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The Missing PRINCESS OF LITHERVILLE
By Antoinette May Tozer
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2012 Antoinette May Tozer
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThere was once a little town way up north called Litherville. The town had a very nice queen and king who longed to have a baby. One day, the queen gave birth to a girl named Antoinette. Everybody in the town admired her beauty and brought the baby gifts from all over the world. The king and the queen had a variety of servants, and they had one servant whose name was Isabelle. The queen and the king made a will that if they both die in battle, Isabelle was to take care of the little girl. They also said that she would own the whole palace until Antoinette got old enough. Then she would inherit the castle and Isabelle would go back to being a servant.
Isabelle did not approve of this will at all—for she wanted to keep the castle forever - she never wanted to work ever again in her life. When Isabelle got word that the queen has had a baby, Isabelle quickly thought of a plan to get rid of the precious baby once and for all.
Isabelle waited for the queen and the king to go into town for some announcements. When she saw them disappear into the town, she ran up to where the baby was sleeping, and then she gave the baby some sleeping pills and put the baby in a woven basket that the queen had gotten as a gift when the baby was born. Isabelle ran down to where the river was and stuck the baby in the river. Isabelle knew that there was a big waterfall at the end of the river, so she gave the baby one quick push toward it. Isabelle knew that the baby was sure to die, and she had to make it seem like someone had broken in and took the baby. Isabelle hurried toward the castle and broke the window with a wooden vase (another gift that the queen had gotten when Antoinette was born). She smeared berries across her chest to make it look like she had been wounded. When the queen and the king got home, they were heartbroken.
The queen and the king did believe Isabelle and her little fable. They hired twenty more guards to watch every corner of the castle, and they told Isabelle that she did not have to work for another month because of her injuries. Isabelled laughed to herself when she heard the queen crying in the king's arms. What Isabelle did not know was that poor Antoinette survived the great big waterfall and was now fifty miles downstream and was passing another town when she had hit some currents. Antoinette started to wake, and she started to fuss when some people in a fishing boat brought her in with a net. They brought the baby into the town that was ruled by a different queen and king of Cobleville.
The women in the town cast lots for the baby; and finally, one very old woman got the baby and said, "Shame on those who sell babies." The old woman kept the baby.
When Antoinette was twelve years old, she had an extremely sophisticated vocabulary and a very beautiful voice. The old woman was now even older, and her husband had just died. The old woman told everyone in the village that Antoinette had a voice as sweet as honey and as soft as silk. Of course everyone was determined to see if that was true. So every day, everybody was quiet when they passed by her house, wondering if they might hear what she sounded like; and one day some heard. They told everyone that they have heard her sing but did not see what she looked like. Everybody wanted to see what the little girl looked like, but the old woman would not let poor Antoinette out of the house until she was fifteen because she was worried that her little girl would get stolen.
Back in Litherville, the queen and the king still mourned their loss of their baby girl, but they still remembered her and knew her name. They already had another baby, but this time it was a boy.
Isabelle was just as sly as ever and was now the queen and king's most favorite person. They trusted Isabelle so much that she just wasn't any slave or servant, she was a personal aide to the baby. Every night she would sit by the fire with the queen and the king, and they would have their coffee and talk about how big their little boy has gotten. Now Isabelle did not want to get rid of this baby because she knew she could still be the queen because he was a boy. As time passed, Isabelle had forgotten about baby Antoinette, until one day, the basket Antoinette was washed away in appeared in the back gardens. Isabelle then realized where it had been from and then had gotten another sly smile on her face. Isabelle remembered that baby Antoinette was presumed dead; Isabelle just had to bring it up at dinner to the poor family. She said, "Today I found the basket that the robber took her in." The queen and the king gasped, Is this really the basket we lost her in? they wondered. "Will we ever see her again?" asked the queen. Isabelle had the urge to say, Nope, you never will, but she didn't.
