Princess Phoebe Finds a Job

by Debra Friedland Katz -

Princess Phoebe sighed. Her tea had grown cold and she had barely touched her crumpets. Her two sisters, Princess Irene and Princess Marion, were helping themselves to seconds.

“What’s wrong?” asked Princess Marion.

“I’m bored,” said Princess Phoebe. “I want something to do.”

“I know what we can do,” said Princess Marion. She plucked a strawberry from a bowl and popped it into her mouth. “Let’s have a costume ball.”

“That’s not what I mean,” said Princess Phoebe. “I want a job. And don’t talk with your mouth full,” she added. “It’s rude.”

“A job?” said Princess Irene. “A princess doesn’t do anything – except tell other people what to do.” She rested her feet on the table and leaned back in her chair. “I think a costume ball is a splendid idea.”

“Please take your feet off the table,” said Princess Phoebe. “That’s not a lady like way to sit.”

Princess Irene placed her feet on the floor.

“We must get busy if we’re going to have a costume ball,” said Princess Marion. “We’ll have to see to the invitations, and the costumes, and the food.”

“The ballroom needs a new coat of paint,” chimed Princess Irene. “And we need to order more chairs.”

More chairs? thought Princess Phoebe. That might be something she could do.

The next morning Princess Phoebe went to see the carpenter.

“I’ve already spoken to your sisters, and I’ve started on the chairs,” said the carpenter.

“Wonderful,” said the Princess. “I’m here to help build them.”

“But…but…of course,” sputtered the carpenter, who was not in the habit of arguing with a princess.

The carpenter showed Princess Phoebe the tools and explained how to use them.

Princess Phoebe set to work. The hammer was heavier than it looked, and she narrowly missed cutting her fingers with the saw.

When Princess Irene and Princess Marion came to check on the carpenter’s progress, they were surprised to find their sister kneeling beside a chair, a hammer in one hand and a nail in the other.

“Can I sit in it?” asked Princess Marion.

“It’s ‘May I’,” said Princess Phoebe, “and yes, you may.”

Princess Marion perched gingerly on the seat. “It wiggles.”

“I know,” sighed Princess Phoebe. She laid the hammer and nail on the work bench and thanked the carpenter for letting her help.

The next morning Princess Phoebe called on the seamstresses.

“If you’re here about the ball gowns,” said the head seamstress, “your sisters have already ordered three.”

“I’m here to help make them,” said Princess Phoebe.

“Well…I…certainly,” stammered the seamstress, who would never think to argue with a princess. She showed Princess Phoebe how to thread a needle, handed her two pieces of fabric, and showed her where to begin.

Later that day Princess Irene and Princess Marion stopped in the sewing room to see how their new gowns were coming along. They were again surprised to find their sister. She had a bunch of fabric in her lap and a needle and thread in one hand.

Princess Phoebe held up the dress she had been working on.

“I’m not wearing that one,” said Princess Irene.

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all,” said Princess Phoebe. She put the gown on the table and thanked the seamstresses for their patience.

The next morning Princess Phoebe stopped in the castle kitchen.

“It’s too soon to start on the food for the ball,” said the head cook. “But we will be making cakes for afternoon tea.

Princess Phoebe lifted an apron off the hook on the wall and tied it around her waist. “I’d like to help.”

“Help?” repeated the cook. “Well…

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