"Prince of Love: A Christmas Tale"
Once upon a time, a beautiful Princess, Anena, was sitting in her bedroom when her father, the King, entered to bring her some good news.
“Darling,” he began. “We received a collect call from the North Pole today. It is going to cost us a lot of money, I’m sure. Anyway, it was a talkative elf named Dennis and apparently your name is officially on the ‘Good List’ this year.”
The Princess jumped for joy and hugged her father. She had worked hard all year long to make sure that Santa Claus would not overlook how well she had behaved. It worked, and she was hoping to receive the present that she wanted most this year: a Prince.
“Hooray, Daddy!” she shouted. “May I send a letter to Santa Claus so that he knows what to give me for Christmas?”
“Of course, sweetheart,” said the King. “Naturally, I must find out how much the postage costs to mail something from our castle in Mahtog to the North Pole before we send it. It also is going to cost me a lot of money. And I’ll also need to find out Santa Claus’s exact address. Just write your letter and I will give it to Bartleby, my messenger, to deliver to the North Pole.”
The Princess immediately darted over to her desk and sat in her wooden chair to begin writing her letter:
My name is Princess Anena and I have worked very hard to be good this year. I have been hoping all year long that you would notice my effort and reward me by sending me a Prince, my true love, for Christmas. I have always wanted to be in love and would be very happy if I finally could be.
She sealed the envelope and put a stamp in the corner after properly addressing the letter. Then she handed it to her father.
“Please please please put my letter in the mail today, Daddy,” she begged.
“Of course, Darling. Bartleby will deliver the letter immediately,” answered her father. “What did you ask for?”
The Princess knew that if she told him what she wanted, he would not send the letter. This is because the King wanted Anena to marry Sid, a Prince from the local Swamp Village. But Princess Anena did not want to marry Sid because she did not love him. Sid was handsome, but he was not nice to the people who lived in his village. Being handsome or pretty is not the most important thing. His castle was big and very pretty, but when he built it, he knocked down the houses of many of the people who lived in his village. Also, the energy costs were absurd. But the King wanted Princess Anena to marry Sid so that his kingdom could become even bigger.
“It’s a secret, Daddy,” she told him.
This made the King suspicious. When he delivered the letter to his messenger, Bartleby, he told him he was worried.
“I am afraid that my daughter may be asking for something from Santa that will hurt my kingdom,” said the King. “I command you to open this letter and read what she is asking for.”
But Bartleby was in love with Princess Anena. He did not want to make her sad.
“I would prefer not to,” he told the King.
“As King of Mahtog, I order you to open this letter,” said the King.
But Bartleby would not open the letter.
“I would prefer not to,” is all he would tell the King.
The King became upset and told Bartleby to leave his castle and never return.
“If I ever see you in my castle again, I will put you in prison!” said the King. “After a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State, of course. Which would also cost a lot of money after all of the appeals, now that I think about it. But you will be in jail FOREVER!”
The King stormed out of the room. He stopped in the hall, just outside of the door, and ripped open the envelope with his daughter’s letter to Santa Claus inside.
“What?!” he exclaimed. “She wants a Prince?! I will not allow this! I need to stop Christmas from happening!”
But as the King said these words out loud, the door to Bartleby’s room was open a little bit. He heard everything. This was a very convenient plot twist for our story. That, children, is called “breaking the fourth wall.”
Bartleby knew he had to help. Even though he loved the Princess, he did not want the King to stop her from being happy. He would do anything to make her happy. He also could not allow the King to take Christmas away from all of the boys and girls of his kingdom. Bartleby decided to go to the North Pole to warn Santa Claus about what was happening. But he needed to be fast.
In the meantime, the King started his plan to stop Christmas from happening. He ordered that every chimney in Mahtog be covered so that Santa Claus could not enter any child’s house. The village was very sad, but since he was their King, they had to listen.
Princess Anena was still in her bedroom the entire time, and her father did not tell her about his plans to destroy Christmas. If she did not know that Santa Claus could not come, then the King could bring her a small, inexpensive gift and pretend it was from Santa.
Bartleby arrived at the North Pole as quickly as he could. His airplane was delayed due to inclement weather, and the flight attendant had tried to charge him for water that he had believed to be free, but, for all intents and purposes, these minor details are irrelevant.
He found a telephone and immediately called Santa’s Workshop. Dennis, the talkative elf, answered the phone.
“It’s a wonderful day in the North Pole and we are happily preparing all of the toys for Christmas. If you are calling with a Christmas list for Santa Claus, press one. If you are interested in a job at Santa’s Workshop, press two. If you are wondering about our other locations, press three. Para español, - ”
Bartleby interrupted and asked whom he was talking to.
“Why, this is Dennis speaking, how can I help you?” he said.
Bartleby told Dennis about his mission. He told Dennis that the King of Mahtog was trying to stop Christmas from happening. Dennis became very sad.
