Houghton Mifflin English

Story

Castle

The Rescue of the Three Princesses

By Angelica L.

Once upon a time, there lived a very old king. His wife had died, and he was raising a very handsome young prince. The prince couldn't wait to become king. On a chilly night, the king lay in his bed. The young prince came in the dark room and knelt before his father's bed. “Father,” said the prince, “when shall I become king?”

“Now!” exclaimed the king weakly. “But first you must find a Queen!”

The next morning the prince looked out into the forest. He could see a young fellow coming up the trail and had an idea. He called to his servants. He told them to transport all the animals from the zoo to the farming grounds of the little Scaredy Boy. Scaredy Boy lived in a cottage near the castle. He got his name because he was scared of everything.

When Scaredy Boy got home, he saw a shocking sight. Squirrels and monkeys sat on the roof of the cottage, and bears and lions were sleeping in front of the door. Little Scaredy Boy rushed to the side of the cottage. The only thing he wasn't afraid of was his dog, Chestnut. He pulled the small dog out the window. Then he thought, “Who would do such a thing? Who is cruel to me?” He looked up towards the castle. “The prince!” he shouted aloud and hurried off with Chestnut trailing behind him.

When they reached the door to the castle, Scaredy Boy knocked three times (that meant he lived close by). The door opened, and he quickly scurried inside. He looked around the great ballroom and hurried up two flights of stairs. He entered a small room and walked up to the prince. “Great prince, how come you have sent animals to my cottage?”

The prince didn't answer his question but said, “You must go on a quest for me. Retrieve me a princess from Cuatro Cave. Three princesses await you!” The prince handed Scaredy Boy three water bottles, a sword, a magic lamp, and a map. “Go fetch me my princess!” screamed the prince. “Don't wait around!”

“But what's in it for me?” Scaredy Boy said quietly.

“You may have your cottage,” said the prince and waved his hand for Scaredy Boy to leave. When Scaredy Boy was outside, he didn't go home. He took the path to Cuatro Cave.

The next morning he looked at the map. He had seemed to have made a wrong turn. Scaredy Boy got very frustrated and sat down to think, drumming his fingers on the magic lamp. Smoke started to pour out, and a large genie appeared. “Do you need help? The cave is right over there!” he said, pointing to a corner. The genie took the sword. He started chopping grass and twigs away. There stood a cave. The genie disappeared in three puffs of smoke.

Scaredy Boy picked up his sword and walked into the cave. He walked through damp, muddy chambers but stopped suddenly. He had heard a snoring sound. There he saw an oversized dragon about twenty-four feet long and ten stories high. Scaredy Boy had to hold in a scream as he quietly tiptoed past the dragon. He climbed over the dragon's long tail and went up three long staircases. It was so dark that he tripped over the last step. His water was open, and it splashed all over the wall. He picked up the water bottle quickly when he saw that the wall was melting away to reveal a dimly lit chamber with candles every few feet.

Scaredy Boy entered and looked around. He saw a bed and walked over to it. He looked down, and he saw three princesses, all sleeping. He took out the rest of his water and splashed it onto them. The princesses rubbed their eyes and got out of bed.

The first princess spoke. “We are the three princesses,” she said in her sweet voice. “My name is princess Buttercup.”

“My name is princess Sunshine,” said the second.

“My name is princess Blossom,” said the third shyly. “Who are you?”

“I'm Scaredy Boy, here to help you!” he said shyly, blushing a little. “We'd better hurry because the prince is awaiting you!” He started off out of the chamber.

Scaredy Boy had a quick idea how to escape. He rubbed the lamp, and in the same puffs of smoke came the genie. Scaredy Boy spoke right up. “Genie can you change Chestnut into a horse?” he asked quickly.

“Sure thing,” said the genie. He waved his arms and said some words. Then he made a lot of smoke. When the smoke cleared, he was gone, but Chestnut was a horse. Scaredy Boy looked Chestnut over and discovered that Genie had given him wings.

Scaredy Boy helped the princesses onto Chestnut. Chestnut trotted down the staircases and quietly galloped past the dragon's head but didn't notice the water on the floor. Chestnut slipped and the dragon's eyes flashed open. Chestnut was spinning so fast his wings spread and he started to fly! He flew out of the dark cave. He flew past a forest, and when Scaredy Boy looked down, he could see his cottage. Chestnut flew on until the castle was in sight. Then Scaredy Boy pulled on Chestnut's reins. They landed by the door, and the four entered the castle.

Scaredy Boy hurried into the prince's room. “I have the princesses!” Scaredy Boy said triumphantly. “Indeed,” said the prince, looking them over. “Okay, come here, my princesses,” said the prince, but the princesses didn't come. The prince told the servants to clear the animals from Scaredy Boy's cottage. But the princesses didn't come.

“We shall stay with our hero,” spoke up Princess Blossom, and they left the castle.

Soon after, Princess Blossom married Scaredy Boy, and Princess Sunshine and Princess Buttercup became their maids. They worked hard to raise young children and fix up the farm, and they lived happily ever after!

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