A Royal Adventure
Princess Maddie ran from her room up in the highest towers of the castle, down through the winding stone staircase to the second floor. She laughed when her brother, Noah the Brave Knight, caught up to her. "I won the race!! Let's go see what Mama's doing." So, joined by their six-year-old sister, Princess Sophie, from her room, they ran to the sitting room where their mother, who was the Queen of St. Johnland, sat at the desk, writing letters and signing papers.
Noah the Brave Knight picked up a picture of a little girl with pigtails from the desk. "Mama, this is my friend from China. Why do you have her picture?"
Princess Maddie looked at the papers, then at her mother. "I know her too, Mama. This is Tian Qing."
Their mother, Queen Marjorie, smiled. "You're right. That's the little girl you two knew in China. And this," she said, pointing to the scattered papers, "is the file of Tian Qing, who lives in China, but she will soon come here to be Princess Josie! She's five years old."
Noah the Brave Knight, Princess Maddie, and Princess Sophie stared, wide eyed. "So, Tian Qing is coming here, to be with us?"
"Well--" Just then a courier came in with a sealed note from China! Queen Marjorie tore open the letter and smiled broadly. "It says that we are approved to adopt Josie!" "Yay!" Their mother smiled. "So, to answer your question, yes, Tian Qing--Josie--is coming here to be with us!"
They followed their mother up the stairs, through the long hallway to her and King James's big bedroom, where she put the future Princess Josie's picture in a frame, and placed it on the nightstand. Then, they all piled up onto their mother and father's bed. "Mama, tell us our story again," begged Princess Maddie.
"PUH-LEEEEEEZZZ," added Noah the Brave Knight.
Queen Marjorie laughed. "Alright, alright." She sat on the edge of the bed, held Princess Sophie, and scooted over as Matthew the Great Knight strode into the room.
"Oooh, Matthew! Come sit. Mama's telling us our story,” said Princess Maddie excitedly.
Matthew smiled and sat down. “Good.”
“Once upon a time,” said their mother, “there was a king, a queen, and their son, a knighted prince.”
Matthew smiled and lifted Princess Maddie onto his lap. "And I, that knighted prince-son, dreamed and prayed for a sibling. And believe me, God heard."
Mother nodded and smiled thoughtfully. "Princess Sophie came first. Your daddy and I chose to adopt from another kingdom. So, in the year of two thousand and six, we traveled to China and 2-year-old precious Le Ke became Princess Sophie Saint. Princess Sophie had autism. "
"But we weren't over," exclaimed Princess Maddie. "You still have to get me and Noah!"
"Yes," said Matthew the Great Knight. "A year later, we went back to get beautiful 2-year-old Jun Ping, who became Princess Maddie Saint. Princess Maddie had cleft lip and palate, and heart surgery."
"Oooooh," Princess Maddie interrupted. "This is where it gets good." She smiled. "I started learning sign language, and English, and I told you about my 'brother' in China waiting on us!"
Princess Sophie, who had wiggled out of the Queen's lap, was ripping some paper. She smiled and ran back over to the bed and into her mama's lap as the story continued.
"Duo, as he was called, came from China escorted by a noble. He had three surgeries. We were his host family, which meant that he stayed in our home while he had his surgeries and was recovering from them. We were also in the process of adopting him. He had special needs, too. They were nasofrontal encephalocele, cleft nose, partial cleft lip, and hypertelorism. All those looooong words were just fancy for 'needs extra love'. Then, Daddy and Matthew the Great Knight went back to China and finished the adoption process for Duo. Soon, Duo was dubbed Noah the Brave Knight.
And now, Tian Qing, whom Princess Maddie and Noah the Brave Knight knew in China, will be coming home to stay with us as Princess Josie!"
Just then, someone walked in briskly. It was Sir Randolph, the kids' uncle, who was also King James's knight force captain. He had been appointed to lead all kinds of war with the king's troops of brave knights. "Hello, Queen Marjorie, your majesty. Hello, Matthew the Great Knight, Noah the Brave Knight, Princess Maddie, and Princess Sophie."
He bowed and continued. "There are urgent matters to be settled, and King James is out on a trip to visit a village in the kingdom and isn't due back until about a week."
Matthew the Great Knight stood presently and put his hand on his sword. "What's the matter?"
"Well," Sir Randolph explained, "In China, there is turmoil. Great, great turmoil. There is a little girl, a soon-to-be-princess, named Tian Qing, and--"
Princess Maddie sprang to her feet. "Josie! Oh Mama, it's Josie!"
