THE MESSY PRINCESS. Bella is tired of tidying up after Princess Fifi - but what can she do about it?
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by Emma Laybourn

A Custard Castle story

Custard Castle

The sun rose over Custard Castle.

The King and Queen snored in their beds. Princess Fifi snored in her bed.

Up in his high tower, Wizard Watchit snored over his spell book.

Only Bella was awake.

Bella was the maid. Every day she got up at sunrise. She had to sweep all the three hundred dusty rooms in Custard Castle. Then she had to light all the fires.

Bella opened the cupboard under the stairs. First she took out a long, bristly broom, and tucked it under one arm. That was for sweeping the floors.

Then she took out a small, sleepy dragon, and tucked it under the other arm. That was for lighting the fires.

Bella tiptoed through the castle. SWISH went the broom, sweeping every dusty corner. AAAH went the dragon, yawning fire at every fireplace.

Last of all, Bella came to Princess Fifi's room.

"I hate this room!" she grumbled. "Fifi never puts anything away. Just look at it! How can I sweep in here? There are clothes all over the floor!"

While Princess Fifi snored, Bella picked up all the clothes and put them in the wardrobe.

Then she swept the floor. The dragon lit the fire. At last the room was warm and tidy.

Fifi stretched and woke. "Good morning!" she trilled.

She took a little golden bell from her bedside table, rang it, and dropped it on the floor. "Where's my strawberry juice?" she demanded.

Bella handed her a glass of strawberry juice. Fifi drank it, and dropped the empty glass on the bed.

"Dressing gown!" she sang. She put on her fluffy slippers and danced over to the wardrobe.

"Now, which one shall I wear today?" she pondered, pulling out one gown after another. "The pink velvet? No... The yellow silk? No... The green satin? No, no, no. Ah! This one!"

Fifi pulled on a gold lace dressing-gown, and dropped all the others in a messy heap.

She washed her face and threw the towel under the bed. Then she stood at the window to brush her hair.

"Lovely day for roller skating!" she said. She dropped the hair-brush out of the window and took her roller boots down from the shelf. "But first, I need breakfast!" Tossing the roller boots on to the rug, she skipped happily through the door.

Bella ran around the room. She tidied up the bell, the glass, and all the dressing-gowns.

As she bent to pick up the towel, she tripped over a roller boot. THUD went Bella as she sat down on the floor.

"I hate this room!" she growled.

* * *

Princess Fifi had a busy day. She had to:

  eat breakfast
  choose her dress
  go roller skating
  read her Bumper Book of Princes
  eat chocolates
  change her dress
  play some tennis
  and try on all her jewellery.

Fifi taking all the dresses out of her wardrobe before 
dropping them on the floor

Bella had a busy day. She had to follow Princess Fifi around the castle, picking up:

  roller boots
  the Bumper Book of Princes
  chocolate wrappers
  more dresses
  tennis balls
and all the Princess's jewellery.

By lunch time, Bella was fed up. "I've had enough!" she said, stamping into the kitchen.

The Cook, Wizard Watchit, and Jack the servant boy were there, eating their lunch. Princess Fifi was eating her lunch upstairs with the King and Queen, and dropping bread rolls on the floor.

"I spend all day tidying up after Fifi!" wailed Bella. "She never puts anything away! What can I do?"

Jack thought about it.

"Pile all her things in a big heap," he suggested, "and get the dragon to set fire to them."

"I'd love to!" said Bella. "But I'd get into terrible trouble."

The Cook thought about it.

"Ask Fifi politely to put her things away," she said.

"I've tried that!" sighed Bella. "It doesn't work."

Wizard Watchit thought about it.

"Hmm," he said. "I have an idea."

"Do you know a spell that I can use to make her tidy?" asked Bella hopefully.

"Better than that!" said Wizard Watchit. "I've got a plan. Listen..."

* * *

The sun rose over Custard Castle. Princess Fifi stretched and woke.

