My editor Louise and I hope that you will enjoy our Christmas gift. The following is a NEW story that I’ve written for the Snuggles children’s bedtime collection. The Cobbler of Tinkershire is a delightful fairy tale. The story is an updated portrayal of the Cinderella story. So, snuggle down in front of the fireplace and read the Cobbler of Tinkershire to your children & grandchildren. You can see more of my work at http://klorraine.com. Merry Christmas from Louise & me. Author, K. Lorraine.
Once upon a time in the land of Tinkershire in the Glenn of Emerald, lived a cobbler and his daughter.
The cobbler was a kind man who saw to it that the people had shoes that met their needs. Queen Eleana and her son, Prince Harry, were his biggest customers. The queen had a foot fetish. But her feet were large, so the cobbler wasn’t able to make anything stylish enough to please her.
Queen Eleana was an ogre, and she was cheap. The queen was a tyrant and disliked throughout the land. The more fiendish she got the uglier she became. She was beyond dreadful and resorted to hide her face behind a veil. And the only people who she allowed to see her face were, Prince Harry and Lizard the Wizard.
So, she sought advice from her Sorcerer, Lizard the Wizard, and asked him to seek out the fairest maiden in the land. His job was to create a powerful hex to steal the maiden’s beauty. This magical spell would rob the good looks from the fairest of maidens. And in return, the queen would no longer look unsightly.
Lizard the wizard set out to find this creature of loveliness. He knocked on every door in the land of Tinkershire. But a mortal with exquisite beauty did not exist. “Knock, knock,” was the noise that his knuckles made as he rapped on the door.
“Good day, Sire Cobble,” Lizard said. “I’ve come to call upon you as ordered by Queen Eleana.”
“Does the queen wish for a new pair of shoes?” Sire Cobbler asked.
“No Sire, the queen mum is looking for a new chambermaid.”
“Everyone in the land of Tinkershire, in the Glenn of Emerald, knows that I am an old man who lives alone. I know of no one who fit the queen’s need.”
Just at that moment, Lizard the Wizard happened to look up to the top of tower above Sire Cobblers store. He thought the curtains shifted, but he could not see who peered out. Sire Cobbler had spent his life protecting his daughter, Graciella, from peering eyes. But shameful men were the only ones who came her way.
Graciella’s beauty was dazzling, and Sire Cobbler feared that his daughter would come to know a man who wanted to hurt her. So, to his shame, he kept her hidden away in the tower of his shop where she spun golden threads on her spinning wheel. The old man used these threads to bind the shoes he had crafted for the queen. This was the only way that he could make the shoes appear grand enough for royalty.
Wizard Lizard took his unfortunate bad news to Queen Eleana. Furious that he could not find a fresh young maiden whose beauty she could duplicate, she banished the wizard to the dungeon. Yet she knew, in time, he would escape. After all, he was a magician and he was familiar with all the tricks of the trade.
In the mean time, the Golden Moon Ball was nearing. The Moon Ball happens once a year when the moon appeared in its biggest and brightest. It was one of Mother Nature’s miracles. Queen Eleana loved the fall harvest festival, yet, she despised humans. The yearly jubilee was the exception to the rule. She sent word to Sire Cobbler that he was to design the best ever pair of shoes for her. And for once, she would spare no expense.
The cobbler accepted the challenge. For the first time, the queen was willing to pay a fair price for the shoes. He thought and thought about the task. But the only idea that came to mind was to use two rows of golden thread to fasten the body of the shoe to its sole. He crossed his fingers and hoped the idea would charm the queen.
Instead of sending a messenger to pick up the royal shoes, the queen sent her son, Prince Harry. He was happy to oblige his mother. The errand, got him out of the castle and gave him cause to search the surrounding streets for a date. Prince Harry was a good catch, not only because he was a prince, but he was fetching.
Yes, Harry was a prince, but he had grown bored with the regal blood of the neighboring kingdom. The noblemen’s daughters were the only females regal enough for the queen. Harry wanted to settle down with one woman and raise a family. The queen was aging, and he would then become king.
As he approached the Sire Cobbler store, a flash of light caught Harry’s attention. He gazed upward toward the shop’s tower. He saw a young woman. She was a vision of loveliness…
“Sire Cobbler, I have come to fetch Mother’s dancing shoes.”
“Good day, young Prince Harry. I have the queen’s shoes ready, yet I’ve never known her to dance.”
