Fairy tales

Slowly, the animals left the circle surrounding the princess, one by one. The rabbits hopped quietly off into the bushes; the birds flew off without a second look back; the geese quietly sailed off across the bay; the squirrels silently drifted off in search of new adventures.

The princess was alone. Well, not quite. The eagle had come down from his high circling, and had landed on a branch above her.

"What is happening, Eagle? Where have all the animals gone? Why does the bay look grey and foggy?", she addressed him, squinting out at the water.

"Your story is fading, princess. All stories have endings, and since you have chosen to be a story, you must accept that there will be an ending. This may be yours."

"But Eagle... I am not done waiting. I am not done hoping and dreaming. I am not..."

But the princess wasn't quite sure what she was or wasn't, anymore. Her mind was foggy, as the bay. The trees around her were becoming undrawn. The sky was an eerie twilight colour. The princess no longer felt happy or sad; she no longer felt intensely anything. She had no more tears.

"Eagle... what is happening?" she asked quietly, a little afraid.

"Do not worry princess. You will not cease to be. This story is simply ending. You as a princess are fading. Soon the animals will fade, the sky, your willow tree. And then the lines that draw you will slowly erase, and the colours of your dress and your hair and your face will seep into the picture, and the princess will be no more. But YOU - whoever you are - will become something else. Perhaps a song. Perhaps a poem. These things are unknown. If you should meet these animals again, this tree, your prince - they will not know you. You will not know them. Still, do not be afraid."

"But Eagle... I am afraid. I do not want to become undrawn. I do not want this story to be over. I liked these animals, this tree, my prince. I want to wait for more of the story to be written..."

"You can wait as long as you like, princess. You are a fairy tale, and fairy tales may do as they wish."

"Eagle... if this story fades, and I fade with it and become something else, will you fade too?"

"No, princess... I do not fade. I will always be with you, whether you become a poem or a song or the sparkle in someone else's eye. You need not be afraid of that."

The princess heard all these words, and she stared out at the fading bay. Unnoticed by her, a small tendril of wind picked up the small blue feather next to her and blew it out into the water.

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