Children are facing a time of increased solitude. I am writing the story The Secret Prince to show them a child who faces a similar situation in which he is stuck at home (well, a castle in his case). A flood surrounds the castle and Prince Ronduin can not go to school in the village and cannot run through the woods. How does he pass his time? Can Ronduin be a role model for children today? Can the story help to normalize their experience? I’ve been pleased to learn that a small but growing group of families is reading this to their children as the story grows. My goal is to add a chapter each Monday and Thursday. Perhaps you will join us. If you are new to this story, start here:
You will find a link to the next chapter at the end of each chapter.
Sir Andrew and Ronduin stepped into the rowboat and Sir Andrew poled it into the dining hall where Ronduin stepped out and tied it to the makeshift dock so it wouldn’t float away. Then they walked back over the scaffolding and took turns stepping across the wobbly board that brought them back to the steps.
Climbing upward, Ronduin noticed a pile of carrots and onions at the side of a step.
“Why were these left?” asked Ronduin?
“I’m guessing the person carrying them had full arms and these were loose and they didn’t have a bag or a basket to put them in,” said Sir Andrew. I guess we shouldn’t leave them here because someone could trip on them in the dark.”
“I’ll take them with me,” said Ronduin, who lifted the hem of his shirt to make a pouch and placed the vegetables in it. “I’ll bring them back when the rain stops and we try again.”
Returning to the sitting room, Ronduin placed the onions and carrots on the table and opened his mother’s sewing box. He removed layers of cloth until he found what he was looking for, a stack of folded, plain linen. Ronduin unfolded the cloth and was pleased to discover that it was in three pieces and these pieces could be folded in half to make good-sized bags. Ronduin brought the pieces of cloth and a needle and thread to the window. He sat on the floor, listening to the steady rain and began to sew. Finishing the first bag, he realized that his legs were stiff. He found his jump rope and jumped while counting 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60. After doing this three times, Ronduin wondered it he could figure out how to count by sixes. He jumped and while he spoke the numbers,
1, 2, 3 4, 5 and he shouted SIX.
He continued with
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, with a shout for TWELVE.
Then he continued with
13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and he wasn’t sure whether he should shout for Eighteen or Nineteen.
He stopped and counted on his fingers. He he wiggled each finger as he said the number:
13, 14, 15, 16, 17, When he came to Eighteen he had to use the thumb of his other hand. “That means it’s is Eighteen,” he thought.
Then he realized that he had another bag to make and thought, “I’ll figure out the rest of the numbers tomorrow.”
Ronduin walked to the table and filled one of the bags with the onions and carrots. He was just finishing sewing the second bag when his father, the King, entered the room with Sir Andrew.
“There’s not enough bags for people who are taking home vegetables,” said Ronduin,” so I’m making some.”
“Your mother told me we need more bags,” said the King.
“How many do we need?” asked Ronduin.
“She said just used up the bags we have and eighteen people still need a bag,” said the King.
Ronduin imagined a neat stack of eighteen linen bags.
“Well,” said Ronduin “I’m close to finishing these three. If six more people could sew three bags each, we’ll have enough. That’s if we have enough cloth. The queen’s sewing box doesn’t have any more plain cloth.”
Sir Andrew said, “I can look for plain cloth in the storage room and needles and thread. And I think I can find six people who are no longer working, the crew that was carrying things to the second floor is done. I’m not sure they all know how to sew, however.”
“Send them to the new kitchen after supper,” said the King.
“I can teach them,” said Ronduin.
The King smiled and said, “Now we have a plan.”
Find your way to Chapter Eight through this portal: