Once upon a time in a mid-sized village, high in the second floor tower of their stucco castle, lived two beautiful princesses and their brother, the Young Prince. Theirs was a life of love, laughter, and security, though they never wandered far on their own.
Adventures were enjoyed, to be sure, and while the Land of Disney was a high point of their young lives, the best part of their day was always . . . well, every minute of it.
Far away in a distant stucco kingdom some seven miles beyond the the Mart of Wal lived Queen YaYa and King Chief—or Chief King. One was never sure the proper order of his name. They were the ancient rulers of an obsolete kingdom now occupied solely by themselves and a wild jumping beast prone to squeezing under gates and through prison bars. Part canine, part ferret, the beast nevertheless adored the beautiful princesses and, to her credit, avoided licking the Young Prince in the face. She preferred biscuits.
Many a morn’ when their hearts longed for laughter, the ancient King and Queen bridled their white mount and flew like the wind to the stucco castle where the princesses and Young Prince dwelt. They ascended the secret passageway to the upper floor, recited the magical words, “We’re here!” and stooped low, bracing themselves for the enthusiastic welcome of tiny royalty.
On occasion, the royal siblings behaved like common preschoolers and, with their special talent for squeezy hugs, sometimes knocked the King and Queen onto their pride. Except for the Young Prince. He merely smiled sweet dimples and drooled his approval at their arrival.
Most people think that life in a second story stucco castle is restrictive. Such are the thoughts of peasants who have read too many fairy tales. Others are prone to believe that ancients such as King Chief and Queen YaYa have passed their expiration dates and are unable to remember the magical enchantment of childhood.
Some suppose the laughter and unbridled energy of children is something to be restrained in the presence of important ancients from obsolete kingdoms. Such are the thoughts of trolls.
Like a beautiful rose kept under glass in a secret room, there is a priceless jewel known only to those who have lived for decades. Once the fierce defenders of their own kingdom, they bear hidden scars born of fighting dragons and waging war with those who would threaten their beloved ones. Then, with dignity and pride, they passed their Claymores on to their grown heirs who now protect kingdoms all their own.
But while the fading of Spring and surrender of Summer may have brought shades of gray to their royal heads, none should be so foolish as to dismiss King Chief and Queen YaYa, nor make reservations for their Fall and Winter years in halls of assisted living.
And thus may I reveal here, to you my cherished reader, the priceless reason such ancient royals risk loss of hearing and bruises to their pride each time they ascend the second story of the stucco castle, which lies close to the Mart of Wal.
It is for a bow of the knee and a touch of the hand from the beautiful princesses. “Let’s dance!” they joyously request and, in a heartbeat, the King and his Queen transcend time and responsibility and worry - and dance with princesses in the upper room while the Young Prince coos his approval.
Many have crossed dangerous oceans in search of the fountain of youth. Many have wasted their fortunes on worthless potions with false promises of eternal beauty. They have surrendered great wealth in the vain search for a priceless jewel kept secret by small royals.
The Secret to being young again is to be loved by children. And, when invited, to join in the dance.