The Princess, the Mirror, and the Lie
nce upon a time there was a beautiful princess. She was charming, cunning, and had a great memory. She was well loved and often sought after to attend parties and other gatherings of sorts. However when she was not entertaining or being entertained she often retreated to her room. There her facade could not fool anyone and she would have to face herself. Her room consisted of a full size bed with a four post bed that stood tall and reached for the ceiling each proudly displaying an array of hats or scarves that she may have worn to a party that her attendance simply was required. There was also her lazy chair in the corner, with a pile of overly read books to the left and the lamp the night maid consistently had to put out at night on the right. Then there·s the rug in the middle of the floor that her father the King got for her from the Middle East. And on the final wall was her dresser. It was a dark cherry oak and if it wasn·t for the daunting mirror that sat on top, than one would think that the dresser with its shine and deep pungent color had every right to be called majestic. However, as the princess was all so very aware, the mirror was there. The mirror, another gift from her father and his many travels was made from a heavy dark antique metal. The swirls of detail were engraved and etched into the thick frame. The presence of this mirror dominated the entire room; anyone who gave it a side glance was lured into its reflective surface in order to admire their own. But that·s why the princess was all too aware of this mirror. Not only because of its beauty and overwhelming presence, but because of the reflection that stared through her when she looked into it. This mirror could not lie. It was not a mirror of trickery and false heirs. There was not a tilt in the pane or a wave in the frame. This mirror was perfect and so true to its make. The reflection was so clear that it looked as if the maiden would but whisper, the reflection would ripple. There she was beautiful as ever, with her not quite brown, not quite blond
hair, hazel eyes and a softness that only royalty could have. She was a princess. At least that·s what she was raised to believe. But, this is not what the mirror told her. The reflection showed her the beautiful clothes that she wore of silk and gold that her father gave her. This is not what the mirror told her. The mirror spoke from beside her, behind her, all around her, whispering the truths the cut through the princess·s world. ´Everything you know you are is a lie.µ Every night the princess would endure the mockery of the mirror on her life, and every night she would be told, ´Everything you know you are is a lie.µ Eventually the princess would attend her parties less and less. There were fewer invitations being sent to her castle and fewer gifts being sent to her door by her suitors. The once charming and beautiful maiden was now becoming sullen and withdrawn. One day after tripping over the king·s favorite hound dog he asked ´what·s the matter with her?µ When the only answer he received from the wisp of a daughter he had left was a hiccup, he sought after more powerful help, the in-house witch«- in training. The in-house witch died unexpectedly during a potion experiment, she had been with the royal family for over two hundred years. She left behind Fran to take over all the witchy duties when she died. Fran had only been in training for twenty years. She hardly knew the difference between a bat·s femur and lizard·s phalange. This did not matter to the King; he wanted to know what was wrong with his daughter and how to make her happy again. Fran called for an early breakfast with the princess. The princess agreed and arrived in her robe and slippers. Fran realized that her hair was browner then she remembered, but continued on with the speech that she had prepared on behalf of the King. ´Dearest Princess now out of bed, All this sorrow we must shed.
