Princess Hope grew into a beautiful young lady. The memories of her past slowly faded as she grew closer to the King and Queen and felt protected and loved. When the King found out what had happened those many years ago to his daughter, he immediately set out to find his brother and punish him for the years he stole from the Princess.
The Princess had explained to the King and Queen that the day she was taken, the evil Prince Malevi took her as far away from the land of Everlasting as he could. At one point that day, they stopped at a small little village. As the Prince was feeding his horse, Princess Hope began to look about and see if she could find any way of escape. As she was looking around, her eye fell on something she couldn't quite believe she was seeing. Growing amongst the weeds was the very flower that Prince Malevi had described to her. She was sure of it. She hadn't seen color before, but knew this beauty had to be it. He had called this flower a rose and said that although it is extremely delicate and beautiful, it can grow in harsh conditions and defends itself with the thorns is grows. The Princess carefully picked the flower and placed it in her pocket. That same day, after having been put in peasant clothes, the Princess gave the flower to the kind old man at the tailor shop in hopes that he would be able to see past the lies of the Prince and see she was a Princess.
Shortly after that day, the evil Prince sold Princess Hope to a poor family in a far away village. He told them that her name was Odessa and that she was to be treated as a slave in order to punish her for her misbehavior. The poor family kept her in the pig pen for many years, but one day a Princess was driving through town and saw this poor little girl sleeping in the pen beside the pigs. She was outraged and told the family that she would give them 20 gold shillings for the girl. This Princess was none other than Princess Felicity, sister of the Queen. When the Princess asked the little girl her name, with downcast eyes the little girl told the Princess her name was Odessa. The Princess put her hand on the girls dirt covered chin and told her that Odessa couldn't be her name, because she looked more like a Rose. The little girl looked up and smiled for the first time in years.
Rose was treated very well in the Land of Terra and was one of the most beloved maid servants of the Princess. The day after Rose's 15th birthday, is the day that Queen Pillar arrived. It had been many years since Rose had seen her mother, but one look at the Queen was all it took for Rose. She made sure to try and stay away from the Queen at first because she didn't want to be discovered. Rose felt so much shame for what she had done and for all the trouble and pain that she had caused her family. The evil Prince had told her many times that it was her fault that her parents hurt so badly. He told her that if she hadn't been so bold and stepped out of the kingdom and been laughing loudly, he would have never found her in the woods. He convinced her that her parents would never forgive her for her behavior. He told her that there isn't a King or Queen in the world that would want a dirt covered girl that slept with pigs as their child. He wanted to make sure that Rose would never lift her head proudly again. He hated her because of all she had and he wanted nothing more than to take it all away from her.
Rose couldn't help but grow close with the Queen during her stay. She tried not to look into her eyes for fear of being discovered. The day Princess Felicity told Rose that she would be staying with the Queen in the kingdom of Everlasting, it took all of Roses's strength not to run away and hide. She feared being seen by her father. She couldn't stand the thought of him seeing her as she was and rejecting her. She was determined to keep herself as distant as possible from both of them and to never look them in the eye.
Rose was able to avoid her father, The King, even though sometimes she would see him looking at her with a questioning look in his eyes. He was always very kind to her and never asked her to do anything for him or the Queen that was too much for her. The day that the Queen announced that the Princess had been found and that the King was bringing her home, Rose was both sad and happy. She was happy that her family would finally have the daughter they lost. She didn't know how they found this false Princess or who she was, but that she must have never misbehaved or been too much trouble...and so she deserved the crown. She was sad that someone would forever take her place in her father's heart, but she understood why he wouldn't want a lowly maid servant that had made her home with pigs as a daughter. When the King arrived the night of the celebration she hid behind the thrones because she couldn't bare to have the King and Queen see her crying. But her curiosity got the better of her when she heard the King order everyone to bow before the Princess. She had to see. As she slowly peeked from behind the thrones she was amazed to see the entire kingdom, along with her parents, bowed down facing her. Even through all of the confusion and the many expectant faces, she saw the bright red rose that her father held high above his bowed head. She didn't know where she found the courage and the strength to step up to her Father in faith that he truly loved her and knew her, and gently took the red rose from his hand....but she found her feet moving one in front of the other. As her Father wrapped his arms around her she was so happy, but at the same time scared that once he found out what she had done and remembered all of the pain, that she would be back to sweeping floors and ironing shirts. Her fear quickly left as he placed her crown on her head and carried her throughout the kingdom just like he did on the day she was born. It was his favorite bedtime story to tell...the day of her birth and the celebration in the kingdom that followed. As a little girl she loved hearing about how excited he and Queen Pillar had been to finally have her. She loved hearing how precious she was to him.
After the day of her return the Princess and her Father had many conversations. He told her over and over again how much he loved her and that no matter what she ever did, he would always want her by his side. He told her that he had known before she was ever born that she was someone special, someone that would change the kingdom forever. He explained to her the lies of the evil Prince Malevi and why the Prince was so jealous of the Princesses pure heart and beauty. He told her of the many adventures and battles he had fought trying to find her and bring her back to the kingdom. He explained to her that the love between a father and his daughter is stronger than any bad deed, mistake, or muddy pig pen. He wanted to make sure that she would never regret or hide her boldness and sense of adventure. He wanted to make sure that she never stopped laughing loudly and shining her trusting and pure heart. She and her father would spent their evenings dancing together and laughing when they would step on each others toes. Her mother would laugh along with them. Some days would be hard for the Princess and she would push away from her father, but other days she would crawl into his lap and fall asleep as he told her stories of how he finally tracked down his bother the Prince and threw him in the deepest darkest dungeon never to be heard of again.
