There Comes a Time
Princess and the Goblin Sequel
Author's Notes: It seems like these days, none of the cartoons that come out are ever much good for younger kids. There's always subtle innuendo and crude humour, no matter what the rating. When I was searching on Amazon for a cartoon for my three-year-old niece I chanced upon one cartoon that had always been one of my favourites when I was little. I was thrilled to see it on DVD, and I plan on adding it to my collections. Anyway, seeing it again brought up old memories about a more innocent time. I can remember sitting watching The Princess and the Goblin and wishing that Irene and Curdie had gotten together. That's me, the hopeless romantic. Well, when I found it again, those desires were rekindled and since I've already written a few fan fictions, I decided "Why the heck not?" I admit that I haven't read the books in their entirety, but who cares? So, here is how I believe the Princess should have continued.
Disclaimer: I do not own The Princess and the Goblin nor do I own any of the affiliated characters.
Chapter One: Curdie
A cool gentle breeze blew through the trees high above the lonely valley. Here and there, oak and birch trees were bursting into vibrant flames of autumn colour. Mountain streams bubbled happily over the rocks for a few more weeks before the frost ebbed their flow. Birds twittered happily from their nests, soon to fly to warmer climates. Far below them, men continued their work. Deep down in the mines, a thick vein of silver had been unearthed. Miners scurried about, prying the precious metal from the rock and carrying it to the surface where it would then be purified and sent to the old king. Other than the brave men that worked those perilous mines, no one dared to live in this mountainous land, not after the events of ten years past.
In that time, when the land had been enjoying a time of peace, the king's young daughter had been housed in a half castle, half farmhouse while the king attended to his kingly duties elsewhere. A nanny and three scores of soldiers where posted there, to keep the princess safe, though no one believed that there would ever been any need for it. How wrong they had been. Deep down, in the bowels of the earth, further down than even the deepest mine shaft, the goblins had grown restless. Run down into these caverns hundreds of years before by men's laws, they harboured a deep-seated grudge against the 'sun people' still. They conspired to flood the caverns, forcing the miners out of their territory, but their prince, Froglip, was not satisfied with this alone. So they kidnapped the princess and took her deep below, set on marrying Prince Froglip to her, thus ensuring that he would be king of both the humans and the goblins alike.
It was only with the help of a brave young miner's son named Curdie that the Princess Irene was freed. Together, they foiled the hard laid plans of the goblins, flooding them with their own dam and forcing them to the surface during broad daylight. Now, as far as anyone could guess, the goblins were long gone, forsaking their underground lairs and choosing instead to travel to some other country. So the land was safe again, but the people were still wary of anything unknown to them, most everything that lay beneath the grassy surface of the earth.
After these events, the king refused to leave his precious daughter in the castle on the hill, but rather took her with him to his greatest fortress. He had offered Curdie a place in his caravan for his brave deeds, but Curdie had decided rather to stay with his parents. The king had respected his answer and then driven off, his daughter's horse before his own and disappeared into the distance, not to be seen in the land of the mountains again for many many years to come. For weeks after their departure, Curdie refused to whistle, let alone sing. What had he to sing for? The goblins and their hideous pets where gone, and so too was his beloved princess.
And so it was, on the first day of fall some ten years later, that Curdie sat alone on his lonely rocky perch, high above the valleys. He came here often to think, to remember, and even to forget. He was on the eve of his twenty-second birthday and still he had no wife. This was unusual for a miner; his own father had married at eighteen to a wife two years his junior. But not Curdie. He had sworn never to marry, never to fall in love, and so far, he had held tightly to that promise. As the cold autumn breezes ruffled his curly brown hair, he gazed sadly at the dejected state of the castle farmhouse. The walls were in ruin, vines choked every window and nook and cranny. The highest tower, where Princess Irene had taken him to meet her ghostly great great grandmother, was falling apart, the roof broken in and sagging.
"Did those times really happen?" Curdie asked the wind. "Did I really fall in love with Irene? Or was it all a terrible dream?"
Off to his right, a whimpered was carried up to his ears. On a rock some fifteen feet below him, Curdie's pet dog stared sadly at his owner. Stiff grey and white ears perked up high on his head, his deep blue eyes gazing mournfully up into the chocolate brown eyes of the young man above him.
"I know, Cloud, I know. It's time to go home." Curdie sighed. Slowly he rose from the rock and skipped nimbly down to his faithful dog's side. "Mother will have a good, warn meal prepared for us by now. And I'm sure father will be out of the mines for supper. Come on, Cloud, you old rascal! Let's race!" Curdie shouted over his shoulder as he rushed down the mountainside and into the forest.