Antoinette had just turned fifteen, and she and the old woman had the urge to go into Cobleville and to see the world again. The old woman packed lunch for Antoinette and for herself. When they entered the town, all the men and women took one look at Antoinette and said, "Who is this most beautiful young lady?" The old woman stood on some old cobblestones and said for all to hear, "This is Antoinette, the girl I have been telling you about, the one who has a voice as sweet as honey and as soft as silk." All the townspeople started to cheer. "They want you to sing!" the old woman said, and so Antoinette started to sing the song she had written herself. Everyone stopped what they were doing and were drawn to listen to her beautiful voice; all the chickens in the coop settled down, and the donkeys stopped kicking up their hay. All the boys came flocking toward her with roses in their hands. They were shoving each other out of the way so they could talk to her. She looked upon all the boys of the town and saw one that was the most handsome. He was wearing gold chains around his neck and had silk laid upon him. Even at the sight of him, Antoinette just had to ask her "mother" who is the mysterious man with silk laid upon him. The woman answered, "That man is the prince of this country. He comes every day to give money to the poor and to feed their children and their sheep." At this, Antoinette went over to him and sat next to him. She gave him a sweet smile and said, "You look ever so sad, what is the matter?" He looked at her and said, "I am a lonely prince. Nobody in this town loves a loner." At this, Antoinette got up and walked to the nearest store and bought some bread and a little jar of honey. She took it back to him and said, "Everybody loves you, my dearest prince, what is there not to love?" He looked at her with a smug little smile and said, "Thanks for everything you have given me. In return, I invite you to stay at my palace. You will be happier there than you will be here."
Back at the palace in Litherville, the queen and the king were saying their goodbyes to Isabelle. She had fixed them their favorite breakfast and served them in every need they had. The king has loaded up the horse with riches for the king and queen of Cobleville. Then the queen said to her husband, "What happens if our dearest Antoinette was taken there ?" The king answered, "We will shower the woman who took care of her with riches, and she will never run out of food in her life!" At that the king and the queen set off on their journey.
When the queen and the king had gotten to a grassy place in between the castle and the place where Antoinette was, the queen told her husband, "Oh, I do so hope there are no wild animals who will come poking into our tent at night and try to gobble me up!"
"Do not be afraid, my dear queen, for if any animal even tries to hurt you, I surely will have its head before it even reaches you." The queen was relieved but still a little scared, and she went to sleep.
Back at the prince's castle, Antoinette was eating dinner with the prince and his family. The queen was asking the prince why he brought in a townsperson when he told his mom the story of how she was so tenderhearted. Even though his mom looked at her very funny, Antoinette loved the king and the queen so much already. When it was time for bed, Antoinette was given a shower and a very nice room with tons of very fancy gowns and shoes. When the prince came to say good night, she asked him very politely, "Where did you get such wonderful clothes from?" He told her, "These were my sister's, but she has grown and is a queen of her own in some other country." Antoinette knew that she was already falling for this prince, but she was wondering how he could love a townsgirl like her . She did not even have any riches at all (Antoinette did not know that she was a princess though).
Back at the queen and king's castle, Isabelle was having a nice time without the queen and the king nudging at her. She was feeling very loved just sitting there, watching the fire crackle and enjoying her cakes and tea very much. Isabelle was talking out loud to herself,
"Those pesky rich people, they are still mourning over their lost baby girl! But they already have another child, a baby boy indeed! The queen and the king will never find out that I was the one who took their baby girl and dumped her in a basket into the river! Ha!" Just then, the baby boy had started crying because he realized that his mom and dad were gone and had not come in his room the usual time to give him kiss and a pat on the back. "Oh, please do shut up, you poor little baby! For I dreadfully hate cleaning your nose or your diaper!"
Back in the town where Antoinette was, the queen and the king of Litherville were heading into town.
They were going up to the castle when Antoinette and the prince were having a nice stroll in the garden. The queen and the king saw the other royal family and called in the prince and Antoinette. When Antoinette saw the queen and king of Litherville she bowed down to them and said, "Your Majesty!" The queen asked Antoinette what her name was, and she said, "Oh, my name is Antoinette, and I am just a townsperson who has been invited to stay at the palace!" At this the queen jumped up and down and ran over to Antoinette and said, "My baby! I have been looking for you for the longest time!" Antoinette staggered back. "I ... I ... I am not a princess or the daughter of a queen or king!" "Oh, but you are our longtime missing daughter!" Antoinette did not know what to do, so she just ran to her room and gently closed the door (she was not good at having attitude). She took a deep breath and wept. She wept because she had grown fond of the old lady over time. Her mother came and knocked on the door. "Antoinette, I know you are overwhelmed, and I totally understand that. But if you would just listen to what we have been trying to do for the last couple of years, then I will let you choose to stay or to come with us." Antoinette heard what she was saying but did not want to open the door for this motherly stranger. "Come in," Antoinette said quietly. Her mother came in with her father and the prince. "My mom and dad said that they will be in the gardens if you need them," the prince said. Antoinette looked at her mother and father and asked, "Did you try to get rid of me?" Her parents looked shocked at this question and said, "Oh, honey, we did not even know that you had been kidnapped until we got home from morning announcements. The window in your room was broken, and Isabelle was terribly wounded for she had blood all over her chest. We thought that you had died and were in heaven, but as a matter of fact, here you are all safe and sound!"
