This seems to have not gotten crossposted as it should have when I moved things to WordPress.
“Grandma Rosaria, tell me another story.”
“All right, my lovely Lily, come sit here, you and your brothers, yes, you, too, Anthony, you’re not that old yet, and let your Grandmother spin you a tale.”
“Grandma tells the best tales,” Lily hissed to her friend Cady, tugging her along as well. Rosaria pretended not to hear, but she was smiling to herself as the children got situated.
“So, what story do you want to hear?” she teased. “The princess and the pea? Jack and the beanstalk?”
“Tell us a real story!” Anthony insisted, suddenly not nearly too old for such things. “One of the good ones!”
“All right then, children. A real story it will be – although I’ll have you know the Beanstalk was real, too, once upon a time.”
They all giggled at that, all except Anthony, who was beginning to understand how things worked. Rosaria closed her eyes, feeling the children in her mind, and reached for the story.
Interesting. Today it would be Cady. She hadn’t expected that.
“Once upon a time,” she began, “there was a very clever child. A child who saw things that weren’t there, and understood words that weren’t spoken.”
“Was she a fairy child?” her grandchildren chorused.
“She felt like one, that was for sure. She felt like she’d been born into a world that didn’t understand her.” Haven’t we all, child, haven’t we all? “That there were monsters she saw that nobody else saw. That the mountain ahead of her, she would have to climb alone.”
“Was there a dragon?” chorused her grandchildren. Cady remained quiet, but she was listening thoughtfully.
“There is often a dragon,” Rosaria agreed. “But for this young knight…”
“You said she was a girl!” Chamus, Anthony and Lily’s little brother, argued. Rosaria pinned him with her best grandmother gaze.
“And she was a knight?” he offered weakly.
“And she was a knight. And this knight was not to fight a dragon,” thank the heavens, poor young girl has enough to fight. “No. She was to fight a demon.” As if that’s better.
The children, even Cady, now, ooohed, and aahed. “But she had armor,” Lily prompted.
“And she had armor,” Rosaria agreed. “She had strong armor, armor her friend built for her. For her friend built the finest armor in all the land, and clad her friend in it. And another friend gave her a helm, strong and perfect. And from the princess,” hunh, that’s new, “this knight was given a lance, a long and pure lance that would always strike true.”
“Her friends protected her,” Anthony mused, with a glance at his family.
“Her friends gave her the tools,” Rosaria nodded. “So that when she climbed the mountain to face the demon, even though she climbed that steep cliff on her own, she was not alone.”
“Did she win?” Chamus asked, bouncing up and down. “Did she win?”
“At first, she thought she would lose. Her sword missed the mark, and the demon hit her, slashing at her armor and nicking her, bruising her face and hurting her skin. She swung again, and missed again, swung, and….”
“The lance!” all the children called.
“And remembered her lance at last. And with that lance, she thrust into the demon’s heart… and it vanished into nothing, vanquished.”
Rosaria sat back, watching the childrens’ faces. “And so the young knight slew her first demon. And although she knew there would be many more demons, and many more mountains to climb, she knew she would never have to face them on her own. Her friends, and her princess, would always be with her.”
“And until we see her again, that is where we leave her,” the children recited.
“Indeed. That,” Rosaria caught Cady’s eye, and smiled, “is where we leave her.”