Cloud was not actually a dog, but rather he was a lone wolf that Curdie has rescued some six years before. His mother and siblings had been killed by a terrible rockslide, leaving him, a pup of only a few days old, to fend for himself. Luckily, Curdie and his father had seen the slide and quickly went to investigate. Within a matter of minutes, Cloud's whimpers floated down to Curdie's sensitive ears and the young orphan had a new home. Since that time, the two had been inseparable. They explored the mineshafts together, hunted together, ate together, and even slept together. In Cloud's blue-grey eyes, Curdie was closer than kin.
The two of them raced through the deep pine forests and over the many winding streams that were fed by the mountaintop's year-round snowcaps. With their hearts pounding heavily against their ribs and their breathing coming in great gasps, man and wolf arrived at their childhood home and opened the heavy wooden door. As soon as their feet passed the threshold, delicious smells wafted up into their nostrils, causing their mouths to water with hunger. Curdie's mother stood over the stove stirring a bubbling pot of stew.
"Ah! Curdie, you're back!" His mother sighed happily as she turned to greet them. "I suppose you were up on your lookout again, looking for the king's caravan to return." She teased merrily.
"Come on mother, I only go there to think." Curdie grumbled as he sat down on one of the beds. "I only watched for them when I was young."
"Yes dear, I know." She replied. "But you really should move on. It's been ten years now! You must choose a bride soon; you're our only son." She urged him.
He threw himself back on the bed and sighed, "Yeah, I know. Give me a little more time though."
"Huh! Too much more time and I shall see Sonya married before you! I shall be an old haggard woman by the time you have children!" His mother huffed, her hands set on her hips crossly.
"You need not worry about that happening mother!" Curdie chuckled. "She is only nine years old! I still have a few more years to decide."
The miner's wife stood there gazing at her son for a moment, taking him in. He had grown so tall and handsome in the years that had passed; he surpassed his father's height by nearly three inches. His childish lanky form had given way to a slightly thicker muscular build, evidence of many hard years' labour in the mines. The softer edges around his jaw and cheeks had melted away, leaving his face like the chiseled face of statue. His thick and unruly brown hair had grown long, though his mother always made sure it was no longer than his shoulders, and spent most of its time pulled back into a low ponytail. The aging woman knew that many of the other miner's daughters admired this aloof man dearly and that he chose not to acknowledge them, so it pained her heart so deeply now to see him as lonely as he was.
Just then, the front door swung open again and a slender young girl ran in and wrapped her arms around the older woman's waist tightly. "Mama! Parsnip is missing! She is gone!" The girl cried. She buried her face deep into her mother's apron and sobbed.
"There, there Sonya! I'm sure she's just wondering around the forest and will be back soon! There's no need to worry." The mother soothed her daughter and gently rubbed her curly brown hair.
"No, Mama! She is gone! I've searched for her all day long, and I have laid out her favourite bowl full of cream and called her name over and over and still she does not come back!" Sonya wailed despairingly.
From his place on the bed, Curdie watched his young sister as she cried and met his mother's hopeful eyes. "Maybe your big brother will be willing to search for her with Cloud." She said. Sonya's tears subsided as she pulled back enough to see her mother's face. "I'm sure he would be happy to help you find your kitten, wouldn't you?"
"I suppose so." Curdie sighed. Sonya squealed happily and raced to smother her brother in a hug. "Alright, no need for that," he said as he caught her in his arms. "Get me her blanket and Cloud can sniff her out."
"Oh, thank you Curdie! Thank you!" She bubbled as she ran to get a blanket.
"Don't be out too long, dear; it's getting dark." Their mother called to them as they exited their small home. "The goblins may be gone, but there are still bears and wolves out there."
"Don't worry, Mother. We'll be back with that darned cat before sundown." Curdie assured her. But just to be safe, he snatched up his quiver and longbow.
On their way out, they bumped into their father, who was just returning from his work in the mines. The siblings merely waved a quick goodbye and then disappeared into the forest, Cloud leading them on fearlessly. The man smiled warmly and waved back before entering the home.
"Rose, what are those two going out to do this late in the evening?" He asked as he hung up his workbag and pulled off his muddy boots.
"Parsnip has gone missing and Curdie volunteered to go search for her." She replied. "I've fixed you a bath in the other room, so that you can clean up before supper."
