Princess Bess and The Big Blue Problem

I wrote this story for someone I know who has a distinctive and visual disability (we're going to make a book together), and as I was reading back over it I thought it was quite pertinent to B also. The difference with B is he is absolutely unaware of the stares, it's my other kids that have to deal with the barrage of attention when we're out. Attention for all the wrong reasons might I add! Enjoy..

Princess Bess and the Big Blue Problem

Once upon a time in Amarillo Land there lived a princess. Her name was Bess and she lived in a castle with King Daddy, Queen Mummy and her baby brother Prince Tam. The castle had high walls and was decorated with beautiful flags and it was most definitely Princess Bess’s favourite place to be.  When Princess Bess was a baby, she spent lots of time in the castle with Queen Mummy and King Daddy. Being in the castle made her feel safe and warm.
Princess Bess was a little different to everyone else in Amarillo Land. All the other people she knew had bright yellow hair. This yellow hair was shiny, soft and golden and Princess Bess wished she had hair just like theirs. Her hair was blue- the same kind of blue as the deep clear sea. No matter what she did, it stayed blue. Once she spent a whole week eating bright yellow custard to try and change it, and another time she coloured her hair with 13 yellow felt tips. Still, her hair was blue. Her family told her all the time how special it made her but Princess Bess just couldn’t see the specialness. All she saw was how different she was, and it made her grumpy and cross. She looked in the mirror and saw a big blue problem. When she went out of her castle to school she knew people were looking at her and it made her feel all gloomy inside. Didn’t they know she couldn’t help it? Didn’t they know that’s just the way she’d been made? Another thing about Princess Bess’s hair that made it even more annoying- it got longer and longer and would not stop growing.  Even if she cut it, the next day it would magically return to it’s swishy blue longness. Sometimes it got caught on things and hurt her, making tears well up in her beautiful eyes. Other times it looked all messy because she couldn’t brush it properly and it tangled up like spaghetti. It made her cross.
One day on her way to school, Princess Bess met a frog hopping along the path. He wasn’t blue or yellow; he was green like the leaves rustling in the trees above. To her surprise, the frog began talking to Bess. At first the princess was a little confused- she stopped walking and stared at the bright green frog. ‘Hello,’ he croaked, ‘my name is Fred. What’s yours?’  ‘Err,’ stuttered the Princess, trying to find the words and wondering whether chatting to the frog was some sort of weird dream. ‘Er, my name is Princess Bess.’ Fred smiled a big froggy grin. ‘Why are you staring at me?’ he asked. ‘I’m sorry,’ answered Bess. ‘I don’t mean to be rude, it’s just I’ve never met a talking frog before.’
‘You know something?’ Fred said. ‘I’m the only one, the only talking frog in all of Amarillo Land. Sometimes I feel lonely. I don’t think any of the other frogs like me because I am different. Sometimes they laugh and point. They stare at me with their big eyes and it hurts my feelings. I don’t know why they don’t understand, I mean, it’s not my fault I was born with a voice instead of a croak.’ As the frog spoke he started to cry, and wet tears rolled down his face and dripped into a small puddle on the floor. Princess Bess knew exactly how Fred felt. She told him all about her blue hair, about how she wished she had yellow hair like everyone else, about how everyone stared at her and how sad it made her feel. She told him all about her big blue problem. Fred the frog listened carefully, and scratched his head. Princess Bess couldn’t be sure, but it looked like Fred was brewing up an idea. ‘Hey! When I met you just now and said hello, you stared at me. I know you weren’t trying to be mean, because I can see the kindness in your eyes. You were just curious right?’
‘Um, yes. I was just wondering why a frog was talking to me. I had never seen that before,’ stuttered Bess, thinking about whether Fred would be upset with her for staring.
‘When people haven’t seen something before, they stare. You stared at me. We would both stare if we suddenly saw a giant flying saucer in the sky. Maybe instead of thinking people don’t like us, we should think about asking them why they are looking. I think the reason may be because they haven’t seen anything as unique as us before. ‘
Princess Bess thought hard for a moment and realised the frog was right. Although she didn’t like people looking at her blue hair much she had to agree, everybody stares when they see something unique. Unique means super special and one-of-a-kind, just like a blue-haired princess, or a talking frog. She giggled when she thought about the talking frog hopping around at her feet.
‘So,’ she said slowly, ‘Maybe instead of getting all gloomy inside, we can ask those people WHY they are staring at us, just like you did to me. Then we can chat to them and make new friends.’ Fred nodded and smiled. ‘I used to think about my voice as my big croaky problem, but now I’ve met you because I can talk. That’s not a problem, that’s a great thing!’

Princess Bess thought about it. Fred was definitely right. If everyone was looking at her, at least she would always have people to chat to, even if they did want to talk about her blue hair. Maybe sometimes talking about her blue hair instead of trying to change it, or pretend it wasn’t there, was the right thing to so. She set off down the road to school chatting all the way to her new friend. With Fred by her side she thought she might be able to do this- maybe she could look in the mirror and smile tonight. Instead of a Big Blue Problem, today it would be her Big Blue Different. After all, different always has good bits too………


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