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Abigail, Queen Of Natroniea
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A lonely young girl finds love comes from within.
Her name was Abigail, Queen of Natroniea.
Her beauty is a legend among the people of her country.
Her wisdom a marvel, as well known as her compassion and love for the people of her kingdom.
She was born in the natural way; however, Abigail's appearance at the time of her birth was anything but ordinary.
Her lips were flat and huge, her ears equally so, her nose flat against her face, her eyes small and dark. Her head too large for her body, her arms, hands, and legs more like the legs and feet of a turtle.
Nurses attending her mother covered first their faces, then the baby's face, fearing she would scare the other patients.
In spite of her appearance Abigail's parents loved her.
As a baby then a toddler Abigail rarely left her home. If she went out at all, her mother put a veil over her face.
Her parents consulted with many doctors to see if there was anything they could do for the little girl. They ran tests on her in every possible way in the medical field at that time. They could find nothing physically wrong.
Abigail went home to hopefully grow out of her repulsiveness.
When the time came for her to go to school her mother fashioned a cloth sack for Abigail's head. However, she could do nothing for her body.
The children were curious at first as to why she wore such a strange device.
Upon discovering the truth they began to make cruel remarks; the boys invented a game trying to snatch the sack from her head.
Each time one of them succeeded he ran away screaming, holding the bag high like a flag. Hiding the sack he ran back to the group.
Joining hands the children formed a circle dancing around Abigail taunting the weeping child. Well after the bell rang Abigail wandered the school grounds seeking the sack and finally giving up she entered the building.
When she entered the schoolroom her teacher stopped her lessons and made the child who had hidden the sack go and retrieve it.
Classes would not resume until Abigail had pulled it into place.
In spite of all the unkindness heaped on her, Abigail's pure heart remained loving, sweet, and kind.
However, the children's uncaring remarks and the heartless adult behaviour cut her to the bone. Personally, she was glad to wear the bag over her head.
This way, others could not see the tears in her eyes. The cloth barrier gave her a sense of privacy from the unkind world.
As time went on Abigail grew more sensitive over her appearance, she removed all the mirrors. Each time she left her bedroom, she wore the sack over her face. She also chose loose fitting clothing to disguise her body, and gloves to conceal her hands.
As she grew to be an adult Abigail's one joy was writing stories; stories of love, justice, and compassion. All the emotions the outside world denied her she found in her stories.
As she wrote, she perfected her skills of the English language.
The day came when Abigail accidentally left one of her fairy-tales on a bench outside the bakery.
The bakery shop owner hurrying by happened to see the shaft of papers.
Sitting on the bench alone, he picked them up and became mesmerized. He became so engrossed in the story he forgot his urgent errand.
That night he give the tale to his wife, who in turn gave it to a friend, who in turn gave it to another, and so forth until the entire village had read the yarn.
In every shop and home people spoke of the story and wondered; who was the brilliant author who could charm the whole countryside with their magical words?
Abigail kept silent, fearing the ridicule of the multitudes.
For the next two years she retired to her room each evening writing her tales of hope, joy and love.
Sometimes she wrote until the wee hours in the morning.
In her stories she lost herself in her imagination.
She became the princess rescued from the dragon by the knight in shining armour.
Or the girl lost in the forest; found by a handsome man who instantly falls madly in love with her and insist she marry him.
In truth while others were living their lives marrying and having children, Abigail existed only in her daydreams.
Every several weeks she would slip out her bedroom window just before dawn.
Keeping to the shadows, she would make her way to the town square.
Fearing detection, each time she left the new story in a different location.
If it was windy, she weighted the papers down with a stone.
If it was raining, she pushed them under the door of some shop.
It became an unwritten agreement among the people of the village, whoever was fortunate enough to find the tale would hurry off to the print shop.
The printer, a jovial man of 50, would then make copies.
Soon the demand for the stories became so great that the printer bound them into small booklets. He also hired an apprentice, just to help print and distribute them.
You would have thought the man would have to charge for the little books, however the people were so enthralled by the stories they insisted on giving the printer gold and silver coins. Living a comfortable life the printer saw no need to increase his wealth.
Therefore he expanded his shop, hired three more workers and printed the stories.
By now Abigail's fairy-tales had spread throughout the entire kingdom.
Mothers read them to their children at bedtime.
People began to clamour for more of them.
It seemed the stories changed the people, they were kinder and more compassionate to each other.
In her bedroom, the now young lady smiled.
While her appearance produced terror to children, her stories brought comfort to their hearts.
To the adults they ministered hope and pleasure.
By now King Billwick was well advanced in years.
His son Phillip was a shy man, preferring the company of horses to people.
No matter how much the king tried he could not convince Phillip to take his proper place in the kingdom.
A handsome man, the prince skipped each ball his father planed.
As the years passed, King Billwick began to despair.
Then one day in the spring, he discovered his footman reading a booklet. The servant was so enthralled he did not notice the monarch approach, a grievous error!
One of the kings' bodyguards raised a whip to bring it down on the man's back.
A kind man, the king stopped the officer from hitting the man.
He then asked the footman to loan him the book.
Grateful for escaping punishment the footman gave the small booklet to the king.
