“The King’s Son” by Angelica Cerda

Once upon a time there was a mighty, but loving, King who had a son who meant the world to him, the Prince. The King loved his son and his son loved him.

But the Prince, like most little boys, loved to have fun. If he could have it his way, he would run outside as soon as he woke up and not return until the sun went down.

But his father knew what was best for his son, so there were some rules to keep him safe. One of them was that the Prince could play, but not all day, so that there would be time to spend together.

The Prince loved his father, but wished he could play and have fun whenever he wanted. He wished there were no rules. That he could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

One day the Prince had an idea. If he ran away, he wouldn’t have to follow any of the rules. He would be free to do whatever he wanted. The Prince fell in love with the idea. So, the next morning, while it was still dark, he sneaked, as quietly as little boys can, out of the castle and headed towards the village.

The King heard his son sneak out, so he followed him. He watched as his son entered the village and disappeared out of sight. The King then stood at the castle’s entrance, waiting for his son’s return. The King’s servants tried to convince him to come inside or to seek after the Prince, but the King was wise and very loving, and knew it was best just to wait for his son’s return.

The Prince was so excited to be in the village. He dreamed off all the things he could do. He could spend the entire day at the park. He could fly kites as long as his heart desired. He could . . . suddenly, his tummy rumbled and he remembered he hadn’t eaten since last night. Very hungry, the Prince smelled something . . .

Up ahead was a bakery, and its window was filled with the yummiest of treats. The Prince thought to himself, “Without my dad around, I can eat all the desserts I want!” He ran inside and told the baker all he wanted.

The baker gathered all of the treats and told the Prince how much it would cost. The Prince told the baker, “I don’t have any money.” The baker told him that without any money he couldn’t get any treats. The Prince realized he had never had to pay for his treats before; he wouldn’t be able to have any.

However, a kind woman in line behind the Prince offered to pay for his treats. With great delight, the Prince thanked her and took off. The Prince, very excited, ate it all.

After a little while, though, he realized why he shouldn’t have so many treats. His stomach hurt very badly. The Prince found himself wishing that someone were there to comfort him and help him feel better. But the Prince was stubborn and decided he would continue to have fun anyway.

Next he went to the park, where he found all his friends playing. He soon forgot his tummy troubles and began to play.

The Prince had so much fun with his friends. They went down the slide, played on the swings, built a sand castle, and so on. He was having fun until it came time to climb on the monkey bars. All of his friends had their parents with them and their parents helped them across. When it became the Prince’s turn, no one was there to help him. He tried to reach the monkey bars, but realized he couldn’t. It’s okay, he thought to himself, I didn’t really want to climb on them anyway.

Before long it was well past noon, and most of his friends were beginning to go home. The Prince suddenly felt very lonely. Then someone tapped on his shoulder. “You could fly kites with my dad and me if you want!” The Prince told his friend yes, and they ran off to go fly kites.

The Prince and his friend had so much fun, until his kite got stuck in a tree. The Prince tugged and tugged, but it wouldn’t come loose. He simply wasn’t strong enough. The Prince decided to ask for help. But his friend was already leaving. Someone would have to help him get his kite tomorrow.

The Prince looked around and realized he was now all alone, and the sun had set. Where will I go? he wondered. The Prince began to walk aimlessly around the village, unsure of what to do. As he walked, his tummy began to rumble once again. The Prince soon began to feel very sorry for himself. Then, suddenly, the Prince smelled something awful.

Up ahead was a pigsty, and in it was a bunch of pigs rolling around in the mud. The Prince thought to himself how much fun it would it be to play in the mud. So he jumped in and wrestled the pigs and was soon covered from head to toe. The Prince had so much fun getting muddy, but it soon got very dark and very cold, and the Prince remembered that he was still very hungry.

The pig farmer came down from his house and began to feed his pigs; he did not see the Prince, for he was covered in mud. Once he dumped the food, he went back to his home. The Prince, very hungry, wondered what pig food would taste like. He went up to the food pen and discovered it was very gross looking and smelling, and he couldn’t bring himself to eat it.

The Prince now felt very bad for himself. He looked up at the farmer’s cozy home and wished he could go back to own. Then the Prince realized how much he needed his dad and his rules. Playing all day was fun, but not once everyone went home and he was all alone. And eating lots of yummy desserts only made him sick. The Prince realized how much his dad took care of him. It was time to return home.

He began to walk home, covered in mud, hungry, and cold. He wondered what his father might do when he saw him. What kind of trouble would he be in? The Prince entered the gate to go into the castle.

The King had spent the whole day waiting for his son to come back. He refused to give up on his son. And his heart was filled with much delight to see his son returning home. The King ran up to him and wrapped him up in his arms. The Prince was filthy, but the King didn’t mind; he was just glad to have his son back.

The Prince was very surprised that his dad was so happy to see him; he thought for sure he would be very mad. The Prince told his father how sorry he was. The King said, “Do not worry—we all make mistakes. I am just happy to have you back in my arms again.”

Copyright 2015 Angelica Cerda

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