“Yes, Sire, you are correct, but, I can hope.” Prince Harry cleared his throat and said, “Sire, I am in need of a date for the Golden Moon Festival. Might you have an idea?”
“Well, Son, I’m an old man who lives alone, and I don’t socialize. Why would you ask me for such a favor?”
“Sire, I noticed that someone is in the tower of your shop. Is the young lady an employee or perhaps a relative?”
“Young man, you are quite perceptive. Her name is Gabriella, and you need to know nothing more.”
“Well enough, Sire, but if your guest would care to join me at the festival, then please send word. I should like to meet the fair maiden in the tower.”
“Sire, the queen sends generous pay for the shoes.”
“Thank you, Prince Harry, and I will give thought to your request.”
Sire Cobbler gave great thought to Harry’s need for a date for the festival. He was also beginning to have a change of heart. Graciella was his only companion, and he was her only friend. The old man remembered about Wizard Lizard, who had dropped by a few weeks back. “Graciella, please come down from the tower,” her father said, “I want to talk with you.”
With cheer in her eyes and a bright smile, she said, “Yes, Father, what is on your mind?”
“An inhabitant in the shop’s tower took notice twice, in the past few weeks.”
“I’m sorry Father, if the questions disturbed you. I will do better so no one can see me.”
“It is I, Graciella, who should do better. I was wrong to hide you away for so many years. I’m an old man and I feared that the evilness of the world would find you. I should have trusted your better judgement over my fear.”
“Father, who were the men you talked about and what did they ask about me?”
“Graciella, the first person was Wizard Lizard, who is a subject of the queen. He had asked about a new chambermaid to add to Queen Eleana ‘s staff. And the young man was Prince Harry. He asked about you a short time ago. He is the queen’s only child and heir to the throne.”
“My goodness Father, why would the prince come calling?”
“He dropped by to pick up the queen’s new shoes. He called it the perfect opportunity to search about for a young lady to join him at the Golden Moon Festival. Graciella, he asked if you would like to be his date?”
“Father, I’m not worthy to go out in public with royalty to a ball. Besides, I don’t have a party dress or dancing shoes to wear.”
“That’s an easy fix, Graciella, you could go to the castle and ask for an audience with the queen. Perhaps, she would hire you as a chambermaid. And then, at night, you could spin more gold threads for me to make your dancing shoes.”
Graciella went to the castle to see the queen. She, of course, salivated over the maiden’s beauty. Wizard Lizard had not escaped his chains, so, the queen spared the time and expense to hunt him down. The queen called for the castle sorcerer, and together they began to hatch their plot.
Graciella questioned why the queen hid her face behind a veil, yet, she thought better than to ask why. She did her job and earned her gold tokens. Sire Cobbler melted the tokens and Graciella spun the golden threads. But she had not yet met Prince Harry.
Sire Cobbler thought it best if she did not stir up more questions. She gave notion to the prince to think that she was an out of town visitor. Graciella knew the difference between right and wrong. But she also didn’t want to disobey her father.
In passing at the castle, Harry saw his mother’s newest hire. But his curiosity wasn’t piqued. She appeared tousled, and her messy look disturbed him. He stayed clear from her, and yet there was a familiarity that haunted him.
Prince Harry revisited Sire Cobbler. “Sire,” he said. “I’ve come calling to ask if your house guest Graciella is still here?”
“Yes, she is, but I haven’t seen her in several days. I sent her to the castle to have an audience with the Queen and apply for a job as a chambermaid. I’m sorry, son. Perhaps, you have seen her in the castle.”
“Yes, Sire, I think I have.”
But when Harry, returned to the castle to look for the scruffy maiden, she was not anywhere within its walls. This seemed strange, and her absence bothered him. Harry tracked down Wizard Lizard in the dungeon where he was practicing black magic.
“Wizard, have you seen an unkempt young maiden?”
“Why do you ask me about the hired staff?”
“I don’t trust my mother, and I don’t like your wizardry.”
“What is your interest in this maiden, if she in fact exists?”
“Wizard, she in fact, does exist, and I want to know what witchcraft you are mixing up?”
Prince Harry went to Nexus, the ‘White Witch’. She lived by the rule not to use her magic for personal gain. Nexus was a good witch. Her purpose was as a protector of the innocent.
“Nexus, I believe that evil has fallen upon a chambermaid in the castle. Her name is Graciella, and I believe Wizard Lizard is doing the queen’s bidding.”
