The Ridiculous Adventures of an Ardland Princess
By Veronica Buckland

This story is dedicated to my Bailey, Dewey, and Mohammed cousins. You guys are the best!

I would like to thank my grandfather, Eldwin Buckland, who was an extremely creative person and had a gift for writing such strange poetry that it kind of rubbed off on not only me, but on some of his other grand-daughters as well. We all love you grandpa!

And of course the person I owe the most to…I thank God for everything!

Once upon a time…

there lived a young princess named Delilah and she was very much loved by her parents, the king and queen of Ardland. She had eyes the color of rainbows and hair the color of the rain that fell in the spring in Ardland, but that is not important. What is is the adventure that the princess would have on the eve of her 21st birthday which would lead her to the love of her life: the prince of the Woodland Realm, Prince Blaze.

As I was saying, once upon a time there lived a young princess named Delilah and her parents loved her very much. It 'twas the night before her 21st birthday that she was taken by the evil witch HeldaSpeldaFooGooStinkyFeet and taken to her castle on the Isle of Fools where she had been banished two decades ago for kidnapping the chef's daughter, who was returned thanks to the prince of Fargnugget, Prince Figgy Pudding (blame it on his fathers unnatural love for that stuff that his offspring was named after a pudding.)

Back to the story…

"Let me out of here, you hag!" the princess shrieked, banging her fists against the wooden door of her prison. "Sticks and stones, luv, sticks and stones." the witch cackled. The princess gave up after a few minutes and pouted as she slid down the length of the door and sat down with a plop, a frown on her pretty face.
"Oh why didn't I listen to my mother when she said to close those blasted windows!" she sighed unhappily, sorely tempted to bang her head against the wall, but thought the better of it, the walls were made out of stone after all.
You see, what happened was this...
"Goodnight mother."
She bent down and placed a kiss on her mother's still youthful cheek.
"Goodnight dear."
Delilah moved to the other side of the table to give her father a kiss on the cheek and wish him a good night as well. "Goodnight dear one." He replied and she smiled at one of his many pet names for her.

Special Note!
I believe that it is important to let the readers know that Delilah was far from their favorite child, there were six children before her, the oldest, Gwen having just lately married Prince Frogworts (his friend's call him Frank because Frogworts sounds so horrid!) of the kingdom of Lilipad.

After she had done her duty by her parents (i.e. wishing them a good night) she went up to bed and slept soundly for a couple of hours.

She woke to the sound of cackling and a cold draft coming from her open window, the blue-green draperies billowing in the breeze. She bolted out of bed and cried out, "who goes there?" The response was another round of cackling. "Shut up already and show yourself!" she demanded haughtily. You just didn't mess with a princess's beauty rest; it was practically unheard of in Ardland and was punishable by painting the keel.

"Pretty, pretty princess
I come from the Isle of Fools
to capture the Ardland Princess
from her homeland so fair,
to make her a slave
to this witch named Helda
Are we savvy dear princess?
Are we?"

A old woman's voice sang as she cackled in between verses.
"I will not come,
I will not!
You can drown
in chocolate syrup
Or be dragged by a horses stirrup
just get away from me!"
The princess recited with much dismay.
The old hag ignored her and now the princess could see what the witch looked like, and what a sight to see! She looked more like Barbie from this day and age. Plasticized, blonde, and that scary permanent grin that always scares the heck out of the writer of this tale, that's me! And though you may think I have misled you until now, 'tis not true. I just have a very different view of beauty than you.
'Foo' as she was called by her virtually non-existent friends (did she really have any?), pulled out a pouch from her pantaloon pockets and threw some dust in the eyes of the princess, who instantly fell into a deep sleep. Foo walked toward the window and into the room and grabbed the princess by the arm and flew out the window once again, making her way to the Isle of Fools.
And that is what happened.

So back to the present…
The princess leaned her back against the cold stone wall, her chin laid against the palm of her hand, frowning and trying to think of a way out of that place.

And then...

She spotted a small oval window on the opposite side of the tower. When she walked over and looked through it her breath caught in her throat, that's how in awe she was of the view. The window afforded a lovely view of the beach below, waves crashing against the sand. She didn't understand WHY it was called the Isle of Fools when it was just so lovely. Doesn't make sense, huh? It will, in time.