That night King Billwick could not sleep, he kept thinking of the white knight in the story, how brave the man was rescuing the damsel from certain destruction.
He yearned for Phillip to share the same traits as the knight in the story.
The next day he purposely left the booklet open on Phillip's saddle.
Curious as to who would have left this on his saddle Phillip read the first paragraph.
He never did take his morning ride.
As a matter of fact he never did take his morning ride all week!
For days, the prince walked around as if in a trance.
Calling the royal Mandarin, he commanded him to find the author.
The king was quite pleased, this being the first order his son had ever given.
The official immediately sent runners to every corner of the kingdom, but with no results.
Their reports were less than encouraging; no one seemed to know who the author was.
Some of the villagers believed the stories came from an angel named Jerome. Others thought they came from an elderly woman who lived in the forest.
All agreed that whoever the author was; they must be a brilliant person to write such marvellous stories.
Abigail had removed the mirror from the vanity in her bedroom, this being where she spent most of her days and nights.
Each time she ventured into the rest of the house she wore her bag and loose clothing.
The look of her hands distressed her, so unless she was writing she wore gloves.
Soon she wore her gloves even while writing.
Her parents mourned for her, wanting Abigail to live a normal life.
Distressed by the lack of results from the Royal Mandarin Phillip began searching the countryside for the author.
Having acquired the rest of the booklets, the prince became convinced that the author of such wonderful tales was a beautiful woman.
In a bold move he declared his love for someone he had never seen. If his assumptions were right and the writer was a woman of marriageable age, he intended to ask her to marry him.
As fate would have it, on the very day Prince Phillip arrived in the village, Abigail was discovered.
The butcher, arriving early to his shop, saw a figure leaving a stack of papers on a bench. Carefully he followed Abigail back to her home.
As soon as he saw her climb in her bedroom window, he spread the alarm.
For hours the people debated whether to tell the prince.
After all, Abigail's appearance went beyond homeliness, no one in Natroniea wanted a queen that ugly.
Dressed in the garb of a traveller Prince Phillip entered the town hall.
The debate was so heated no one noticed him.
After several minutes, he came to his feet.
"It seems my friends, true beauty comes from the heart." he said smiling.
He surprised himself, before reading the stories; he would never have dared to voice his opinion.
The people began to laugh and call out cruel remarks, some threatened the young prince. Unafraid he strode to the front of the room.
Some shouted at the audacity of this stranger.
Turning to face the crowd the prince removed his disguise, with a collective gasp the people bowed.
Fear ran through their hearts at what Phillip would do to them for threatening a member of the royal family.
Taking no notice of their discomfort the prince offered a reward for the person who could bring him the author's name, to the inn by three o-clock in the afternoon.
Having made his announcement he walked out of the building, leaving the people to a different argument. Each one wanted the treasure, however, no one wanted to tell Phillip the woman he sought was a monster.
By four o'clock the prince gave up waiting, he mounted his horse and wondered the streets.
Well aware of the meeting and the announcement Abigail dared to peek out her bedroom window. Just as she drew aside the heavy curtain, Phillip approached her home.
Their eyes met when the girl looked through the eyehole of a sack and saw the future king of Natroniea.
Abigail dropped the curtain, her heart pounding, hoping against hope he did not see her.
The next moment a knocking at her cottage door made her heart plunge and soar.
Entering the home the prince demanded to meet the girl in the bedroom.
Aware of the consequences of refusing a royal command her parents summoned her.
Clothed from head to foot Abigail reluctantly came into parlour.
She trembled as she knelt before the prince.
Gently taking her by the hand, he brought her to her feet.
Terror gripped Abigail's heart as the prince grasped the bag to remove it.
She put her gloved hands up to stop him; Phillip gently pushed her hands away.
"No, my beloved, all is well." he said smiling.
The prince gasped, as did Abigail's parents.
Fearing the contempt she would see in his face she nevertheless opened her eyes.
The future king of Natroniea stared into the face of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
Abigail's long flowing golden hair shone like a summer sunrise, her tender and loving eyes blue as the deep waters of a lake.
Her skin, though pale from lack of the sun, was nevertheless flawless.
Gently he took off her gloves.
Bringing Abigail's hands to his lips, he kissed each delicate elegant finger.
Then, taking her in his arms, he pledged his undying love for her.
It seemed, as Abigail wrote her charming tales, the love in her heart came through until it transformed her body.
To Phillip she was beautiful from the first day he read her stories.
Carrying her to his horse, Prince Phillip set her before him.
Raining the white stallion around he paraded the future princess through the streets of the village to the cheers of the people.
Then, bringing the stallion to a gallop, he rode with his coming wife to the castle.
Three weeks later they were married.
Phillip and Abigail wanted to be wed sooner, however the king and queen persuaded them to wait.
After all everyone needed time to prepare for the greatest wedding in Natroniea's history.
On the night of the wedding King Billwick went to bed assured that his kingdom would be secure in the hands of the future King Phillip and Queen Abigail, King and Queen of Natroniea.
So the moral of the story, if there is a moral.
True beauty comes from the heart, when allowed to nurture and grow, it always changes you.
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