“This is not good,” said Dennis, who had a way of stating the obvious with a sense of discovery. “I can help you. Do not hang up the phone. Here is what I am going to do. I am going to put the phone on the table. Then I am going to walk out of the door of the room I am in. After that, I am going to walk into Santa’s bedroom, where he is resting for his journey on Christmas Eve. Then – ”
Bartleby told Dennis to stop talking on the phone and please tell Santa Claus that Bartleby would arrive at the Workshop in a short while.
Bartleby ran as fast as his little legs could take him until he reached Santa’s Workshop. He opened the door and entered a room full of more toys than he could ever imagine. He could see every happy color in the world, every elf was working very hard and smiling, all of the toys were making happy noises, and happy Christmas music was playing in the room on a happy radio.
Bartleby found Santa Claus’s office and knocked three times.
“Come inside,” he heard the jolliest of all jolly voices say.
Bartleby walked inside and saw the happiest, nicest, jolliest man he had ever seen. It was Santa Claus.
“Ho, ho, ho!” said Santa Claus. “Dennis has told me about the bad things happening in your village!”
Bartleby told Santa Claus how the King had closed every chimney in Mahtog so that Santa could not deliver toys to all of the boys and girls. He also told Santa that Princess Anena wanted a Prince for Christmas, and that her father wanted her to marry Sid. He explained that he loved Princess Anena, but it was more important for her to be happy.
Santa Claus chuckled the jolliest chuckle of all jolly chuckles.
“Ho, ho, ho!” he exclaimed. “But Bartleby, don’t you see? There is no need for me to save the Princess. You are a Prince! You can save the Princess and marry her!”
Bartleby was surprised. He did not know he was a Prince. He asked what he was the Prince of.
“You are not the Prince of any kingdom,” said Santa Claus. “You do not have to live in a castle to be a Prince. Everyone can become a Prince when they find a Princess they love. TRUE LOVE can make anything possible!”
Bartleby was very happy. He told Santa Claus that he would return to Mohtag and save Princess Anena.
But, what about the rest of the village? Surely Bartleby could not fix all of the chimneys in Mahtog.
“I’ll just go in the front doors,” said Santa Claus. “I do not understand where this myth about ‘chimneys’ came from. I don’t even fit in most chimneys. Also, many children do not have chimneys. I usually just go in doors, it’s a lot more comfortable. And also a lot more normal.”
Bartleby hugged Santa Claus and thanked him.
Now there was a new problem: how was Bartleby going to get back to the village in time to save Christmas? The airport was closed and there were no other people in sight to help him. Bartleby was almost about to cry, when a giant hand reached out of the sky and picked him up. It carried him all the way to Mahtog. Bartleby was afraid the entire time, but he was not about to argue with outrageously opportune deus ex machina.
When he arrived in Mahtog, he thanked the author of the story, and then noticed that the King made a sign that said the wedding between the Princess Anena and Prince Sid was today. Bartleby had to hurry.
He ran to the front of the chapel and saw the Princess standing next to Sid. She was sad. Bartleby ran to the front of the room and kneeled in front of the Princess.
Everyone in the audience gasped audibly.
“What is this?!” shouted the King, very mad.
“I am here to tell Princess Anena that I love her and would like to marry her,” said Bartleby, only the third direct quote from him since the beginning of our story.
Everyone in the audience gasped audibly.
“But you are not a Prince! You cannot marry her!”
“But I am a Prince,” said Bartleby.
Everyone in the audience gasped audibly.
“Who told you that?!” asked the King.
“Santa Claus told me,” said Bartleby with pride.
The King was enraged. He could not believe what he was hearing. He did not know what to say. Furthermore, he felt that jolly men who lived thousands of miles away had no rational basis for appointing royalty.
“Daddy,” said the Princess. “I want to marry Bartleby. He is my Prince. And I love him.”
When the King heard his daughter say this to him, he realized how unfair he had treated her the entire story. He loved his daughter very much. He wanted for her to be happy.
“Do you two really love each other?” asked the King.
“Yes, we do,” they both said at the exact same time.
“Then you shall have your Prince for Christmas,” said the King. “And if we do this right now, it will save us money on the catering costs, seeing as how they’ve already been paid.”
Everyone at the wedding jumped for joy.
“Hooray!!!” they shouted. A slow-clap started, and after a couple of seconds, every person at the wedding was cheering for the newly married couple. Even Prince Sid was cheering. It turns out that he did not want to get married to Princess Anena after all.
“Not my thing,” he said afterward, confirming many suspicions.
Prince Bartleby kissed Princess Anena and they were officially husband and wife.
True love had won again, just like it always does.
“Oh no!” shouted the King. “But I’ve already closed up all of the chimneys and ruined Christmas! I feel horrible!”
“It’s okay!” shouted Bartleby to everyone at the wedding, as he winked and tossed a package of Mentos breath mints to the King. “Apparently, Santa Claus prefers to use front doors!”
“Santa uses doors!” everyone shouted at the same time in celebration.
“Christmas will still happen this year!” announced the King.
Hooray!!! The King had proven that his love for his daughter is more important than his kingdom! The Princess had her Prince! Bartleby saved Christmas!
“Merry Christmas, Princess Anena, I love you,” said Bartleby.
“I love you, too,” said Anena.
And they all lived happily ever after.