King GarGar and Queen Pirouette lay in bed together. While GarGar was fast asleep, Pirouette was wide awake. She lay on her side facing GarGar who was flat on his back. She traced the outline of his profile with a finger. After over ten years of marriage and a passel of children, the passion between them still burned brightly. As she gazed at her husband, Pirouette felt desire awaken in her heart.
“Wake up, GarGar!” She whispered in his ear. “Wake up and make love to me.”
The painter that the King and Queen hired sat mixing paints on his pallet. He was trying to match the colors of the ceremonial clothes they wore: ermine furs and golden crowns. Enthroned in their full regalia, they made quite a pair. Poor Helmut! (For that was the painter’s name). Try as he might to get a bead on the King, it was made difficult by GarGar’s inability to keep still. Even a pinch in the arm from Queen Pirouette failed to persuade His Majesty to keep still. With mounting frustration, Helmut began to stab at his pallet with his brush with a vengeance.
With thinly veiled anger, Helmut whispered hoarsely, “If only Your Majesty would keep still…”
King GarGar and Queen Pirouette held hands as they walked along the shoreline. It was a sunny day, a perfect day to be at the beach. Seagulls and turns performed their arial dances, filling the air with their cries. An osprey made a great show of diving into the water to catch a fish. The waves beat gently against the sand. Barefoot, Pirouette let the water run over feet, up to her calves.
“Do be careful,” said King GarGar. “You’re going to pull us into the tide!” He tugged at Pirouette until they were a foot away from the waves. He marveled at his wife’s tiny footprint. “You’re like a little bird,” he said to Pirouette. “I love you so.”
Like a sweet summer zephyr, Queen Pirouette breezed into the ballroom. Because most of the men were off fighting in King GarGar’s war, dance partners had to be recruited from the palace guards. Pirouette motioned toward the Captain of the Guards, indicating that he was to be her first partner for the night. Pirouette planned to dance with as many handsome men as she could that night. Devil take the hindmost! She was tired of living like a nun. Tonight she planned to have fun!
Queen Pirouette looked out the window and sighed, as her husband, army in tow, disappeared over the horizon. Moments like this made her feel the weight of the world crushing her delicate shoulders. Such was her dismay, that she would hide herself in her private chapel away from the entire Court. Even her ladies in waiting and other servants were locked out. Kneeling at the altar, hands folded in prayer, she spoke in hush tones.
“Heavenly Father, grant me the strength to carry on alone, until that time when my husband sees fit to stay at home, rather than running off with his army at the drop of a hat!”
Queen Pirouette looked at her husband with seething resentment. What she had just witnessed was enough to make her reach for the dagger that she always wore on her belt. How dare he! She thought to herself. King GarGar and Lady Carelip were dancing. When one of her garters fell onto the floor, His Majesty replaced it on Her Ladyship’s leg. In front of the entire Court! She did not suspect them of having an affair, but seeing her husband behave so intimately with a lady of the Court would start tongues waging.
Later that evening, when the ball was over and everybody had retired to their respective quarters, Queen Pirouette pounced on King GarGar. “You son of a bitch!” She hissed. “Lay hands on the children’s nanny again and face the consequences!”
Queen Pirouette was born and raised in the countryside. Most of her childhood was spent under the care of her grandmother, who was the old king’s younger sister. As the years progressed, this relative and that relative would pass away, leaving young Pirouette alone and blue. On the other hand, each death moved her one step closer to the throne. When she turned fifteen years of age, a summons came from the palace.
“Time to say goodbye to your woodsy haven, Princess Pirouette. I am summoning you to the palace for an important announcement. It will be in your best interest to be present, front and center when I make my announcement.” Princess Pirouette (the elder) crumpled up the letter from the old king and tossed it onto the floor.
“Grandmama!” She shouted. “I’ve been summoned to the palace!”
All the children in the palace, including the royals, were gathered together on the green for the occasion of la Princesse Pirouette la plus jeune’s birthday. Already a young lady at the age of twelve, she tolerated the presence of Patches, the Court Jester, as entertainment for the younger children. Patches, for his part, was doing his best to keep the children amused until nightfall when there would be a fireworks display. In the meantime, as the children devoured cake and ice cream, Patches performed numerous magic tricks. Some were banal, as when he pulled a coin out of Pirouette’s ear. However, when he pulled a rabbit out of his hat, the children were impressed.
Queen Pirouette lay in bed holding her new baby daughter Princess Serenity. The baby’s body heat felt comforting against Pirouette’s body. She had just finished feeding the little one who was now in a sound sleep. Queen Pirouette felt herself drifting in and out of consciousness. Although the baby’s delivery had not been particularly difficult, Her Majesty was exhausted. I daresay you will be the last new member of the family, thought Pirouette, gazing down at her precious burden.