Bedtime storytelling is always an adventure, but now it’s a series of adventures!
I don’t actually remember how it all started, but Lucas wanted a bedtime story. He wanted a knight, and a princess. I tried to get him to make up the story, and to be fair I think it’s pretty collaborative! I also thought it was a good opportunity to break up some stereotypes. And now the story has run away from me, oh dear.
Lucas picked the names, Princess Sammy and Knight Sooka. I told him that Princess Sammy and Knight Sooka were best friends, because hello let’s normalize friendships and not turn everything into a fairy tale romance! Anyway, she lived in a castle, and she was a very busy princess. She was always checking on the people in the village, making sure they had enough food, and they were safe when there were storms.
The Princess, the Knight and the Troll
One day, Princess Sammy and Knight Sooka were in the castle. She was practicing her magic, and he was probably polishing his armor.
Suddenly, someone came from the village, shrieking. There was a troll, and it was destroying houses and stealing food!
Hurriedly, were got on their horses, Bob and Steve, and rode to the village. There, they saw the troll, and indeed it was destroying houses and stealing food! The villagers ran from the rampaging troll, screaming.
Knight Sooka pulled out his sword, ready to do battle. But Princess Sammy told him, “Wait! Let’s talk to the troll first.”
The princess and the knight approached the troll slowly, cautiously. “Uhm, excuse me! Mr Troll! Or Ms? Uhm, hello?” Princess Sammy called.
The troll turned and looked at Princess Sammy. “WHAT”
“Oh hi! We were just wondering, uhm, why are you destroying houses and stealing food?” she asked in the most polite way she could possibly manage.
“HUNGRY!” the troll said.
Princess Sammy and Knight Sooka looked at each other. They realized it was a good thing that Knight Sooka didn’t try to hurt the troll. The troll was just hungry!
“Can we just give you some food? So you don’t have to destroy people’s houses?” Princess Sammy asked.
“Great! Could you, uhm, sit down, maybe in the village square? So you don’t destroy anything else, or hurt anyone else?”
The troll put down the wall they were holding, and luckily nobody got hurt! With heavy footsteps, they followed Princess Sammy and Knight Sooka to the village square. “Sit down here!” Princess Sammy said, pointing to the middle of the square, where there were no people or horses or wagons that might be crushed. Knight Sooka went around the village, asking people to bring food to the square.
As the troll was eating, Princess Sammy asked, “So, where do you live? Don’t you have any food?”
“FOREST. NO FOOD,” the troll said.
“Can we help you grow food? So that you don’t have to steal from other people?” Princess Sammy asked.
The troll appeared to pause. They seemed surprised by the idea.
“Hasn’t anybody offered to help you grow your own food before?” Princess Sammy asked. The troll shook their head. Princess Sammy wasn’t sure, but she thought the troll seemed sad.
Princess Sammy went on with her suggestion. “Well, how about this? After you eat, we’ll go to the forest, we’ll take a look at the area where you live, and see what you can grow. Maybe you can even grow stuff that the villagers would like, and you can trade for the stuff you can’t grow yourself! Does that sound like a good idea?”
The troll smiled. It seemed like a good idea! So while the troll ate, Knight Sooka and some villagers put some tools, some seeds and a few other things in a wagon. Some of the villagers even volunteered to come along to the forest, to help build a vegetable garden for the troll.
Finally, the troll was done eating. They got up, and Princess Sammy decided to ask, “Wait, what’s your name?”
The troll seemed surprised. “TROLLY” they said. (Lucas picked that name, OK?)
“Okay, Trolly! Let’s go to the forest and build your vegetable garden!” Princess Sammy said. So she and Trolly, with Knight Sooka and some villagers, went to the forest. They saw Trolly’s hut and fixed it up, patching the holes in the roof and making sure there was clean hay inside. They cleared the area around the hut, and set up some fences, and set up a nice little vegetable garden for Trolly.
The villagers taught Trolly how to take care of the vegetables, and promised to visit them every few days to check on the garden. Trolly was so happy that they showed the villagers the parts of the forest where some nice herbs grew, and promised to collect them for the villagers.
But of course, that wasn’t really the end of Princess Sammy’s stories.
“Mommy, Princess Sammy story!”
Once in a while, Lucas will ask for a new Princess Sammy story. Sometimes it’s a struggle to think of something new. Sometimes I plan a story in my head, and let him take it in all directions. Sometimes I think of a fairy tale or a story he’s already familiar with, and I turn it upside down. As much as possible, I get Lucas to be part of the storytelling, and so it becomes a little bit of a Choose Your Own Adventure. He picks names here and there, or tries to guess what happens next.
Each story takes several nights, and honestly sometimes I forget where the story is supposed to go. But Lucas seems to like it, and frankly I do too!