“There is only way to find out if this is true. Come with me Harry, and we will look into the cauldron of truth.”
Nexus mixed up a potion of observance. She said a few words in the circle of magic. The thick fog began to scatter. And in the still water was the reflection of the Queen Eleana. A black veil hid her face from view. The queen was not a pretty maiden, so she often hid her identity from the public.
Prince Harry said, “Nexus, what is the black magic called that Wizard Lizard is doing?”
She answered, “Queen Eleana hid her ugly face behind her black veil. Sorcerer Lizard is performing a magical illusion. He is performing a change. The spell will change the queen’s face to look like the lovely maiden.”
“White Witch, can he stop this spell?”
“No, Prince Harry. The change has already taken place. But, I will mix up some ‘white magic’ that will get rid of the ‘black magic.’
“The queen will be spellbound to her ugliness forever, and the fair maiden will win over the kingdom.”
“Tell me White Sorcerer, how will this happen?”
The magician explained how the ‘white magic’ worked. And they saw the good luck charm needed to safeguard the trickery.
The night of the Golden Moon Ball arrived. Prince Harry went to see Sire Cobbler to explain what his mother and Wizard Lizard had done. Sire Cobbler came clean about not telling the truth about Graciella.
“How can I help you get my daughter back?” The old man cried sorrowful tears.
“Sire, I will need a personal item that only Graciella knows about.”
“I have the perfect thing. I made a pair of dancing shoes woven from the gold Graciella spun on her spinning wheel.”
The queen was center stage. She rested in her chaise lounge. Suitors of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, wealthy or poor surrounded Graciella. Or so the guests at festival thought. Sire Cobbler mingled with the people and Harry went to say hello to his mother, the queen.
The first thing the prince noticed was the queen’s tiny feet. Of course, he knew that his mother’s feet were size thirteen. “Good evening, Mother, are you enjoying the festival?”
“Not at all, Son, but you know it is a duty as the queen of Tinkershire that I must attend the yearly event. Are you enjoying the dance, Son?”
“Not so much, Mother. The young maiden I planned to invite as my date left town without any notice.”
“Too bad Harry. You should have followed my wishes. I wanted you to ask Wizard Lizard’s daughter, Hildegard as your date.”
“Mother, she is an ox whose face needs some ‘black magic’ for improvement. Yet, I would like to know the identity of the blonde haired maiden who has a lengthy line of suitors.”
“Never mind,” the queen said, “She is one of my chambermaids, and she is a nobody.”
“I want to meet her myself and I, the prince and heir to the throne, will decide for myself if she is worthy of my attention. What is her name, Mother?”
“Her name is Graciella, but I forbid you, my son, to ask a chambermaid to dance.”
“Graciella, that is a pretty name for an attractive maiden. I have a will of my own Mother, and I wish to dance with the maiden Graciella.”
She peered through the flimsy translucent curtains. Her eyes piercing through the veil of disbelief.
“No, Harry, I forbid you to dance with a maiden, who is a servant.”
But Harry approached the fresh faced young, woman whose cheeks flushed a rosy pink. Her blonde hair hung over her shoulders in long, shinning, ringlets. Little bits of hair framed her heart-shaped face. And her rosebud lips emphasized her dimpled cheeks.
It was her gentle, expressive crystal blue eyes and long dark lashes that he remembered most.
Graciella stood tall and proud. She demonstrated bravery and showed a self-confidence. Graciella might not have started out as a princess, but she held all the elements inside to become a good one.
Harry’s thoughts were to save Graciella from Wizard Lizard’s treachery. He extended his hand to the maiden. “Would you join me on the dance floor and honor me with your grace and elegance?”
The maiden raised the hem of her pale blue satin gown. And beneath the lace of her petticoat came to view the oversized thirteen shoe of Queen Eleana. The same shoes he picked up from the cobbler that same morning
Overjoyed with the music, he spun his partner around in circles on the dance floor. Taking one step to each beat, her feet became tangled and gave way. She crumpled into Harry’s arms, and with an awkward twist, his dance partner fell to the floor.
Falling on her bottom, broke Wizard Lizard’s evil spell. The face of the once lovely maiden Graciella cracked, and gooey stuff fell to the floor. Sound of stitches breaking and fabric tearing, the blue satin gown shredded into rags. Harry reached down to help the woman to her size thirteen feet.
The drums sounded, and several palace guards marched to the beat of the drum. The black magic failed. The guards surrounded the exposed Queen Eleana and Wizard Lizard. Applause from the guests thundered among the laughing and booing of the crowd.