She saw a dolphin wash up on the shore and change shape into a young man with hair the color of very green bushes and eyes the color of night. In short, he was very handsome; at least from the distance (they didn't have glasses in those days.)
"Hello!" she cried out, waving to the young man wearing royal robes of the finest grey silk; a crown of silver on his brow. He looked up at the sound of the princess' voice. "How fair maid did you get up there?" he asked.
"HeldaSpeldaFooGooStinkyFeet, the evil witch, has trapped me in this horrid tower. I must get home for my parents are most likely worried." she answered.
He gave her a skeptical look that she could not see from where she stood near the window. "All you have to do is jump, it's not as high as it looks," he stated. It was her turn to look skeptical. "Are you sure I won't break my neck if I jump?" she asked, worriedly. He shook his head and said brightly, "No, but there's only one way to find out." She frowned in response to his idea.
"Did perchance your parents drop you on your head as a baby?"
He shook his head 'no' once more and said, with much confusion I might add, "No. Why would they do a thing like that? My parents love me." She shook her head and rolled her eyes in exasperation, he was a very strange man.
"You are very strange." She called down from the tower and he just laughed. "What is your name?" she queried. He grinned and answered with a bow, "Blaze, Prince of the Woodland Realm, my lady." She smiled brightly and said, "Really? I'm a princess, Princess Delilah of Ardland."
"Small world we live in Princess, it really is." He answered; a little too happy sounding to be considered 'normal.'
Now she understood why it was the Isle of Fools, it turned perfectly sensible people into people who were junked up on a sugar high (well, by today's standards anyway, I'm not sure what kind of sugars they had back then.)
"I cannot talk to you anymore, you are a fool and I don't want to be contaminated." She stated, not realizing that she herself was turning into a loon.

He frowned. "I am no fool!" he said, glaring up at her. "Prove it!" she shot back. He thought for a moment, then said, "jump from the tower and I will catch you. If I don't, I shall marry you and be always at your side even when you're at your worst."
The young princess had never heard of anything so strange, nor so wonderful, a man that would stay with her forever even on her worst days. Marriage in those days was for keeps until one or the other croaked, unlike today where all you have to say is that you don't like the way your spouse brushes his/her hair or teeth and you can get a divorce. Ah, those were the good old days.

Special Note!
The days I am referring to are the ones where people stayed married, not the ones where they divorce at the drop of a hat. I had to make that clear.

Now back to the story...

"Okay, I shall jump. If you catch me I shall be in your debt. If you don't, you will be in mine." So saying, she did a running jump out the tower window.
She felt herself falling…falling…falling.
She never seemed to hit the ground. She finally landed into the arms of Blaze, whose knees buckled so that the prince and princess landed in the sand. They both had a good laugh.
"It's so lovely to meet you." The princess said with a smile. The prince smiled and said, "We shall be the best of friends and shall escape this very strange place." She nodded her head in agreement and answered, eyes brimming with joy, "yes we shall."

Later on…

The prince was looking very disconcerted. It had been an hour since he had caught her and they still had not come up with a plan…that would actually work.
The princess, who seemed in better spirits, stood twirling as she recited in a lilting voice:

"Oh what shall we do?
We are stuck on the Isle of Fools.
Away from family and away friends,
we were taken by a wicked old woman.
What is her name, you make ask.
I dare you to make a guess."

HeldaSpeldaFooGooStinkyFeet was from the far off land of Moo, just south of the kingdom of Ardland. It is a strange place. Not many of its inhabitants are in their right minds, case in point, Helda.


When Delilah was finished the prince applauded, by now they were both a bit on the loopy side. She curtsied and smiled. "Thank you." "You are most welcome fair Delilah, now sit by me and we shall endeavor to figure a way off this island." The prince said with a smile. She nodded and did his bidding.

Thirty minutes later…

"We could make some sort of harness and I could change into a dolphin and we could be gone from here." He suggested. "But what can we use to make the harness with?" she asked, giving him a questioning look. He thought for another moment and his eyes took in her long whitish-blue hair and smiled. "Fair maid, we can use your hair!" To say she was surprised at the notion would have been an understatement.
"My hair?!" she squeaked, grabbing her hair and bringing it forward over her shoulder. She looked at it for a moment, and worried her bottom lip before coming to a decision. "Okay." She answered, with a brave attempt at a smile. He smiled and took her hand to give it a brief squeeze.

"No worries fair lady, all will be well." Blaze said and gave her an encouraging smile before the two set to work.