Noah also jumped to his feet. "What is it? We can take it, can't we Matthew?" He pulled his wooden sword from its sheath, slicing the air. Maddie giggled.
Sir Randolph looked confused. "Josie? Who is Josie?"
Quickly, Queen Marjorie explained that they were in the process of adopting Princess Josie, formerly known as Tian Qing.
Sir Randolph's eyes widened to saucers as he explained. "Oh no, your majesty. Your daughter is in jeopardy of never meeting you! You see, she is actually a princess by birth. There was no royal place for her...she had too many siblings already! Oh, how they quarrelled about the throne, and who was the next heir, the one after that, the one after that, and so on. When little Tian Qing was born, her mother did not want her to be immersed into this constant arguement. So she......she hid the baby away in the countryside with a nice little family, called the Fosters. She grew up there, not knowing anything of her royal heritage. But she knew that the Fosters weren't her real family. She had two 'Foster brothers' and she loved them very much, but again, she knew they weren't her real brothers. She really wanted her real family. She had so many people in other countries hoping and praying that she would find her forever family, but, to no avail...until now."
When the Emperor and Empress (the Empress especially) recieved the notice of request for adoption, they quickly recognized this girl as their daughter that they had hidden away not so long ago. She has a special need; she's blind in her eyes--but oh, ma'am, she sees everything with her heart, just as little Sophie here, as well as all of us, can talk to God in her heart." At this, he patted Sophie's head. "So, it is believed that there will be a problem in adopting Tian Qing. The Emperor and Empress have decided that it is best if she goes to live with a permanent family, which will be her official family, not a temporary family like the Fosters. But, most members of the royal advisory tell them it is not best; that she might grow up to become Queen of St. Johnland and overpower China. The royal advisories of course, care nothing for the little child, just for their country." Sir Randolph sighed and shook his head, then looked at the Queen earnestly. "I want my little niece here with us. I can assist you in making secret contact with the Emperor and Empress, and you can work out the details."
"Details? What details?"
"Well, your Majesty, I suggest you and King James send my knights to China, to stop whom ever shall try to hinder you from getting your little Josie."
A week later, a message arrived in a red scroll case embellished with golden dragons and crosses, for the Emperor and Empress were Christians too, just like King James and Queen Marjorie.
"Mama, mama, it's a letter from Emperor Jiang and Empress Lin!" Princess Maddie ran through the grand ballroom and into the tea room where her mother sat with her father, King James of St. Johnland, who had just returned from his trip. She waved the scroll case in the air, then handed it to her father. He tore open the seal in a rush and pulled the rich parchment from the case. He unrolled the scroll quickly and read, letting out a relieved sigh. Then he read it out loud.
Emperor Jiang and Empress Lin of the land of China write to their dearest friends King James and Queen Marjorie of St. Johnland...
Bring your troops to the cottage of Tian Qing tomorrow at noon. We have enclosed the address. The Foster boys will be hiding in the spare building behind their cottage, and Tian Qing will be waiting with the Foster parents just inside the cottage. There will be resistance, because last night we overheard that some of the advisors have found out about our plan and are secretly sending two golden dragons of the Imperial Army to defend Tian Qing. Be prepared for the fire-breathers.
Emperor and Empress of China
Maddie was in awe. "Mama? Daddy? Are we really gonna fight dragons?"
King James looked at Queen Marjorie. She nodded. "Yes, sweetie, your brothers and I and your uncle, Sir Randolph," said King James.
Two and a half hours later, Matthew the Great, Noah the Brave, Princess Maddie, Princess Sophie along with their parents, loaded bundles of clothes and food onto a wooden wagon that was hitched to two pack horses. Sir Randolph, two knights, and two ladies-in-waiting were accompanying them. Straight sleek swords hung at their sides. The procession led through the country lanes, through the valleys, over the hills, and through the sunny woods. Princess Maddie and Princess Sophie played with their dolls, while Matthew the Great and Noah the Brave practiced their sword fighting with their father and Sir Randolph while journeying.
