A Lie, a Bet, and a Bargain
I quickly learned my idea of running away had been that of a spoiled child. A few nights of sleeping on the hard ground and realizing you don't know how to start a proper fire can cure anyone. Part of me wanted to go back, ignore the pitied stares, and live my life avoiding spindles. That part was quickly beaten down by the rest of me. I had the chance to do something, I was just having trouble with the doing part. The motivation was there, I just didn't have the means to do what I set out to accomplish.
At the castle, it had been simple to see the path I needed to take: find a fairy, get the curse lifted, live a long and healthy life. But I had gotten perhaps two hundred yards away from home when reality set in; I couldn't simply walk up to shopkeepers and ask them for directions to the nearest fairy. I was a runaway princess. Any person would give their right hand to bring me back to my father for some sort of reward. Even farmers who lived far from town gossip couldn’t help me.
Fairies tended to like their privacy. Not everyone knew where I could find one, let alone one powerful enough to lift my curse. When I finally mustered up the courage to ask, I was often laughed at. One man even offered to buy me a drink, telling his friends he had found the new village idiot. I ran, terrified by their soured stench and meaty hands. It didn't take long before I stopped asking. Questions brought more attention, and I already had enough of that on my own.
Apparently, golden hair was an oddity amongst the common people. They all tended to have darker hues like brown and black. Once or twice I saw what could have been red, but it was probably my eyes playing tricks on me. I learned to keep my hood up, which they didn't like either. It gave the impression I was closed off from them, separate, a trouble maker. If people took the time to stop looking at my hair, they noticed my eyes. A few made quick gestures to ward off the devil when they noticed their odd color. Others would just hustle away.
I learned to avoid small towns altogether. They typically didn't have anything to trade with or sell, not even when I offered outrageously high sums. Things were scarce in the country; more so, I suspected, than my father knew. The absence of spinning wheels made life extremely hard for the people. Before my birth, we had been one of the main distributors of yarn, thread, and knitted goods. Without them, the people were poor and starving. Their source of income had been ripped from them, all to save a princess they would never see.
My heart lay heavy. Many homes I passed had been abandoned; almost all were sheep farms. I learned to spot them by the large wooden fences one man told me were corrals, used to keep the sheep in line during shearing season. I would fix this. When my curse was lifted, I promised myself I would help the people. I would try to heal the damage my birth caused. Did the fairy who cursed me realize the repercussions such a thing would have? That by trying to force those higher up to see the people's suffering, she would emphasize it by a hundredfold? Looking out at all the abandoned villages made me doubt it. How many lives had her one rant ruined?
I became more and more ashamed of my parents. They could have kept me away from spinning wheels. I could have been taught the dangers of them. There hadn't been a need to ban all spinning wheels. To burn their own people's livelihood for the sake of one person made me cringe. Guilt pressed upon me. I realized I didn't have to wait until I was free from a curse to help. From my current situation I could do little, but I knew someone who could. I could write to Winston, and tell him my parents needed to lift the ban on spinning wheels. I was taking care of myself. I didn't need for them to do it anymore.