A Note to Parents: 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: https://childrengrowing.com/2020/03/23/the-secret-prince-chapter-five-rain-rain-go-away/
You will find a link to the next chapter at the end of each chapter.
Ronduin listened carefully. He drew the curtains from his bed and stuck his head out and listened again. Had the rain stopped while he slept? Stepping to the window, he drew back the curtain and saw misty rain falling. The rain had not stopped, but this soft rain under a brighter sky gave Ronduin hope that the storm was finally coming to an end.
He heard a knock at his door and, when he opened it, Ronduin was surprised to see that Agnes stood there holding a tray upon which sat a steaming bowl of porridge. “Good morning,” she said. “Your parents were up early and went right to work without eating. Your father asks that you find him soon,” she said. “He has a job for you.”
Ronduin ate his porridge and dressed as fast as he ever had. When he stepped into the hallway, he found it to be bustling with workers getting ready to clamber onto the roof to repair the leaks.
‘Good day Ronduin!,” said his father, the King. “Sir Andrew left at dawn to row the boat to the barn. I need you to go to the the top of the turret that has a view of the hill. He is bringing oats and onions and carrots to Roland and he will return with eggs and milk and more. When he arrives at the hill, tell the Queen. You will find her in the new kitchen organizing the food to send to the village. Then go back to the turret. When Sir Andrew is starting back with jugs of milk and baskets of eggs, again go tell the Queen. We hope the rain will stop by then, so we can begin to ferry workers to their homes in the village.”
“Yes, father,” said Ronduin. Then he was off, zigzagging down the hallway, around the corner, weaving through the next hallway and finally arriving at the door to the turret. Up the stairs he bounded and went straight to the window, where he looked out across the newly-formed lake. In the middle of this lake Sir Andrew steadily rowed the green rowboat toward the hill.
At the top of this long hill stood a stately barn. Now, Roland, the keeper of the barn and the animals that lived within it, stepped out and, seeing Sir Andrew, waved and hastened down the hill to meet him. An oak tree stood at the place where the walking path met the lake. Roland waited here for the small boat and, when the boat reached the shore, Sir Andrew threw a rope that Roland caught and tied to the oak tree.
Ronduin’s eyes had focused on the boat reaching the hill, but, now as he looked back up the hill to the barn, he saw that Roland had left the door open so that the cows and the sheep and the chickens could amble out into the misty rain. The grassy hillside slowly filled with creatures nibbling the damp, new grass.
Suddenly, Ronduin remembered, “I’m supposed to tell mother that Sir Andrew arrived at the hill.”
Ronduin flew down two flights of stairs to the second floor where he dodged around piles of furniture and burst into the new kitchen. Breathlessly he announced, “He’s there. Sir Andrew is at the hill with Roland.”
“Just what I wanted to hear,” said his mother while organizing piles of food on the long table. “Please let me know when he is on his way back to the castle and bring me a report on the weather.”
“Yes, mother,” said Ronduin.
He retraced his steps and soon found himself again peering out the turret window.
Roland and Sir Andrew brought jugs and baskets down the hill. They had loaded everything in a push cart. Sir Andrew walked in front of it, bracing the cart so it would not go too fast on the hill. Roland grasped the two handles in the back and also held it back as if he were pulling the reins to slow an energetic horse.
Just as they reached the oak tree the sky darkened with a squall. Thunder boomed. Lightening flashed and torrents of rain fell with such ferocity that, for a moment, Ronduin could not see through the rain to the hill. Then, as suddenly as the rain had begun, it stopped.
Ronduin could feel that this was the end of the three day storm. It was as if the booming and the flashing were meant to announce that it was all over. Ronduin could see clearly now that the rain had stopped. Roland and Sir Andrew were loading the boat. Above them the sky, still thick with clouds, reminded him of sheep shearing day. The clouds were like piles of white fleece against the dark barn floor.
Roland and Sir Andrew loaded the into the boat and then Sir Andrew stepped into it. Roland gave the boat a gentle push and it floated slowly away from the hill. Just as Sir Andrew took hold of the oars and was about to row, a chicken fluttered out of the oak tree and landed in the boat. Ronduin could see that Sir Andrew and Roland found this very funny, for their bodies shook with laughter. They appeared to laugh even harder when a second chicken fluttered out of the tree and joined the first one on the stern of the little boat. Roland shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “good-bye chickens, it’s fine with me if you move to the castle.”
Ronduin could barely take his eyes off Sir Andrew ferrying two feathered passengers. Remembering that his mother wanted a report about the weather, so he looked intently at the sky. That’s when it happened.
A half rainbow, first faint, then bright, then brighter still emerged from the clouds. It was as unusual as the storm itself. For this was not at all like an ordinary rainbow that filled a bright sky after a storm.
This was, instead, a rainbow of power that dared to jump out into a dark and terrible sky. It defied the gloom and the turbulent clouds. It was as if the rainbow arrived to command the storm to stop and the sky to clear.
And so it did.
Discover the portal to Chapter Ten here: https://childrengrowing.com/2020/04/04/the-secret-prince-chapter-ten-two-fine-hens/