They were now walking through a forest valley where the tall oaks stood taller and happier, the Chinese cherry blossoms blooming brighter and more cheerfully, and the birches more beautiful than ever. And they found themselves suddenly emerged upon a hill that looked down on a small clearing; a valley clearing that held one little cottage with upturned roof corners, the ancient style architecture of China. Behind it, a beautiful little garden complete with bonsai trees in decorative red pots, baby cherry blossom trees, and each and every kind of flower: There were chrysanthemums, camellias, and peonies; bamboo grew in the left hand corner, and behind it farther back was a collection of birch trees. A small pond with water lilies and lotus flowers in it took the bottom right hand corner, with oaks behind it; and in the top right hand corner of the garden was a cross surrounded with beautiful camellias, because the Fosters were Christians too. Farther behind the cross, there were beautiful full-bloomed, full grown cherry blossom trees. There was also a little garden shed out behind the beautiful landscape, toward the east side. Queen Marjorie, Princess Maddie, and Princess Sophie's eyes widened at the beautiful sight.
"Mama, mama..." Princess Maddie whispered, "Oh, mama, can we go pick the flowers?"
"Not yet, dear. We have to fight the...."
Queen Marjorie sighed. "Yes...dragons." She shook her head. "Goodness. You have your slingshot and bow?"
"Yes ma'am. I love my bow, the wood is so smooth and pretty."
Queen Marjorie nodded. "You have your pouch of stones?"
"And it's open and ready?"
"Your bowstring is pulled tight?"
"Alright then, help me get Sophie into the wagon, she's a little too young to fight."
"Aww, mama, why can't she?"
"Sophie is six, she is not old enough to handle any weapon."
After lifting Princess Sophie into the wagon and handing her a few dolls to play with along with some stones to build a castle for them, Queen Marjorie walked over to King James, Sir Randolph, Matthew the Great, Noah the Brave, and Princess Maddie on the other side of the rather long and wide hill. King James and Sir Randolph were practicing their sword fighting intently with each other, quietly as they could of course; Matthew the Great and Noah the Brave were doing the same, and Princess Maddie was flinging rocks from her slingshot at an oak tree quite far away into the valley. Queen Marjorie picked up a bow and arrow and a short sword, put them in place in a weapon belt, and put it on. Then she prepared to begin practicing on another nearby tree with her bow by tightening her string and pulling an arrow.
"Marjorie, we need to hurry and practice. There's no sense in waiting around on the dragons if we can rescue Tian Qing before they get here, though I know that practicing is mandatory in case we do meet the them."
No sooner had Queen Marjorie begun practicing, than they heard great hissing noises, crackling, and men shouting. Everyone stopped what they were doing and listened, looking in surprised fright at each other. The sound of shouting men soon fainted away, but the hissing and crackling grew closer and along with it came a steady thump, thump, thump, thump......then, suddenly, it rushed its steady pace and came thundering nearer. THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP!!!
On the west side of the cottage and garden, in the woods encircling it, golden scales were exposed between the branches of the trees in the distance, coming closer and closer with terrible speed. Then, making giant oak, hickory, pine, and birch trees fall onto the soft forest grass, the two giant dragons burst onto the peaceful scene. Princes Maddie stared, mouth open.
"Princess Maddie! Princess Maddie! Hurry, collect your stones from around the tree and get ready," cried Queen Marjorie. "Matthew the Great Knight, check on Princess Sophie then prepare to battle!"
And so, with Princess Maddie scrambling to pick up the small smooth stones that were around her target tree, and Matthew the Great running to the wagon, and everyone else readying their weapons, the battle began.
The group split in half instinctively, for they had rehearsed this several times for other battles. One half to bombard one dragon; the second for the other. One group consisted of Queen Marjorie, King James, Princess Maddie, Lady Camryn, and Lady Hannah; the other group consisted of Sir Randolph, Matthew the Great (who had run back after seeing that Princess Sophie was alright), Noah the Brave, Knight Levi, and Knight Casey.
Princess Maddie began pelting the dragon nearest her--who had red decorations painted on his glistening gold skin--with stones and yelling at it (she seemed to be enjoying herself) things like, "YOU'LL NEVER OVERTAKE US," and "GET READY TO BE DEFEATED," and "FOR JESUS AND FOR JOSIE!"
Queen Marjorie lifted her bow and began showering the dragon with arrows. It began to strike back and started moving closer. King James and Lady Camryn had been edging their way down the hill and to the right, trying to get behind the dragon. Lady Camryn had been going to the left. This sudden move of anger from the dragon that brought him closer gave both King James and Lady Camryn the perfect opportunity to make their way around the dragon, and so they did. At a nod of their heads to each other, they raised their swords to stab the dragon, but it instantly turned around, hearing a twig snap under King James's heavy boot. King James and Lady Camryn ran back to their group on the hill, and so the battle continued.
