Once upon a time, in a land far away, in a place time has forgotten and the sea has since covered, there lived a king who had a beautiful little girl. So beautiful was she that people came from everywhere to see her golden locks of hair and her mesmerizing smile.
Being the only child and as beautiful as the red velvet rose, the little girl became quite a spoiled princess. Sometimes in her desire to play in the forest and meadows, she foolishly disregarded her parents instructions. In this mystical meadow the birds and bees could actually talk. The animals would frolic fearlessly rolling in the warm green grass. All of nature could speak, tease and bewitch for they have no fear at all. The big black bears and the big mountain cats were as friendly as could be never thinking once about hurting anyone. Too busy with the joys of the day and talking with butterflies, the beautiful princess lost something of great value.
And so it happened, as it often does, that on this one particular day the princess lost her magical smile. She searched high and low for her beloved smile but she could not find it. The smile that brightened everyone’s life was gone and she had no idea where it had gone. Her cheeks forgot how to do anything but frown. Her lips once filled with laughter pooched out in sadness and upon her little forehead wrinkles began to appear. Her beautiful blue eyes lost their sparkle and her heart grew heavy with sadness. Even her tummy felt sick for she had no desire to frolic anymore.
“How could I be so absent-minded?” She asked with a sigh? “I don’t know!” Exclaimed the long-eared rabbit who had been her playmate for a very long time. We can’t just give up. We will call for a meeting in the meadow and everyone will search until we find your royal smile.
Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Nowhere was her smile to be found. She quickly became aware of the great value of a smile. The butterflies smiled at the birds and the bees. The rabbit’s laughter sounded throughout the meadow but no laughter came from the little princess. So it was that this land once filled with joy now longed for the smile of the little girl. So the search continued day and night for her lost treasure.
One afternoon as she was wandering through the forest she came upon a large tree that had fallen down. Its trunk and roots were exposed making a nice seat for anyone passing by. Feeling tired, she climbed upon the huge trunk to rest her weary feet. She sat there wandering what would become of her now. She had carelessly lost that which cannot be found. Just then, as if from nowhere, there came a strange little voice. “I’m sorry to bother you. You look so sad. Is there something I can do to help you?” The voice above her head asked. It seemed to be kind and caring but so absorbed in her grief; she did not even bother to look to see who was talking to her. “You can’t help me! No one can help me!” She snapped angrily. “I want my smile back because I am so ugly without it. Just look at me!” She groaned as her hands searched her small solemn face.
“Oh my goodness! You do have a problem!” answered the chipmunk. “I’ve never ever heard of anyone losing their smile. I certainly would be sad if I lost something that valuable!”
“I know! I know!” She screamed out. “I don’t need another lecture. I just need to find my smile and I need to find it before I turn into an ugly old woman!” She cried in desperation. Now the chipmunk was a very busy worker and so were all those in his family. It was the time of year when all animals worked really hard preparing for the coming months when there would be nothing at all to eat. “I think I might know where to might find it” he said very seriously. He looked as if he was in deep thought.
“Where is it?” She asked anxiously, hopping off the tree trunk and standing straight up, her hands propping themselves on her small hips.
“I’m not real sure but there is only one place it could be and you will have to go with me to find it. It is through the forest, across a big lake and up one side of a mountain. It will take all day to get there so we will need to start early in the morning.” He continued. “If you have searched the forest and the meadows already then this is the only place left. If it is not there, then you may never find it.” He said looking down at the ground. Just a tiny bit of hope was all it took for the princess to become excited beyond measure. At last there was a remote possibility her smile might be found.
Sleep came quickly as did the dreams of the princess and all the creatures in the meadows. Asking permission to play in the forest the princess began dressing early the next morning. Instead of the frills on a dress, she wore blue jeans. Instead of her shiny slippers, she wore her leather boots. Brushing her long golden locks of hair and brushing her teeth, she was finally ready for the day’s long journey. Perhaps this will be my last day with this ugly face, she thought as she took one last look at herself in the mirror.
The sun became hot and legs became tired. All the creatures accompanied the princess through the thick forest, across the rippling lake and onto the rocky side of the mountain.
Her face was dirty from wiping the sweat. As they rounded the side of the mountain, the air was suddenly filled with unfamiliar sounds. All ears perked up and all eyes opened wide as could be. Where was this place? Who lived here? Everyone stood still taking in the wonder that lay before them. No one said a word.
Mushrooms that used to grow in the forest had changed into round white marshmallows all powdery and sweet. The branches on the tall trees hung heavily with striped candy canes. Thorn bushes were covered in pink blossoms and next to the blossoms grew an assortment of gum drops ready to eat. Row upon row in the fields grew tall stalks of candy corn, jelly bean bushes, chocolate peanuts and lots and lots of lollipops nodding their colorful heads. Even the apple trees were showing off their shiny sugar-coated delicious apples. Truly this was a land of magic.