Years later, the King decided to throw a ball for his daughter for her 25th birthday. All of the kingdom's in the land of Everlasting were invited. His daughter had just gotten back from three years of traveling throughout the land helping the poor little children. She would teach them to read and write and ride horses. She would tell them how special and loved they are by their King and how it is his job to protect them. She would tell stories of his love and bravery. All of the kingdom knew of Princess Hope and many Princes had come to ask her hand, and yet the King had chosen none of them. His daughter was so precious to him that he refused to give her heart away to any man that wasn't a valiant, courageous, honest, and true man of honor.
On the night of her birthday party the Princess was so excited to be home and see all of her friends and family again. The King and Queen had bought her a beautiful new gown as her gift. It had been years since the Princess had seen that red rose, but almost every night she would try and remember the bright vibrant color. She knew that her dress was beautiful, but wished that she could see all of the colors it had. Her father had told her stories of how the gold and jewels used to have many different colors. It was impossible for her to picture any color but red, but she imagined they were all amazing. She asked her father to lock the rose away in a box so that nothing could damage it or lessen it's color. She wanted to protect it and was therefore willing to go without color in her world. She didn't have to see it everyday in order to know that it existed.
The Princess danced with her friends and her brothers and played games with the children. As the night was drawing to a close her father asked for the final dance. She and her father began to dance together as they had every night after her return. The he surprised her by walking her over to a handsome young Prince named Merit. She had met him many times before when she lived in the Land of Terra and worked as a maid servant. Her father had told her tales of how Prince Merit had joined him in his search for the Princess the very day he was old enough to join the Royal Guard. Princess Hope recalled that whenever he could, he would stop to visit his friend, the Princess Felicity. The first time he met Rose, he smiled and asked her why should would not lift her head to speak to him. Princess Hope remember that day very well. She knew that Prince Merit had been relentlessly looking for the Princess and didn't want to be found by him dressed as a maid servant. Every visit to the Land of Terra he would ask to sit with Rose and tell her stories, hoping that one day he would get her to look at him. He tried every joke he could think of just so that he could see a shy smile slowly form across her face. On the day before Rose was to go with Queen Pillar, Prince Merit rode to Terra to say goodbye to Rose. He asked if he could visit her while she was in Everlasting between his searches. She didn't answer. He told her that if she would look at him, just once, it would give him enough strength to ride for months on end without stopping. She slowly raised her eyes and met his. Just as a smile stretched across his face, she turned and ran.
And now, at the last dance of the night, she finds her father handing her off to dance with Prince Merit. Her father looks at his daughter and says, "You have spent these many nights dancing with me. Trusting in me, believing that I will lead you. Tonight, I give to a man that has loved you since the day he saw you bravely step out of the city gates when no one else was brave enough. That day while your brothers ran to get me, he ran through the woods searching for you. From that day on he has looked for you. I remember the day that he met Rose. He came to me to confess that he felt guilty. He felt guilty for feeling love for someone other than the Princess. He would continue to search but always look forward to the moments he spent with Rose. On the day that I asked all of the Royal Guard to report to welcome the Princess home, I saw him looking forlorn. As we rode toward Everlasting he told me that although he was happy to see the Princess again, he was going to miss having a reason to see Rose. That same day when I revealed that you were in fact the Princess, his heart was overjoyed. All those years his heart had in fact been true. He did love the Princess and he did love Rose...because they were the same person. While you felt shame, he looked upon you and saw a Princess. While you hid yourself from him, he longed to know you more. And now, it is my greatest honor, to give your hand to him."
The palace was filled with tears and cheers! The Prince bowed before her and pulled from behind his back, a single red rose. The Princess was shocked. A smile formed across her lips and she asked him how he had gotten the King to release the flower to him. The Prince replied, "Princess, this is not the same flower that you passed to the old man in the village. The day that your father met with the old man, I was waiting outside the tailor shop anxiously awaiting good news of your whereabouts. As I was nervously pacing I looked up to see something I couldn't quite identify. Like you, I had never seen color before. I walked over to a group of weeds and found this. I wasn't sure what to call it, but I carefully picked it and put it in my pocket. Moments later your father came out and showed me what the old man have given him. He explained to me that it was a flower, called a Rose. It's delicate beauty reminded me of my Rose, so I felt it was a very fitting name for such a thing. Later that evening when your father revealed that my Rose was in fact the Princess, I was overcome. I waited all these years until the time was right to tell your father of my love for you and ask his permission for your hand. I knew that you needed time with your father, in order to heal. I knew that you needed to see how strong and courageous you really are. I knew that I had to wait....and you are very much worth it. So please, Princess Hope, please take this rose as a sign of my undying love for you."
As Princess Hope reached out and held the rose in her hand a gasp fell throughout the crowd. Hope turned around to see what the commotion was about and that is when she saw the most beautiful sight in her whole life. COLOR! All of the color had been restored to the Land of Everlasting. The curse of the jealous Prince Malevi had been broken forever. The Princess and Prince Merit danced beneath the sparking gold ceilings of the castle hall. All of the colors of the rainbow danced throughout the room as the firelight and candles lit up the gorgeous jewels on her ball gown. Love restored the kingdom and restored her heart. Unending love, and Hope everlasting.....
Written by: Princess Kathryn McNemar