the dress shop where the Princess bought her wedding dress."

"But YOU are the princess!" exclaimed the stable boy.

"Do as I say!" shouted Mary as she rode away down the hill, "Or
I'll have you thrown into the dungeon!"

She rode at top speed down the streets to the dress shop, but
she stopped her horse well away from the dress shop so that the
kidnappers couldn't hear the clipity-clop of the horse's hoofs.
She sneaked down the back alley where she and Margaret had
exchanged dresses. There, tied to the back stair rail, was the
horse of the courier. She looked through the back window, but
noone was there.

So, digging her fingers and toes into the cracks between the
stones, she climbed the back of the building to the second floor
and carefully looked in. There, tied to a chair, was Princess
Margaret, still wearing Mary's drab brown dress. She had a gag
in her mouth. Mary could also see the dress maker talking to the
courier. The courier looked enough like the dress maker to be
her brother.

Now, Mary had a clear picture of how this happened. The dress
maker apparently saw Mary and Margaret exchanging dresses. And
she saw an opportunity to kidnap and ransom the princess.

Mary climbed up to the roof. Then, holding the edge of the roof
with both hands, she threw her feet off the edge of the roof,
then swung down and crashed through the window feet first,
landing on the floor on her back.

But when the courier pulled the sword from his belt, she stood
up at once. When the courier thrust his sword at Mary, she
stepped aside, avoiding the point of his sword by inches. She
grabbed his wrist and gave him a big pull. The thrust of his
sword and the pull carried the courier off his feet and right
out the broken window. He landed on his back on a mound of
garbage on the ground below.

After moaning and groaning for a few seconds, he mounted his
horse and tried to gallop away. But the king's palace guards
arrived just in time to arrest him.

Just then, the dress maker pulled a large pair of scissors from
her apron and thrust them at Mary. But Mary stepped to the other
side as she grabbed the dress maker's arm and pulled hard on it.

The dress maker fell out the window and landed on her back on
the pile of garbage below. She to was arrested by the guards.

Mary untied Margaret and they came out of the back door of the
dress shop just in time for the King and Queen to arrive.

"Margaret!" gasped the King as he dismounted.

"My baby!" exclaimed the queen, "Why are you in your underwear
again?!"

Then they both stood in open mouthed silence.

"There are two of you!" exclaimed the king.

"So, it's true!" exclaimed the queen.

"What's true?" asked Margaret.

The king explained, "Noone knows this, but our baby died in
childbirth. So, we adopted a baby from a woman who gave birth
that same day. We heard that after we took the new baby away,
that woman gave birth to a second baby. But when we went back,
the woman and the second baby were gone."

Margaret asked, "You mean, Mary and I are... sisters?!"

"I'm quite sure!" replied the queen, "And we would like to adopt
Mary, if it's alright with her."

Mary thought for a moment, then replied, "Well, alright. But
there is one condition."

"Condition?" asked the king, "What's that?"

Mary replied, "A boy at the banquet kissed me and asked me to
marry him. But I hate boys. I'm not marrying anybody."

Margaret exclaimed, "He thought he was kissing me! And now we
can be married!"

Everyone agreed. And they all lived happily ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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