For out there yonder the dawn doth break And all the tears you·ve cried could fill a lake.µ The princess looked at Fran and said, ´That was umm nice, but why are we rhyming?µ ´Oh shoot did I rhyme?µ ´Yepµ said the princess. ´Wellµ, said Fran, ´I just did a spell thenµ. ´I really got to start watching when I do that.µ ´A spell? For what?µ exclaimed the worried princess? ´I don·t knowµ, thought Fran. ´See ya!µ Fran ran, well hobbled down the corridor and left the princess alone with her newly bestowed gift. The princess· mood was not lightened and the thunder rolled. The weather progressively went downhill, as did the princess· mood. It seemed as the more time she spent in her room with the mirror that didn·t lie, the sadder she felt. The sadder she felt, the more she would cry and the harder it would rain outside. But she could not pull away from the mirror. She could not tear away from something that was so honest and so unafraid to tell her that she was not perfect. She stared into it for hours pondering who·s voice it was she heard that surrounded her day after day whispering that tormented sentence. Why no one else could tell her this sentence, they proclaim to love her and yet not be able to tell her, ´Everything you know you are is a lieµ. When she would think about this again another flash of lightning would dart across the sky. After about another week of her behavior, the blond King finally gave up the ´this too shall passµ attitude, he called his daughter to his parlor. ´I bought you a puppy!µThe princess in her somber mood stared at her father and asked why she would want a puppy? He responded that those kinds of things had always cheered her up in the past. At the reminding of the past the room suddenly went dark as the clouds began to roll in and cover the first glimpse of the sun in weeks. ´What would make you happy?µ asked the king of his daughter. She answered, ´Only to know who I am.µ ´Ha! You are the princess, daughter of mine, with blonde hair, loved by all, royalty by divine right!µ exclaimed the King. ´No? You do not believe me? We shall have a test, call Fran!µ
Fran was called and she grabbed a few things on her way down; a key, an apple, and a scroll. With each she put an enchantment on them to reveal what the princess wanted to know most. The princess brought the items to the room and asked out loud what she was supposed to do with all of this junk! ´Eat the appleµ, said a familiar voice. ´Who·s thatµ, asked the princess. ´You·ve listened to me every nightµ, said the voice. ´My mirror?µ thought the princess. She turned to look at the mirror and saw that she had already bitten into the apple and was feverishly writing on the scroll. She did not remember grabbing a pen, when she looked closer she realized that she was using they key and her own blood to write. When she looked down at the paper to see what her reflection had written it read: Ask the man that you call Father, ´What is my name?µ She quickly stuffed the items in her pocket and went in search of ´the man that she calls Fatherµ. The princess found him practicing his swing. ´Father, what is my name?µAsked the princess as steadily as possible, realizing that this was the first time ever r that she was never called by her actual given name. Not taking his eye off the ball he answered, ´Isabellaµ between his swing and miss. ´Named after your dearly departed mother, God rest her soulµ. Immediately the voice resounded in her head ´Everything you know you are is a lie!µ Isabella could hold it together no longer. The confusion and hopelessness that she had been feeling had overcome her. Who was she and why did she know that this voice was right and all too familiar in sound. The wind began to howl and whip through the castle windows. The rain picked up, thunder rolled in and the lightening sounded. The storm with in her mind had found its way out. She retreated to her room before it was torn apart, the haunting phrase still replaying in her head. ´Everything you know you are is a lieµ. A thunderous noise crashed around her and suddenly she was in the middle of the storm. Yet, the mirror still stood, unscathed and still as loud as ever. In utter disgust she reached in to her pocket and took out the key and stabbed it deep into the heart of the apple and threw it with all of her might right into the flawless reflection of the tearstained princess.
There was a sudden hush, a silence. Isabella was weak and tired, but her mind had quieted. She looked up to see her shattered reflection, but her missing piece was staring back instead. ´You are the one telling me everything I know I am is a lie?µ exclaimed Isabella. ´You are the voice in the mirror?µ ´Yes my child, I never meant for all of this to happenµ, explained her mother looking around at the rubble remains of the castle. ´I am your mother. I was supposed to raise you and teach you who you are.µ ´That man you call your father took you from me and tried to kill me. The in-house witch put me in the mirror so that I could see how you reflected on yourself as you grew up without me. (Being trapped in a mirror was not how I had pictured it.) The older you got, the more self centered and like him you became. All you knew was that you were a princess and that everybody loved you and gave you expensive things. Did you ever wonder why no one ever called you by your real name or even wonder what your name was? You lost your identity, hair color, and sense of self worth. You were a product. A king-made royal lie. You only knew something was missing in your life after you gave yourself time to sit and reflect. I·m sorry that it tormented you so, but deep down I think you always knew you were different from the life you lead. So now let·s ditch those haughty princes and go find you a knight that values your education and opinions.µ They searched, studied, and lived satisfactorily ever after.