Hi everyone! I’ve talked a lot this week about my main character, Maggie, but Emerald Bound has two leading ladies. So today we’re sitting down with Lindy, the girl who inspired Hans Christian Andersen to write the tale The Princess and the Pea in the first place.
Me: Hi Lindy, thanks for being with us today.
Lindy: You’re welcome. Sorry we have to meet out here under this water tower. In the dark.
Me: *yawning because it’s 2am and glancing around at our unusual surroundings* It’s okay. Whatever I have to do for the interview.
Lindy: I don’t have much time before they notice I’m gone—what would you like to know?
Me: Well, I heard you opened up to Maggie and told her about your past. What inspired you to tell the truth after all these years?
Lindy: I’m not really sure. I guess seeing Maggie escape the curse that destroyed my life gave me hope. Hope that one day I might also be free. That by helping Maggie I’d also be helping myself. *fidgets and looks down at her hands.*
Me: Well, that sounds like a good reason. But … is there something more?
Lindy: *leans closer to me, even though there’s no one around to overhear us* It was my fault.
Me: Excuse me? What was your fault?
Lindy: Maggie’s friend getting trapped. And the girl before her. And the girl before her and so on and so on for the past four centuries. It all started with me and I was supposed to stop it. I just … didn’t know how.
Me: Wait, what do you mean you were supposed to stop it? Who told you that?
Lindy: Calista. Right after it happened. She said I had the power to break the curse, but of course she never said how. I tried to do it anyway, really I did. But I never figured out how. And now so many people have died because of me. Not only the girls, but the citizens of my country when Calista waged war on them.
Me: You can’t blame yourself for what Calista did. That’s on her, not you.
Lindy: *sniffles* Maybe. But I still do. That’s why I’m helping Maggie. In four centuries, she’s the only one who escaped Calista’s curse and that gives me hope.
Me: Well, good luck to you both.
Lindy: Thanks, we’re going to need it. *glancing around at the shrubbery, as if she’s afraid someone is going to pop out at any moment and yell Boo!* Was there anything else?
Me: Oh, yeah, I had one other question. Where does Hans Christian Andersen fit into all this? What inspired him to write your tale and how did he get it so wrong?
Lindy: Mr. Andersen’s great-great-great grandfather was unfortunate enough to stay a few nights in our inn, back in Scandinavia. He was one of many that passed through without knowing what was really going on. The ones who came to give up their daughters, well, they knew a portion, but had they known the whole truth I have to believe they would have never agreed to Calista’s terms. Anyhow, Calista insisted we refer to the gemstones we collected each night as “peas” so that anyone who overheard us would believe we were speaking of supper arrangements and nothing more. Mr. Anderson must have overheard one such conversation and told his family. Over time, I presume the story grew and changed until little Hans heard it from his grandfather and wrote it down. Calista’s son was certainly charming—back then, anyway—perhaps that’s where the prince part came from. And patrons of the inn would come and leave their daughters in Calista’s care in exchange for a royal sum—perhaps that’s where the idea of princesses came from? Certainly Mr. Andersen’s tale is much more charming than the truth.
Me: Well, that’s an understatement. The truth is horrifying.
Lindy: *nodding and gazing into the night sky* That it is.
(At this moment in our interview, Lindy gasped, clutching her stomach as if she was in pain.)
Lindy: I must go. *rising and taking a shaky step toward the mansion where she lived*
Me: Wait, are you okay? What’s happening?
Lindy: *calling back to me over her shoulder as she stumbled away* I’m fine, I just … have to go.
I attempted to contact Lindy again the next day, but she hasn’t responded to my calls. I suspect we’ll have to read the rest of her story in Emerald Bound.Lindy, if you’re reading this, I sincerely hope things work out for you.