Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there lived a beautiful princess with a fondness for good grammar, and an unsuitable prince who was devilishly good at scrabble.
One day the unsuitable prince told the princess he was in love with her. He seemed rather perplexed though, so while he had a little think about it he put the princess in a well for safekeeping.
The well was very deep and dark and the princess was rather shocked. She was in love with the unsuitable prince too, but hadn’t been expecting him to feel the same, and she certainly hadn’t been expecting the well. The princess lived quietly in the well for a while. There wasn’t much to eat, but suddenly she wasn’t very hungry, and managed quite well on a diet of wine and the occasional Babybel. Sometimes she thought about escaping, but the light at the top of the well seemed so far away, and the walls were slippery and difficult to climb.
Sometimes the unsuitable prince came to look at the princess, and when his face appeared silhouetted at the top of the well the princess would feel briefly elated, and imagine he was going to climb in and carry her out. Sometimes he would call down to her. “You know I love you don’t you?”
“Yes,” the princess would reply, but she wasn’t really sure.
Sometimes the princess would shout back up the well at him, but by the time her voice got to the top of the well it sounded rather small and pathetic. “Why have you put me here? I want to get out. I’m scared!”
“Don’t worry,” the prince would say, “being in love is supposed to be scary.” And then he would go away again and the princess would find herself doubled over and breathless, as though someone had kicked her hard in the stomach.
One day the unsuitable prince leaned right into the well. ‘Princess,” he said ‘”what am I going to do with you? You are such a fickle girl.”
The princess wasn’t sure what to say.
“If I let you out, how will I know for sure that you will stay near me and not ever run away?”
“You won’t,” answered the princess truthfully.
The unsuitable prince considered this, and then, deciding it wasn’t worth the risk, he put the lid on the well and walked away.
Well the princess was rather miffed about this, and wondered why the prince had bothered to put her in the well in the first place. For some time she wailed and banged her fists on the walls of the well, hoping the prince would hear her and come back.
Eventually she remembered she’d had her phone with her the whole time, and she called some friends, who brought ropes and ladders and sandwiches and words of comfort, and helped her to get out of the well and readjust to the brightness. She looked around for the prince, but he was gone, and sometimes she had to stop herself jumping back into the dark.
Mostly the princess tries not to think about the prince any more. But sometimes, if she has a lunch date with someone new the next day for instance, she thinks about being in the well and wonders if maybe the prince was right, if she is just a fickle girl, and if there will be someone one day who thinks it’s worth the risk.