“Oh my goodness!” Gasped the princess. “What an amazing place this is! Just look at all the delicious things growing everywhere. ”Her fingers anxiously picked candies and stuffed into her mouth. She could barely speak she had packed so much inside. No one had eaten all day and everyone was terribly hungry. Butterflies and bees licked up the sweet juices from the apples. The rabbits and birds filled their tummies with all the variety of candies they could eat. The frogs sat upon the marshmallows resting their weary webbed feet all the while nibbling on milk chocolate peanuts. It was a world unknown to mankind and a very few animals of the forest.
Suddenly a voice startled everyone and they all stopped chewing at the same time to see where this voice came from. There before them stood a wizard all dress up in his red satin pants and a purple robe that went almost to the ground. His neck tie matched his pants and his shoes were yellow polka dotted with orange shoe strings. Upon his head sat a pointed hat with stars and half moons of all sizes. In his hand was a long magic wand emanating a blue mist all around.
“Well bless my yellow boots! Who do we have here?” He asked his face covered totally with a smile as big as the sky.
“Oh! It’s just me! I’m sorry if I have eaten without asking first. I do have better manners” she stammered. “We came here hoping to find my smile. You see I misplaced it and we have looked day and night for a very long time.” Her voice was a bit shaken from the unexpected sight of the wizard. She swallowed the remainder in her mouth and continued to reveal her sad story. She was now lost somewhere between astonishment and wonder. It was very evident!
“Is that all?” The wizard asked.
“Is that ALL” Snapped the princess. “Can’t you see I have no smile. My face is becoming more and more like that of an old witch wrinkles and all.
“Well my darling child, what may seem terrible to you is quite simple to me. You see,
smiles are everywhere here. They spread from one person to another quickly. It’s the smiles and laughter that keeps our land magical. Why without smiles, our trees would never have fruit and our candies would run away. It’s the smiles and laughter that makes them want to stay!” He continued wiggling his long pointed nose.
As he spoke her eyes moved slowly absorbing all that lay before her. Her ears perked up listening to the kind and caring words of the wizard. Laying his wand aside, he removed his tall colorful hat. He motioned for her to approach him.
The rocks made a crunching sound beneath her shoes as she moved nervously towards him.
“Come and look inside my hat. I think you will be surprised at all the things I’ve put in there.” He grinned teasingly. His gold teeth glistened in the sun as his smile spread ever bigger over his face. Looking into the magic hat, the princess could not believe her eyes. The long-eared white rabbit that had long been her playmate sat there eating on a big orange carrot. “Your ears!” She asked. “You had two floppy ears and now you have only one in the middle of your head. What have you done?” She asked. Her hands quickly reached into the hat to retrieve her friend and to see what in the world had happened to his ears.
“Oh those!” He said with a blush on his face. “Well you see I decided to give myself a new look so I wound some red shoe strings around my ears to keep them from dragging on the ground. In doing so, the strings became tangled and now I can’t seem to get them lose.” He stammered, quiet embarrassed at the thought of this site he had created.
“My Goodness! I can help you untie your floppy ears. Here let me take a look”. As soon as the princess fingers touched the rabbit something strange began to happen to her. Her ribs began to tickle her and her cheeks began to stretch over her face exposing her dimples. Deep inside of her burst forth a roll of laughter. It was so funny she had to hold her sides.
“You found it!” The animals all yelled at once. “You have found your smile. It was hiding in the wizard’s hat all this time. It was then the princess realized her heart had become so filled with love; it had spread all over her body creating a huge smile accompanied with rounds of laughter. The frowns were gone. Once again her eyes sparkled in the sunlight and her red lips framed a huge happy smile.
“Well my dear lady! It seems that you have found something inside my hat that belongs to you. I hope you will not be so careless ever again. Smiles are what makes magical things happen and they spread near and far. One can give them away everyday but they multiply by leaps and bounds. Now unwind the ears of your dear friend and let the party begin for a smile is a very precious thing. The world would be just like it is here if everyone would just share it.
“Way to go!” The chipmunk yelled toasting a big glass of pink lemonade. “Way to go my dear sweet princess! Way to go!”
So the princess returned home accompanied by all her forest friends. Her feet were tired, her tummy stuffed from all the delicious candy but most of all a big smile spread across her beautiful face.
To this day the smiles have never again been misplaced and all the creatures everywhere continue to give bunches of them away.
Written by Sybil Shearin
All Rights Reserved.
Question for children: What did the little girl misplace?