Katrina A Patton
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By Katrina Patton
The Tower is a new twist on a classic fairytale. In it, Prince Pepin finds himself imprisoned by his father, King Cornelius. The king was a mean and cruel man, who only cared about Pepin and treated everyone else with hatred. His decision to lock his son in the secluded tower located in the forest came from his jealousy and the desire to protect his only child. Although the king made Pepin’s life in the tower quite comfortable, he felt rather lonely living all by himself. His loneliness would be overcome when he met Marilyn. This unlikely savior was forced to move to one of the poorest villages in the kingdom as a child and leave her forest home behind. Through it all, she never forgot her love of the forest. Her memories of her childhood would fatefully bring her back to the forest. . .
“Marilyn!” The maiden shook herself out of her daydream. “Will you never pay attention? There are clothes to be washed and chores to be done and what is my daughter doing? Daydreaming about nonsense!”
“I’m very sorry mother.” Marilyn said, trying to keep the anger out of her voice, her eyes downcast at the floor. “I will try not to daydream anymore.” She returned to the tedious work at hand, thinking bitterly of the good-for-nothing monarchs that ruled over them. “What do they do that’s so important anyway? I bet all the money in the world that I could do their job better than they are. Why do we need them anyway? They don’t do anything to help us. They’re all a bunch of slimy swamp scum! Especially the-” Marilyn stopped, realizing that she was talking rather loudly.
Her mother stopped scrubbing at a dirt stain and stared at Marilyn. “How can you say such things about you the king and his family? There shall be no supper for you now. Finish your chores!”
Marilyn did as she was told. She washed and hung the remainder of the clothing, then moved onto the task of baking bread for supper, which she would no longer be able to eat. When she had finally finished her work, she made up her mind about what she would do next. She decided that going to the forest would be the best idea because she had loved it there ever since she was a little girl.
“I certainly hope getting away from here will make me feel better. I can’t stand much more of this peasant life!” She ripped off her apron and began to make her way to the forest, her mother calling angrily after her.
“Marilyn! Where are you going? There are more chores to do! You had better return before supper starts!”
Marilyn ignored her mother and rushed on faster. She ran through the market, past merchants selling their usual products. The marketplace was always full on Sundays. She almost ran into a stand selling tiny figures of dragons. She apologized quickly and continued running along the path that led to the forest.
Marilyn reached the forest just as the sun reached its zenith in the sky above her. She stepped into the shelter of the trees, feeling calmer already. Small bands of golden sunlight shone through the branches of tall oaks and beautiful pines. Marilyn walked on quietly, enjoying for the first time in what seemed like forever, the peace and harmony of taking a walk through the woods.
She stepped carefully along the path. It hadn’t been used much. The king told stories of dragons and monsters in the woods. These however, were only stories. He told the townspeople this to keep them away from the tower. Marilyn tried, vainly, to convince them that he was lying but it never worked. Just when she was getting a few of them to believe, her mother would scold her in front of everyone and the townspeople would assume that she was making stories up, after all, most young girls made up stories. Why would Marilyn be any different?
She had always known the real reason why the king kept the townspeople away. She had not just heard rumors, though there were a few here and there that got close to the truth. She knew the whole story, and was one of the few who did. How could she not know when she herself, was partially involved in the whole situation?
She was the small girl Pepin had seen. It was her house that was destroyed to make that retched tower and that was where she would be going today. She had only returned once to the tower since she and her mother had been forced to live in the village. She would have come sooner but her mother forbade her. This was why she could never return here to see the tower, this and the fact that the king threatened them when they left the forest that day. If they ever returned to see the tower, they would be put to death. Of course, this was an empty threat because she knew the king would never kill her for going to see the tower, or at least, she hoped that he wouldn’t.
The day she turned five was the day the king had decided to tear down her house. They had a wonderful life before the king had come. Her mother hadn’t had to work. Her father had been a woodsman before he died, and he earned a lot of money chopping down a few trees now and then to make necessities for people. He never wasted any of the wood he cut. Everything was used, which also helped Marilyn’s mother later. After he died, she continued to gather only the things they needed. Marilyn missed her father dearly but even life in their small house after his death was better than the one she had now.
She had lived with her mother in their two-room house. They ate food from the forest and her mother, being a very smart lady, taught Marilyn how to read and write by the age of five. It was when Marilyn was searching for her present around the house; her mother hid them every year, when they got a knock on the door and their lives changed forever.
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