The Tale of the Lonely King and the Moon White Cat
by R. LaFille
Once upon a time there was a King with seven sons and one daughter. Now the king had grown old with age and was lonely, for his wife had long since passed away, so he called to him his sons and his daughter and he said to them, “Soon, I must choose an heir, but I wish first to take me a wife, for while I miss your mother, the Queen, dearly, an old man cannot live the rest of his life alone. The one of you to bring back a lady suitable for me to marry, I shall give you my throne. I grant you six months to present each to me a lady and myself six months to pick the one I will marry. The one who presents the Lady whom I choose, I shall give my throne.” So saying, he sent his sons and daughter away and returned to his duties as King.
Immediately the seven sons called for their finest clothes and their grandest, most impressive horse, and as much gold as they could carry upon their person, and they set out, each in a different direction: North, South, East and West as well as the non-cardinal directions except for Southwest, for all knew that the lands of the North were of great cities and regal queens, and that the Eastern lands were rich with silks and spices, while in the South dwelt ladies of dark and exotic tastes, and in the West was the ocean and tropical island nations. But to the Southwest was only more of their own country, a land of farmland and farmers, of farmers’ sons and farmers’ daughters and little else.
Now the King’s daughter had been born upon her mother’s deathbed and so had known only her father her whole life, she who had laid her dark silken head on his knee and told to him all the wondrous tales from the books her nurse had read her and later the ones she had made up in her own head, for she loved her father dearly, and she worried that her brothers could not possibly know her father nearly as well as she nor find him a woman worthy of his affections.
Knowing her father would not approve of her setting out on her own—for he also guarded her dearly—she stole the clothes of a serving woman off the drying lines in the washroom, dressed herself in this simple habit, and left the castle unnoticed, traveling on foot and carrying nothing but a purse with a few pennies for water and bread.