The King with one Daughter

I’ve been writing short, folkloric-feeling or fairy-tale-ish stories for a book I’m working on. The stories are Arab-inspired, people-centered, and hopefully, tell their own tale, even within the context of the larger story.

This one is called The King with One Daughter and features a king who loses his only child despite his best efforts.

A powerful king had one daughter. His wife’s birth of their daughter was hard on her slight body, and after giving birth she found she could never conceive again. But the king was wise enough to know that a daughter was the same as a son and could rule just as well as any man. So he trained his daughter to rule, for when he and the queen died, she would take their place. 

But the king loved his daughter with his every breath, with his soul, his heart, his blood. And he kept her locked in her room, wanting for nothing of the world’s riches. Guards posted at her door each hour of every day and every night, to keep the girl safe. 

No one was allowed in or out of the room without being searched. The room was the highest in the castle, with walls that could not be scales, for they were covered in magical thorned ivy that no man or being could get through. 

But there was a hole in the wall, in the corner of the girl’s room, a thin one only a snake could get through. And one day, a snake slithered in through the hole and up the girl’s bed as she slept. 

Its fang dripped with poison, and as the girl shifted in her sleep and hit the snake with her arm by accident, the snake grew angry. It bit her, and poison coursed through her veins all through the night as the rest of the castle, save her guards, slept. 

When the king and queen awoke, and summoned their day to the morning meal, her maidservants found her blue and cold in her bed. 

The king cursed himself for being so foolish. For in trying to keep his child safe from the world, he failed to keep her safe in his own home. 

Tell me in the comments what you think!

Copyright (C) 2020 by Rania Hanna

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