"Strawberry juice!" she trilled. She reached out for her golden bell, and found -
  - a sock.

Fifi sat up in bed. Bella was lighting the fire with the dragon.

"Where's my bell?" demanded Fifi.

"On the window-sill, of course!" said Bella.

Fifi jumped out of bed, and landed on her hair-brush.

"Ouch! What's that doing on my rug?" she cried. "Where are my fluffy slippers?"

"In the wash-basin, where they belong," said Bella.

"What?" Fifi limped over to the basin. "My lovely slippers are all soggy!" she wailed. "And where's my toothbrush?"

"In the wardrobe, of course," said Bella. "Where else?"

Fifi threw open the wardrobe. An enormous pile of bread rolls tumbled out.

"Where are all my clothes?" she gasped.

"I threw them out of the window," answered Bella. "That's right, isn't it?"

"No, it isn't right!" cried Fifi. "It's as wrong as can be! What's the matter with you?"

Bella rubbed her head. "Oh dear!" she said. "I fell over your roller boot yesterday, and banged my head. I must have lost my memory. Doesn't the toothbrush belong in the wardrobe?"

"No, it does not!" said Fifi. "Watch me!"

She carried the toothbrush over to the basin.

"The toothbrush goes here!" said Fifi. She picked up the wet slippers. "Slippers go under the bed! Jewellery goes in the box - not hanging from the lampshade! And my Big Book of Princes should not be in the flowerpot!"

Fifi ran around the room, putting everything back in its right place. It took her ages.

"That's better!" she said at last. Then she looked at the clock.

"I'm late for breakfast!" she wailed. Snatching an armful of dressing-gowns from the cupboard, she put on one and dropped the others on the floor.

Bella picked them up. "I'll just go and bury these in the garden," she said.

"No!" screamed Fifi. She grabbed the dressing-gowns from Bella and hung them up again. Then she fled from the room.

* * *

Bella had another busy day. She was putting away all Fifi's things. She put:

  Fifi's toast in the bath
  her ribbons in the teapot
  her Bumper Book of Princes in the dog-kennel
  her tennis balls up the chimney
  her chocolates in the cupboard under the stairs
  her jigsaw in the oven
  and her bedtime cocoa in the roller boots.

a puzzled dog studies Fifi's Bumper Book of Princes

Princess Fifi had a very busy day. She had to hunt down everything that Bella had tidied up.

Her ribbons were nearly as soggy as her toast. Her jigsaw was burnt to a cinder.

Her tennis balls were stuck in the chimney. The Bumper Book of Princes was covered in tooth-marks and doggy dribble.

And in the cupboard under the stairs, she found an empty chocolate box and a very happy dragon.

"I've had enough!" she wailed, tipping cocoa out of her roller boots. "I'm exhausted! I've spent all day tidying up! Where's my nightie?"

"In the fish-pond," answered Bella.

"Oh, no!" The Princess fell on the bed in all her clothes. "Hasn't your memory come back yet?" she groaned.

"Not yet."

"I hope it comes back soon!"

"I'm sure it will," said Bella, "as long as you keep on showing me where everything ought to go. It might just take a few more weeks."

Princess Fifi didn't reply. She began to snore.

Bella smiled, and tiptoed out of Fifi's perfectly tidy room.


Copyright © 2012 Emma Laybourn

Download the ebook of THE MESSY PRINCESS:
   Click here for Kindle (mobi) or click here for other ereaders (epub).

Read another Custard Castle story:
    The Thing in the Dungeon
    The Dragon under the Stairs
    The Marvellous Moat
    The Surprising Storm
    Princess Fifi's Frog
    Spring Clean
    Dragon Dilemma
    The New Witch
    The Other Ghost

You can read six more Custard Castle stories in the ebook:
    The Ghost of Custard Castle
Find out more here!

The cover of the ebook: The Ghost of Custard Castle, 6 children's stories by Emma Laybourn

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