A sequel to the Very Hairy Fairytale.
By Claire Burianek
Princess Peluda’s alarm went off at 8:00 am, the same time she woke up every day, to her favorite song playing: “Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)” by Florence and the Machine. Dancing and singing around her room, she brushed her hair (just the hair on her head, not her long and silky body hair), using her hairbrush as a microphone. She put on her favorite day gown: a light and breezy lilac dress that came down to her knees, complete with built in shorts and pockets.
Rubbing conditioning lotion into her arm and leg hair, she greeted Bubba, her pet axolotl, with great enthusiasm, and he blew affectionate bubbles back at her. She briefly dragged a mascara wand on her eyelashes, which she had just trimmed (they grew bushy like her body hair) and, as the song ended, half skipped, and half ran downstairs for breakfast.
As she entered the dining room, she kissed her father on the cheek and piled ten pancakes on her plate. After swirling a tower of whipped cream and syrup over them, she began eating them, which only took her about 5 minutes- without her facial hair, she was much more efficient at eating.
“What are your plans today, my Peluda?” asked the King.
She responded, “nuffing muck- juft meeding wiff fum villagerf to difcuff their bufineffef”. He looked at her, puzzled- he had no idea what she had just said- but she finished eating and ran back upstairs. He shook his head. He had certainly raised an odd daughter indeed!
Back in her room, Peluda hastily changed into a short-sleeved shirt and pants and threw her (head) hair into a messy bun. Placing Bubba carefully in his travel tank, she opened her bedroom door, peered along the corridor to ensure no one would see her, and snuck out a window, using ivy growing on the outer wall to climb down safely.
Once outside, she sighed a breath of relief, and continued through the garden, keeping an eye out to avoid any gardeners she might encounter. At the back of the garden was an ancient apple tree. She swung herself up onto the nearest branch and continued climbing until she was level with the garden wall. Checking one last time to make sure no one had spotted her, she jumped over the wall, landing cat like on the ground outside the wall and cushioning Bubba.
Now that she was free from prying eyes, Peluda meandered along the dirt path until she arrived at the ocean. Standing on the edge, she called out: “hey Nellie!” Her voice echoed around the beach, and after a pause, a cluster of bubbles appeared on the surface as a giant spike emerged from the water. In a moment, the creature was revealed- Nellie the narwhal had risen to the surface.
Nellie seemed quite excited indeed to see Peluda. “Hi friend!” she called out, “what brings you here to visit me today?”
“I need a favor” Peluda confessed. “Have you heard of the invisible crown rumored to be left in a shipwreck near here?”
“Yes” Nellie said, “although it is very well hidden. No one has been able to find it!”
“I know this” Peluda replied, “but I found something in the castle library that might lead us to it.” She pulled a folded piece of paper from her pants pocket. On it was a map with an incantation sprawled across the top. She showed it to Nellie. “There’s a simple magic spell one can say that will cause the crown to glow and be quite easy to find.”
“Why do you need to find this crown so badly anyway?” asked Nellie.
“Because the wearer of the crown will be able to breathe underwater, and then I could come swim with you whenever I want!” exclaimed Peluda.
“Wow, that would be so cool! If you give me the map, I’ll do my best to the retrieve the crown” said Nellie, and Peluda passed the paper to her. Nellie waved goodbye and disappeared once more under the water. After Nellie had left, Peluda and Bubba made their way back to the castle, pausing occasionally to eat berries and examine ladybugs. Peluda snuck them back over the garden wall and back into her bedroom without a single maid or servant noticing.
By this time, the sun was sinking, and she barely had enough time to brush her (head) hair again and change back into her gown from the morning by the time her father usually ate dinner. She bustled into the dining room, struggling to disguise how out of breath she was, as the servants were carrying out the food. Settling into her chair, she greeted her father and inhaled the smells of the food deeply.
“Hello daughter” King Alastor greeted her. “Did you enjoy your day?”
“Yes, very much” she replied.
“Is there anything else?” he inquired. She looked at him, heart beating loudly. How did he find out? He would never approve!
“Nope, nothing at all,” she responded, and, feigning a yawn, began to stand up. “I really should be getting to bed- it’s been such a long day after all.”
“Alright then, good night my love” he said, still looking rather upset about something. Once she got back upstairs to her room, she fed Bubba his dinner, breathing a sigh of relief. Her father was a kind man, but he would never understand her desire to visit her narwhal friend when she had so many princess duties. She did love serving her people, but she longed to explore more outside Underlig, and Nellie could help her accomplish that.
The next morning, she repeated yesterday’s events- breakfast with her father, then sneaking out to see Nellie. This time, however, unbeknownst to her, King Alastor and one of the gardeners followed her to see where she was disappearing off to. When she finally made it to the beach, she called out for Nellie, and just like the day before, Nellie rose to the surface, but this time, she held a glowing item.
“You did it!” Peluda squealed, running into the water to embrace her friend. “I knew you could find the invisible crown! Now we can explore all the ocean together.” She put the crown on her head, but as soon as she did, King Alastor popped out of the brush behind them.
“Daughter?” he questioned her, looking quite hurt. “You wish to run away?”
“No, father, I- I love it here in Underlig, but- it is quite a small kingdom to spend one’s entire life in. I remember when I was little, you told me stories about how you sailed around the whole world! I only wish to travel with my friend, Nellie”- at this, Nellie waved hesitantly- “and then I’ll return home, I promise!” She paused, waiting for her father to respond. When he spoke, it was with a warm voice.
“Of course, my daughter, I never meant to make you feel as though you are a prisoner here. You still have some years to go before you will need to take full responsibility for the kingdom, and I see nothing wrong with you travelling as much as you need to. I only ask that you inform me of your whereabouts, so I don’t have to worry about you quite so much.”
“Thank you, father!” Peluda exclaimed as she embraced him. “I would not want to stay far away from you for long. Please take care of Bubba for me?” she asked, handing Alastor Bubba’s travel tank. He took it and agreed, and with that, Peluda and Nellie disappeared under the waves together, ready for their next adventure.