"Ah, my darling woman!" He sighed happily. He wrapped his thick arms around her thin shoulders and pulled her close. "You think of everything."
"Oh, enough of that, Thomas! I won't have you pawing on me with all that mine dust on you!" She said playfully as she pushed him away from her and towards the bath. "Go wash up!"
The tall man chuckled happily and made his way towards the steaming hot bath that his devoted wife had poured for him.
"Sonya, I told you we would find her." Curdie smiled down at his younger sister.
"Thank you Curdie!" She said, her arms wrapped tight around her precious brown cat. "You're the best brother anyone could ever ask for."
"Yeah, whatever." He sighed. "Come on. It's time we head home; the sun's already setting." Curdie gently pushed Sonya forward. "You go on ahead of me. I'll catch up in a few seconds."
The young sprightly girl nodded and bounded off towards their home, Parsnip held tightly in her arms. When she had disappeared through the thick trees, Curdie turned to address Cloud. The wolf had sniffed out Parsnip in record timing, finding her caught in a hunter's trap not even a mile from home. Hunters often laid traps around the forest, mostly for smaller game such as rabbits or badgers, and it was hardly unusual for an innocent house pet to get caught in one. But something about this trap had sent alarm bells ringing in Curdie's head. Cloud seemed to agree.
"Doesn't look right to you, does it?" Curdie knelt down next to Cloud and fondly ruffled his ears. The wolf whimpered as pawed at the odd trap. "I know. I feel the same way. I've never seen a trap like this one."
Gingerly he picked up the said item and turned it over in his long hands. The thing was crudely made; roughly cut thorn branches woven together with stripped bark. The bait, which Parsnip had found unsatisfactory, was some odd dead creature that Curdie could not seem to place in his repertoire. Who ever had made this trap was not a local here in the mountains, and certainly far crueler than any of the hunters that Curdie knew. With a sigh, he set down the trap and put his hand heavily on Cloud's wooly neck.
"Come on boy. Let's go home. I don't want to be out here at night." The wolf yipped happily and licked his owner's face several times before finally being pushed away. "Alright, that's enough!" Curdie laughed as he wiped off the slobber and rose to his feet. "We'll tell Father about this trap and come back tomorrow when it's light out. But for now, we had better go catch up to Sonya. I don't want her to end up missing like Parsnip was."
With that Cloud and Curdie set off. Within a matter of moments they rejoined with Sonya and her cat and continued on their way home. Just when the sun had laid to rest in the cradle of the mountains, the two miner's offspring arrived home. Smoke rose steadily from the chimney, as did the smell of venison stew, giving them strength to walk the last few feet in the crisp cold night. Inside they found their mother and father waiting patiently at the table, four bowls set in respectful places, a hot pot of stew steaming in the middle of the table. Immediately upon their entrance, Rose rushed towards them with her arms opened wide.
"Didn't I tell you she would be okay?" She said. She pulled her youngest child into a tight hug and looked up at her son. "Where was she at? Where did you find her?"
"She was caught in a hunter's trap about a mile away. Cloud sniffed her out with no troubles." Curdie said as he shrugged off his cloak and hung it on a peg near the door. "Father, I think it'd be a good idea if you come and take a look at this trap. It didn't look like anyone's that we know. Too crudely made." He sat down at the table and began to serve himself some stew as he spoke.
"Alright. But not tomorrow, there's a storm brewing." Thomas informed them as each member of the family sat down to eat.
"You won't be going down into the mines to work, will you?" Rose asked. After she had dished out food for her daughter and husband, she poured some into two bowls and set them down on the floor for the family pets.
"No, I suppose not. Too much risk of the mines flooding. In any case, there won't be a whole lot done tomorrow. Now enough of this dreary talk and let us partake of this wonderful meal you have set before us!"
And so the family sat down and ate gladly the meal their hardworking mother had prepared for them. Outside the darkness had settled its thick blanket over the land, sheltering creatures big and small alike in a shroud of secrecy. It was in this same darkness that an incredible evil crept back into the subterranean world of the mountains. A storm was truly brewing, and not just one of nature's making.
End of Chapter
Final Notes: Well! I wrote all that in one day! Gosh, didn't think I'd manage that. Oh well. I hope it's enjoyed. Please feel free to comment and critique where you see it necessary, but please no flames. This is my own work (aside from the story that began it all), therefore I can call upon my own creative license whenever I chose to do so. Okay, enough of my blathering. Please REVIEW!!!