Sunday, March 2, 2014

A New Princess Prologue: Cinderella Ponders

The tall, beautiful slender blonde woman tapped the end of her pencil against her teeth and her perfect brows creased together in a frown as she studied the official looking sheaf of papers spread out in front of her on her imposing desk.

When Cinderella had originally volunteered for the position of Headmistress at DISNEY Academy at the request of the school’s founder, the Princesses benevolent mentor and benefactor Uncle Walt, she had not fully realized what she was letting herself in for. The fact that she was the only applicant for the job should have tipped her off really.

Of the available Princesses at the time Cinderella was the best candidate even if her two fellow Princesses had applied.

Why didn’t they apply? Being permanently fourteen years old Snow White didn’t have the emotional or physical maturity to take on the role, it didn’t help that every other member of The Academy, including the students, were older than her. You could never know exactly what the girl was thinking under that sweet, but strangely blank expression, either.

Like Cinderella, Aurora was tall, blonde and beautiful, she was also the same age, but being raised in the forest and home schooled by her three well meaning, but naïve aunts had not left her well prepared for the realities of the world. She also had a tendency to fall into a deep sleep at any time and if it went on for too long they had to call Prince Phillip to revive her with a kiss.

Cinderella had run a household prior to meeting Charming at the ball and been responsible for looking after her stepmother and her two stepsisters, plus a hard working ethic had been instilled into the girl during those years of drudgery.

Running a household, even one on a shoestring budget the way the Tremaine house had been, did not have the challenges that came with being the Headmistress of a school full of Princesses, though.

Each Princess came with her own issues. Snow was very different, she wandered around the castle and the grounds in some sort of a daze, often accompanied by small woodland animals and birds, who seemed to gravitate to the young sweet natured Princess, she went to class when she felt like it and you could never tell when you may bump into her. Generally she was quiet, if a little unnerving, but she was still in therapy after the incident with Rapunzel and the apple pie that the long-haired, blonde girl had baked as a sort of thank you for being accepted at The Academy. Cinderella did have to admit that the dwarfs were useful, though. She’d be completely snowed under by paperwork if it weren’t for Doc.

Aurora had a tendency to fall asleep mid sentence for no discernible reason. If she was alone or in her room in the castle it was fine, but anywhere else could and had been problematical. She did it once while walking along the drawbridge and was sound asleep when she hit the water. Neither of the dwarfs on guard duty could swim, and as one of them was Sleepy, it wouldn’t have helped anyway. Sneezy couldn’t stop sneezing long enough to raise the alarm. Fortunately Ariel had been taking her afternoon swim at the time and prevented Aurora from drowning.

For the longest time they had difficulty attracting new entrants. It still wasn’t advisable to mention Aurora’s protégé Eilonwy around  the narcoleptic Princess.

Being a mermaid, Ariel had brought with her a whole host of new challenges. Cinderella’s fairy godmother had provided them with a moat that Ariel could swim in, but they’d had to change the water to accommodate the aquatic Princess, and when Tiana had moved in and brought with her an alligator named Louis they had to rehouse Ariel’s friend Flounder in a bowl in Ariel’s room (which also contained a giant size fishbowl that the girl mermaid slept in) until the trumpet playing amphibian could be persuaded not to simply eat anything he found in the moat.

It was hard to prise Bell out of the library, which wasn’t in itself a real problem, although she would forget to eat if you let her. A small cry of “Oh oh!” came from a high shelf. Cinderella’s eyes widened, and she moved quickly to grab a falling crystal vase before it hit the floor and shattered. The girl placed the fragile ornament on a table closer to the ground and then shouted, “Jacques! Gus!”

Two mice appeared on the Headmistress’ desk. One was tall and skinny and dressed in a red shirt and matching jacket as well as cap, the other was shorter and stouter, he wore a tight yellow shirt and a green cap in the same style as his fellow mouse.

The skinny mouse grinned and then pointed at the shorter one. Gus wasn’t normally as quick on the uptake as Jacques and it took him a moment to realize that he was being accused of something, once he did he started pointing vociferously at Jacques.

“I don’t care which one of you did it,” Cinderella told them sternly, and their faces fell. “You were probably in it together. Now just sit and be quiet or I’ll tell Belle who has been nibbling on her books.”

The mice’s eyes widened.

“Yes, I will,” Cinderella promised. “Sit, stay!”

The blonde turned her attention back to her papers, muttering, “As if I don’t have enough to deal with!”

Jasmine was a good, socially progressive Princess, but she had a tendency to think the rules didn’t always apply to her and it was hard to tell a Genie with a flying carpet that he couldn’t whisk the girl away for a dinner date at some exotic location with Aladdin because it didn’t set a good example. Then of course there was the panic that her pet tiger Rajah put Belle’s horse Phillipe into until the faithful steed found out that the tiger was in fact a vegetarian.

No matter what Cinderella did she couldn’t get Pocahontas to sleep inside, the forest raised Princess preferred a tent or wigwam that she had pitched in the woods that surrounded the castle. Somehow her friend, the raccoon Meeko, didn’t seem to have any issues with going inside and was continually trying to cadge food off the Princesses. Snow actually encouraged it! Tiana had threatened to make a gumbo with a surprise ingredient (the surprise being that Meeko was in it!) if he didn’t stop finding his way into the kitchen.

Mulan could be rather standoffish, and her dragon Mushu was almost too gregarious. However Mulan was good at teaching the art of war to the girls and like it or not it was a lesson that Princesses needed.

Tiana had been a welcome addition because she could cook. Cinderella, Snow White and Belle all knew their way around a kitchen, but Cinderella often didn’t have time, Snow White only ever cooked using a cauldron and wouldn’t even consider making pastry ever since the near death experience with the apple pie. Belle was too used to cooking for just herself. The less said about the dwarfs culinary skills or lack thereof, the better. Tiana on the other hand loved cooking for lots of people and passing her skills on. She could sometimes be a bit touchy regarding criticism however.

The three newest Princesses all had their own issues. With Rapunzel it all involved hair. Cinderella had never really considered how long it took to wash and dry seventy feet of hair. Merida had a temper and had threatened to shoot Tiana more than once, that’s when she wasn’t stamping her feet and saying she’d run away or find a spell to turn anyone she didn’t like into a bear. Anna of Arendelle was a sweet girl, but her snowman friend Olaf, who was only able to survive at The Academy because Elsa Queen of Arendelle (taking her Princess course by correspondence, ferried to and fro by the fairies from nearby Fairy Hollow due to an arrangement with former student and leading Fairy Hollow resident Tinkerbell) was able to give him a personal snow flurry. He was a good natured chap, but he did leave puddles of melted snow wherever he went from his flurry. It was still too early to tell exactly what other challenges Anna brought. As both she and Rapunzel had spent many years being sheltered from the world they had bonded over that.

Cinderella sighed and then she looked over the application from the new Princess, Little Red Riding Hood of the Dark Wood and wondered what she would be like.

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