He knelt down beside the reclining frumpy queen. He lifted the black veil that screened her face from the guests. The sad Queen Eleana grit her teeth. The gasps and shrieks of disgust from the crowd were overwhelming.
“Mother,” Harry said. “The charade is over. And in your evilness, I banish you from Tinkleshire. Your punishment is to live among the trolls in the moat beneath the drawbridge. Take Wizard Lizard with you. He is no good to anyone in the kingdom.”
Harry extended his hand to her. She clenched her hand and swiped her long fingernails at him. But his fast reflexes caught her hand, and he pulled her to her feet. She fought his touch. Harry raised her skirt to above her ankles. She had tiny feet and wore an elegant pair of dancing slippers. Dancing shoes fashioned from the work of a great cobbler. Harry’s dimples deepened.
The partying guests held their breath. The room was so quiet that if a pin dropped to the floor, it would make a sound. Harry knew that he held the fair maiden Gabriella in his arms. He took in a mouthful of air and exhaled. Goose bumps shimmered across his skin. The corners of Gabriella mouth turned upward and her smile lit up the room.
A miracle was happening in front of everyone’s eyes. In amazement of the party guests, the old hag’s face was changing. Her words were soft and gentle. “Prince Harry, I know what you want, and your wish will come true.”
He could hear every breath he took. She was once beautiful, and his wish was that her beauty would return. He stooped down and kissed her black lips. His quick intake of breath and shaky exhale brought forth a cheer from the crowd.
“Wizard Lizard’s evil spell is no more,” the people shouted with glee.
The moment that the prince kissed her, Gabriella’s dusty gray face became fresh as a flower. She found herself wearing the most beautiful party gown she had ever seen. A hush fell over the room.
“Who can that be?” the people asked in unison.
“What difference does it matter?” Prince Harry answered.
He bowed from the waist and asked, “Will you dance with me?”
She made a dainty bow. “Yes. Prince Harry.”
The prince requested the orchestra to play one Waltz after another. Romance bloomed rather quickly. She began to open herself up to Prince Harry. Her face felt flush and a light dizziness overcame her. Gabriella’s feet barely touched the floor. It was a wonderful and terrifying feeling at the same time. And holding each other felt as right as the night’s sky holding the stars.
He danced with the beautiful chambermaid all evening. Harry’s knees were shaking. His heart pounded. He felt his palms sweating. In front of everyone at the ball, Harry knelt down on one knee and said, “I have fallen in love with you, Graciella.” And, in front of the palace guests, he asked, “Will you marry me?”
“But, Prince Harry, I scrub floors in the palace, and my father is a poor merchant.”
“I know who you are, and it doesn’t bother me. I know that you are a chambermaid in the Tinkershire palace. I also know that you are the daughter of a shoemaker. But a chambermaid, no more you will be. And your father, the cobbler of Tinkershire, will now make shoes for all of the noblemen in neighboring lands.”
The prince reached into his breast pocket. In his hand, he held a beautiful engagement ring. “My darling Graciella, I’ve carried the ring around in my pocket for several years. I held hope within my heart that I would find the woman who I’d marry.”
She licked her lips in eagerness. He put his arms around her waist. Pulling her toward him, the kiss was soft and magical. She could hear bells ringing. The kiss filled her up with love. All eyes were on them, but they didn’t care. It felt as if the whole world cheered for them.
In that one kiss, she then knew what was behind Prince Harry’s quirky smile and everything old became brand new. The cobbler made his daughter an elegant pair of wedding shoes with spun gold. And the palace seamstress stitched a gown of silk and lace for the princess bride.
The chambermaid became Princess Gabriella when she married Prince Harry. There was a tremendous wedding feast in Tinkershire Castle. Guests from foreign lands came to celebrate the royal wedding. Noblemen from neighboring castles brought gifts of grapes harvested from their vineyards. The servants and subjects of the castle gave simple homemade gifts of love.
The food was plentiful and the music filled the air with joyfulness. Prince Harry and Lady Graciella ruled over the Glenn of Emerald. There was great happiness within the Tinershire castle walls. The harvests were plentiful and the merchants were paid well for their goods.
The Prince and Princess were given the most precious gift anyone could ever want. Graciella gave birth to twins. The royal family grew. They are now a family of four when a boy named Tinker and a girl they called Grace were born. It was now a time of great joy.