Meanwhile, Sir Randolph had jumped down from his side of the hill instantly, along with Matthew the Great and Noah the Brave, and had started slashing at the dragon's back and sides while the other two knights threw spears. The dragon was an expert; he dodged every spear and blow of the sword, and managed to knock over Sir Randolph with his left foot and Matthew the Great with his right.
Princess Maddie, in the other half of this brave collection of heroes, had managed to make her way toward the dragon's belly because of her mom and dad's brave fighting, and she was now only about six paces away! She reached behind her and grabbed her bow that was strapped on her back, along with an arrow from the case beside her bow, and aimed carefully and swiftly; then, FWOOP! The arrow wizzed through the air and straight into the golden scales of the dragon's stomach. Princess Maddie was an expert! She quickly, half ran-half leaped, her way back to the hill where her parents were cheering and fighting at the same time, with the dragon throwing fireballs at her heels.
"That's my girl, Maddie," said her parents at the same time.
Noah the Brave, in his group, was now right behind the dragon. He raised his sword, and down it came on the dragon's tail.
Matthew the Great, from his spot beside Sir Randolph, Knight Levi, and Knight Casey, widened his eyes. "Woah! Ouch."
The dragon turned, snarling, and swiped at Noah the Brave Knight, missed, and turned back around after being hit by a spear in his back. He fell, finally defeated, to the ground.
"Well," Noah the Brave Knight panted (he was quite tired by now), "That was...easy."
Matthew the Great laughed. "Yeah!" He looked over toward his parents, sister, and the ladies-in-waiting. "But the battle's not over yet."
They all ran down the hill, then around it, and then came up the back side of the hill again, falling in right behind the King, Queen, Princess, and the two ladies-in-waiting. All, that is, except for Matthew the Great, who had offered to check on Princess Sophie. He found her playing happily, honestly unaware of the whole situation. He smiled and kissed her head. "You just wait here, alright? Be very quiet." Princess Sophie smiled at him, seeming to understand.
Matthew the Great Knight ran down the hill and back up to the rest of his family. Everyone was throwing rocks, spears, arrows, and even swords at the big dragon. He was dodging every single one.
"Noah!" Look out," cried Princess Maddie. Noah the Brave Knight had been picking rocks up from the hill they were on, and now looked up just in time to dodge a flying ball of fire which singed his hair a little bit.
"WOAH! That was clo--"
Everyone yelled in warning as the dragon threw not one, not two, not even three, but four balls of fire--two from each hand. Suddenly, a different, sharp yell of...was that glee? It came from the middle of the hill, and could it be? Yes, it was Princess Sophie! Those stones she was given to play with had come in very handy, because she had hurled one at the dragon! They could hardly believe it, but there she was, clapping her hands, smiling, laughing, and singing. As everyone turned to watch the angry reaction of the dragon, there was none, for Princess Sophie had hit him square between his eyes and now he lay on the ground, still and eyes closed.
First there was silence, then a big burst of laughter, more gleeful yelling, and shouts of "Hurray for Princess Sophie and thank You, Jesus!" Princess Sophie was lifted out of the wagon and hoisted onto the shoulders of King James, Sir Randolph, Matthew the Great, and Noah the Brave. The knights and ladies-in-waiting smiled and cheered everyone on.
"Praise the Lord," cried Queen Marjorie.
"Thank you, Jesus," yelled Princess Maddie.
"HALLELUJAH!" All the voices in the brave troop yelled this word of praise; the brave knights, the dainty ladies-in-waiting, the beautiful princesses, the gallant prince-knights, and the happy king and queen. Everyone suddenly smiled at each other nervously, and Princess Sophie was let down off the shoulders of the cheering people and into her mama's arms. A silence fell. It was that silence as if you were waiting to perform in front of a group of people, and you had gotten caught up in a fun game, then suddenly remembered what you were about to do. It was a silence of nervousness, excitement, and anticipation. The knights and ladies-in-waiting smiled broader and stayed back, knowing that this was a special moment for the royal family. Sir Randolph also stayed back a little bit, but watched happily as the they walked on.
As the Saint family walked forward, down the hill, and across the short patch of grass and wildflowers to the little path that led up to the door of the Chinese cottage, they prayed silently.