Delilah found a sharp object to cut off half of her waist length hair and did the deed. Blaze found some objects on the beach that could be used to connect the hair together. Within two hours they were done making the harness.
"Now, fair princess, we part for awhile." And so-saying, Blaze transformed into a dolphin. Delilah put the makeshift harness on him. She ripped the middle part of her dress, both back and front, and tied the strips around her legs, sort of like pantaloons. She grabbed hold of the reins. "Hold on tight." He said in a clicking, high pitched dolphin-like voice. A minute later they were off.
"No! No! No!" Foo screeched.
She had just come back and found that the princess had escaped. She was NOT happy with this turn of events.
She looked out the small window and saw a bedraggled maiden riding a top what looked like a dolphin on the pink waters known only as the Sea of Endless Laughs (which it wasn't, but uh, for the sake of keeping this story ridiculous…)
"That thrice cursed dolphin, I shall kill them both!" she vowed, all signs of demented joy gone from her face.
She gave three short whistles, six seconds between each, on the third one a black plank appeared in the water. She clapped her hands six times and it turned into a hideous golden shark, she smiled in evil glee.

You shall die
You shall die
Princess of Ardland
Prince of Woodlands
You have ruined my fun
You have ruined my mood
You will pay with your life
You shall die while in the
Sea of Endless Laughs!

She recited and then cackled as she dropped onto the back of the golden shark named Mal-cow. "Go, Mal-cow, kill them!" she shrieked and then they were off.
It was some minutes later when the Princess, her hair plastered to her face by wind and water looked behind her to see Helda on the back of the shark. She let out a startled yelp and said loudly to be heard, "Hurry, the witch is coming!" Blaze didn't look behind him, but trusting the princess he made a clicking sound. Nothing happened for a minute or two and then they came. A group of lovely silver dolphins splashed in and out of the water, heading in their direction to aid them.

"Amazing!" Delilah breathed.

She smiled and kissed the top of her dolphin princes' head and whispered, "Thank you kind prince."
The dolphins went straight past them and headed towards the shark and its evil creator. Helda let out a shriek as the dolphins came from all sides, repeatedly slamming their noses against the shark. The shark couldn't fight them off with Helda on his back so he threw her off and into the water she went. In the end the shark surrendered to its fate sinking into the pink waters deep. "Yes!" Delilah said triumphantly with a whoop of joy as she saw the witch bobbing helplessly in the water. Helda shook her fist in the air and let out a frustrated shriek as she said, "I'll get you someday, both of you!"

A few days later…

Prince Blaze and Princess Delilah arrived on the shores of Ardland after a few days on the Sea of Endless Laughs, which it wasn't incidentally, but that is another story all together. They'd had a few more run-ins with Helda and some of her other creations, and each time they had come out relatively unscathed.

Anyways, back to the story...

Delilah slipped off her dolphin prince's back and stepped onto the beach, looking around at her surroundings with a smile on her face. She may look wet and tired, but she was happy also; she was home at last. Blaze lay in dolphin form in the water for a minute longer, then turned back into his true form, that of a man. The princess had her back to him and so started when he laid a hand against her shoulder. She turned to face him.

"Fair maid, do you remember our bargain?" She smiled and replied, "yes, I do." A hint of a smile came to his lips. "I caught you that day on the sands so I know it isn't necessary for us to marry, but would you consider it?" he asked, sounding somewhat uncertain. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him on the cheek.

"My kind prince," she answered sweetly, "I owe you tenfold, and so my heart is yours." He was about to respond when she brought her finger to his lips and spoke again. "On one condition." He quirked an eyebrow and asked, "and what is that?" She smiled and said, "It is, that if I marry you, we stay together through the good and the bad." He kissed her chastely on the lips and answered, "As you wish my princess, as you wish."
They then made their way to her home and were received with great joy (needless to say the king and queen put together a huge party to celebrate the engagement AND return of their daughter.)

But this is not the end…

A few months later they were married and there was a HUGE party afterwards for the bride and groom. In the years that followed they were happy, though at times they did have their squabbles (no marriage is perfect, yah know.) Most of the fights were over the upbringing of their fifteen children, most of which had their father's gift of shape-shifting. They lived and stayed married for a long, long time before they died in each others arms while they slept.

The End.

A Special Note!
No, their children didn't fight over the throne of Ardland after their death. Their parents wisely chose their wisest son, Prince Faren, who was also their youngest, to rule Ardland after their deaths.