Antoinette was becoming more curious by the minute about what her room looked like and who Isabelle was.
"Who is this Isabelle that you tell me? Is she my sister?"
"Oh no, she is our servant. One of the greatest ones as a matter of fact!" Antoinette knew what she had to do. She would go to her old woman and ask her if she had kidnapped her. So Antoinette asked if her mom and dad would like to see her too, and they said certainly for she might be the woman who had kidnapped her.
Antoinette led her mom and dad to her keeper's house, getting all the more sad at her betrayal. When the old woman opened the door, Antoinette fell to the woman's feet and wept, saying, "I did not tell on you, I swear!" The old woman looked frightened, scared, and a little confused, for she wondered what the king and the queen of Lithervielle were standing at her door for.
She asked, "Antoinette, what is all the commotion about? I have done nothing wrong!" The king and the queen walked into the woman's house and sat down on her bed. They asked, "Have you ever done any wrong in your life?" "Oh, now that you make me think, I have disobeyed my mother quite a few times, and I am very ashamed of doing it, Your Majesty!"
"Have you ever kidnapped a baby?" The old woman looked shocked, and she gave Antoinette a look of What did you tell them? "My dear royal friends, I have never even thought of kidnapping a baby for the fishermen had found this baby afloat on the river, and so I took her in."
The queen and the king looked at each other and nodded; they both went outside and had a little discussion about what to do. They came in with smiles on their faces, carring bags of gold, silver and jewels. The woman was looking like she was going to faint, so she leaned up against the table. Antoinette looked confused too, but then she realized that woman had saved her life and not kidnapped her. Antoinette threw herself at the woman and kissed her, saying, "You saved my life and I have thought wrong." The queen and the king told her, "Since you have been so kind to our missing daughter, you may live in the palace for as long as you want and see our precious little child, for she has grown very fond of you as far as I can see!"
They laughed tears of joy and stayed in the old woman's house for the night. They were planning on leaving the next day, but they had to wait for the old woman to pack up all her stuff. Antoinette wanted to say goodbye to the prince, so she went to the castle early morning.
As soon as the prince saw her in all her new clothes and looking more like a princess, he ran to pick her up and spun her around and around until both fell in a laughing heap on the ground.
The prince said to her, "Won't you stay with me forever? For I have grown to love you."
Antoinette did not want to leave the warm and precious arms of her beloved prince, but she said with tears in her eyes, "I cannot stay with you, for I have my own castle back at home, but please do come visit me!"
The prince started to sniff, and then he looked her in the eye one last time, and then he grabbed her closer and they kissed. "Thank you for all the wonderful things you have given me!" said Antoinette with tears streaming down her face.
Antoinette rode the same horse that the old woman was riding and talked about her old life back at the village along the way. They told jokes, and the queen and the king were very happy to hear their daughter's voice once again. Antoinette also sang them songs, and even the birds had gotten quiet so they could hear her wonderful voice.
When Antoinette had gotten home, she heard crying. "Is there a baby present?" she asked.
"Oh yes," the queen and king said in harmony, "that is your baby brother." Antoinette did not know that she had a baby brother to take care of. The queen and the king told Antoinette that the baby was only five years old and could talk but was kind of a whiny boy who liked to dig in the sand with his toy truck that was given to him as a present Antoinette also got introduced to Isabelle, who was the queen and the king's favorite person in the kingdom. Isabelle did not approve of Antoinette coming back to the castle.
The next night, when the king and his kin were having dinner with Isabelle, a weak and small servant hobbled up to the king and said, "Does Your Highness have a minute?" The king looked suspiciously at the servant and then looked at the queen who then nodded.
The king agreed and went to talk to the group of servants that was gathered at the door. "Your Highness, we have overheard your servant Isabelle talking in the baby's room. We heard her laughing and saying she was the one who tried to get rid of Antoinette by putting her into the river. We heard her say that you will never find out!" The king looked at all of them and then began to cry.
Excerpted from The Missing PRINCESS OF LITHERVILLE by Antoinette May Tozer Copyright © 2012 by Antoinette May Tozer. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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