King James, holding Noah the Brave Knight who had suddenly become very shy, smiled at his family reassuringly. Dear God, I thank you for your many blessings. I thank you for leading us and keeping us safe in the battle. And I thank you for my sweet family. Please let Princess Josie accept us very well, make an easy transition, and come to know You very early in her life and be close to You all during her life. Please also help me to be a really great dad to all of my children. Amen.
Queen Marjorie patted the little hand of Princess Sophie, who she was holding. Sophie was quiet, too. Jesus, I thank you for protecting us and guiding us in the battle and for helping us to get our Josie! Please help Josie to understand that we love her and want to be her Forever Family. Please let her ask You to come into her heart as her God and Savior very, very early in her life. Please let her make an easy transition and be very close to us, and, more importantly, to You. Please help her to be a Godly, pure, loving, kind, and generous girl with a sweet disposition. Please help me to be a good mother to her. Amen.
Matthew the Great Knight smiled at his parents and siblings. He nodded reassuringly as he began to pray. Jesus, thank you for giving us Sophie to protect us. He smiled. Thank you for providing for us. Thank you for the brother and sisters you've blessed me with. Please help Josie to adjust to us and love us from the beginning, and help me to be a good son and big brother. Amen.
Noah the Brave Knight looked at his daddy and wondered how in the world he could be so calm. Dear God, thank you for helping us win. Please help me to be a good person. Please help me to be a good brother. Please help Princess Josie to be happy with us. Amen.
Princess Maddie, who was walking between her parents, holding their hands, and looking up at them and her brothers and sister, also prayed. Dear Jesus, thank you for protecting us! Thank you for helping us to defeat the dragons so we could get Princess Josie. Thank you for everything! Please let Princess Josie be really happy with us and know that we are her family. Please help her to be very, very, very, VERY close to You. Please help me to be a good sister and daughter. Amen.
And though Princess Sophie wasn't seeming to be, Queen Marjorie believed she was talking to God in her heart, in her own way.
As they knocked on the door, anticipating, hoping, smiling, and praying, a little girl opened it, her pigtails bobbing, and she let out a little shout of pure happiness and ran into the arms of her new family. She saw them not with her eyes, but with the light of her heart she knew them instantly.
And so it came to be that the Saint family had many, many more adventures together...
And they all lived blessedly ever after!
Written by Joy S*********
12 years old
Joy has loved to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She was so excited when she was old enough to know how to read and spell a few words. As a matter of fact, not too long ago I came across a “story” that her 4 year old self created in her handwriting. It read: “The fat cat sat on the rat at 3 p.m”. :) She took a note book and pen everywhere with her (and usually a book to read also). We never left the house without those two things in the car.
She’s come a little way since then. :) She still loves to write – notes, stories, blog posts, letters, just about anything. She’s often seen typing on her laptop or a pen in hand writing.
For Christmas 2010, Joy’s gift to her daddy and Colt was a sentimental story that she wrote for each of them. In her daddy’s story, he was a dragon slayer. In Colt’s, he was a ninja. She has fun weaving a few facts into fantasy or adventure. Her stories made a great sentimental gift and will be treasured. You can’t put a price on a gift like that.
She has also been trying to raise money toward a family mission trip for some time now. She’s hoping for China. Well, Colt gave her a great fundraising idea and encouraged her to write stories for other folks similar to what she wrote for him and her daddy. She announced it on an adoption forum last spring and got her first “writing job”.
Ms. Marjorie asked her to write a story for her five children (one of whom was still waiting in China). She told Joy that the kids would love an adventure involving castles and dragons. So Joy gathered information about the children (personalities – likes – dislikes – age) and read about their family (that they were a Christian family - gathered names of extended close family and friends to be used in the story, etc.) on Ms. Marjorie’s blog. Then she had fun creating their special personal adventure. Ms. Marjorie gave her permission for us to post the story here on my blog. She also told Joy that she’s going to have the story bound into a hardback book and is hiring an illustrator. Needless to say, Joy was thrilled!
So the story you read above was written by Joy and shared here today by Ms. Marjorie’s permission (and Joy’s). She took a few weeks to complete it last spring. She had just turned 12.
If you would like a sentimental story for your children or grandchildren, niece, nephew, etc., Joy would love to create one for you. If you are interested or would like more info, you can email me at the email address on my sidebar and I’ll pass it on to Joy. She would love to create a special sentimental story for the special child(ren) in your life, and it would also thrill her to watch her China fund grow. :)
Joy’s writing may have started with “The fat cat sat on the rat at 3 p.m.”, but she’s hoping that she might see her name in print one day. :) And as we know, with God all things are possible.