Once upon a time there was a King and a Queen who loved each other with all their hearts and wanted to have a child. Soon they had the great joy of welcoming into the world a very pretty little girl with the lovely name of Angela.
Everybody cherished the new princess. Each dress she wore was even prettier than the last, her silky hair was carefully brushed every day, and her polished shoes gleamed with a thousand glints of light. No sooner had she wished for something than her slightest desire was satisfied, before she had scarcely thought about it.
When the time came for her to learn to read, the King and Queen decided to send her to the school in the nearest village. They wanted her to get to know some children of her own age and have a little discipline in her life. Angela was in fact a solitary and moody child, often temperamental and very quick to sulk! When she met with the slightest irritation, she would lower her head and shrug her shoulders, and then it was impossible to speak to her for several days.
The village schoolchildren were very proud to welcome such an important person into their class. A princess! Very impressed, they patiently accepted her moodiness and did everything they could to make her happy while she was with them. They carefully chose games that would not wrinkle her beautiful dresses or dirty her polished shoes. Unfortunately, their kindness did not seem to touch Angela’s heart, for she continued to sulk just as much as before, spending whole days alone in her corner, her brow furrowed and her head slumped. No one dared speak to her anymore.
One lovely spring morning, a new pupil appeared in the class. Johnny was a happy, energetic boy who was great at ball games. The other children took to him straightaway. Angela continued to sulk. Intrigued, Johnny went up to her and said gently, “Hello, my name’s Johnny, what’s yours?”
The only response she gave was turning her back to him.
“She’s been sulking for months,” explained another pupil. “She‘s the sulky princess!”
Johnny was not the type of boy to be impressed by a princess, however sulky she was. But how could he get her to come out of her corner?
“Will you come and play dodgeball with us?” he asked directly, but did not get a reply.
“Please,” he persisted, “come and play!”
“Why?” Angela deigned to reply, still with her back to him.
“Because I need you on my team.”
Angela looked him straight in the eye. To everyone’s surprise, she followed him onto the playground and took her place in the middle of the astonished pupils.
For a long time, the match could have gone either way. The princess spared no effort, showing considerable skill and winning points for her team, who finally won the game. Her fellow team members congratulated her warmly.
That evening, Angela arrived back at the castle in a pitiful state. Her hair was tangled, her dress was filthy and her polished shoes had lost their shine but… she was smiling!
From that day onwards, the King and Queen became used to seeing their daughter come home from school covered in mud, sometimes with her knees scraped but always with a beaming expression on her face. They were delighted by her new-found happiness.
The little princess, who had been too spoiled and pampered, was now transformed. Princess Angela just wanted to be Angela.
They decided to allow her to wear whatever she thought best - jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. They even allowed her to cut her long hair short.
These days, while waiting to become Queen, Angela runs to school every morning, impatient to meet up with her friends.
Translated by Wendy Cross