Defining Princesses #blogbattle #vivacious

Back in less enlightened times, Princesses from the magical realms were expected to be vain. They grew up, focusing on their looks, surrounded by mirrors, still pools of water, ice-sheets and swooning swains. This was hardly surprising given a predominantly patriarchal, verging on the misogynistic bardship but in fact the requirement was based on the criteria laid down in Ungent the Ungallant’s seminal work on the Monarchical Peccadillos of the Despots of Fairyland (970 to 1231).

Times change and pressure mounted for a new definition of what made a true fairy princess. The well-regarded if usually avoided, especially at parties, Robust the Didactic declaimed (often and at length as was his way) that the rise of Evil Queens could be directly correlated to the imposition of the ‘vain’ requirement on impressionable princesses, with the standards being increasingly set at levels unattainable in a pre-Botox age without unconscionable amounts of magic and its application by Fairy Godmothers who, as it happened were dwindling in numbers as universities began to focus on mathematics and debating societies and less on alchemists, horoscopologists and godmothers of all hues and inclinations. Something new was needed.

A committee was formed and the issue debated. Finally a new improved definition was alighted upon. Princesses, henceforth should be V.A.I.N: Vivacious, Articulate, Intelligent and Normal.

As was the way in the magical realms, this was accepted to universal acclaim though many princesses protested. They had spent their lives, working on their beauty regimes in the hope that a peripatetic reptile might happen by and save them from a life of poisoned fruits, long walks in over hot hooded cloaks and interminable turns at the ubiquitous spinning wheel, in return for a cheeky snog in the bull-rushes.

So a proclamation was dispatched to the four corners (as well as along each side) of the magical realms, aimed at all the Lords Chamberlain, Factotae and other oleaginous civil servants: find a princess that fitted the new mould.

The bigger realms set to. The medium sized ones said they’d get round to it just as soon as they’d filled in the usual potholes in the yellow brick roads. The smaller ones hoped no-one noticed them. One of the smallest, Tinkety-Tonk, didn’t even realise there had been a proclamation. That was until a wandering page, Will Ingtocompromise passed through. Sitting in the Inn he listened to the local riff-faffery moaning about their latest Princess and how she wasn’t up to scratch. As the story unfolded, Will became determined to talk to the Lord Chamberlain.

This is what he heard. The problem was Princess Pointless. She hadn’t been in line for any sort of queendom; she wasn’t even the spare, just one of several meahs. She had received the usual training: dressmaking and depilation, patchwork and preening, but when that finished, she’d been expected to fade away, wail a bit and try and avoid teeth gnashing (it being accepted that meahs were entitled to a crown of sorts even if it was only an orthodontical one).

Instead Pointless had shown herself to be very unprincessy: articulate and intelligent, yes but that wasn’t normal was it? Not for a true princess. She wanted to be a mechanic, apparently.

None of that would have mattered until one day when a tragic accident involving the senior princesses, an incongruent unicorn and fifty one sachets of lube occurred.

Pointless had been in the middle of practicing her free diving technique using a portable sump, twenty two duo-decahedral cogs and a silicone-infused polyaplha-ester combo when she was summoned to the Palace. There it turned out Chaos reigned. The reason Chaos had been put temporarily in charge was because, in addition to the loss of the princesses, the King and Queen had lost their poise. While a search was instigated for the lost poise Chaos stepped in. It offered the usual reward for the poise’s return: – any one of (a) marriage to a minor royal but, this being a modern take, not a royal minor, (b) a tax-free happy-ever-after annuity and (c) transconfiguration of up to ten family members and acquaintances into any organism (subject to the usual bacterial and invasive species exclusions). On seeing Pointless, Chaos sniggered, mumbled ‘Perfect, I couldn’t have done better myself’ and offered her the crown. It was gone before the Lord Chamberlain had donned his ermine slippers of office.

Stu Bbornesspersonified had been Lord Chamberlain for a long time. He kept his head down and avoided making any decisions. That being his normal state he just nodded and left Pointless to it.

She did her best but she wasn’t vain and the good folk of Tinkery-Tonk felt cheated. Disquiet moved amongst the masses. ‘We need a proper princess.’

Things were getting desperate when Will appeared offering the Lord Chamberlain a solution. He handed him a copy of the proclamation. Stu read it. ‘You sure about this?’

‘Yes sir.’

‘She’s no one’s idea of normal.’

‘The new normal has yet to be defined. We can wing that.’

‘But what about this “vivacious” thingy? What’s it even mean?’

‘Let me take her to the Magical Citadel to be presented and I think everything will be okay.’

Pointless was presented at the next symposium. Her articulacy and intelligence were approved. Her normalcy was taken as a given, since no one knew what normal was any more.

As for the final criteria, well that was dealt with when she was announced on arrival.

‘You Majesties, Lords Chamberlain, magicians, witches and other spell-masters, I give you Princess… Viv Acious!’

This was written in response to this month’s #blogbattle

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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27 Responses to Defining Princesses #blogbattle #vivacious

  1. willowdot21 says:

    And nothing has changed to this day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, but for the lack of a unicorn and a mechanics certificate we could all be princesses ………

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brilliant as always Geoff

    Liked by 1 person

  5. V.M.Sang says:

    I loved that. Especially as you use my name. Well, part of it, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JT Twissel says:

    The new normal indeed! I like item C of the reward ….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You had fun as you romped through this – and passed it on to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. And you accuse me of a predictable conclusion!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: #BlogBattle Stories: Vivacious | BlogBattle

  10. aebranson says:

    Droll as usual! One of the little details I liked was your allegorical use of names, definitely harkening back to medieval and fairy tale literature. But what cracked me up the most was when you first mentioned how Normal should be a princess trait, I thought ‘Define normal.’ When the lord asked what normal was, and there was discussion of the new normal, you hit the nail on the head. And it ends quite nicely with nobody knew what normal was anymore. Congrats on abnormality!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kit says:

    You know what? Del Ightful and that rascal, Jo Cose, would love this too. What are they up to these days?

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      They’re forming a poetry collective with Son Netry and Pat Rachan backed by Vi Llinelle. Should be great through with those egos the risk of a split is always high.


  12. Gary says:

    Always does the stuff of nonsense craft a smile Geoff. So chuckled at pot holes in the yellow brick road… I saw a sign round here the other day “Pot hole squad now in your area.” A new one on me and not quite befitting the chap I saw with a spade tapping down a heap of hot stuff crammed into a voluminous sink hole…never one to hyperbolise of course.

    I was almost waiting for the witching decree whereby non-conformists to V.A.I.N should be promptly burnt as old school thinkers not befitting Norm…whoever he is..

    Fabulous once again.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Chris Hewitt says:

    Well, that’s the funniest thing I’ve read this week. Masterfully done. My only criticism is that I had to explain “What’s so funny?” to my partner and sadly it was the unicorn horn and extraordinarily specific quantity of lube. In context, it’s a hard sell, out of context, well you can imagine. So thanks for that. Keep up the good work 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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