The Princess and the Goblin was one of my favorite movies when I was young, and I recently bought it on DVD to watch it again and I also read the book. It will forever remain one of my favorite stories. I wanted to write a tiny little fan fiction based on it and this is my attempt. If wondering whether this is based on the movie version of the characters, or the book version, it is both intertwined (since I love both versions).
All characters are soley George MacDonald's.
So here it goes...I'm not sure if anyone will even read this, since it doesn't appear that The Princess and the Goblin is the most popular of fanfic archives. But I would still like to have it out in the open and part of my own collection of stories. And so here it begins.
Chapter 1: The Silver Thread
Deep amid a green forest of scented pine trees, a young princess was far from home. But that is no need for anyone to be alarmed, for the princess was traveling from her present home to what had been her former home, and a home is never a strange place.
Indeed, although it was well past twilight and the darkness surrounded her on all sides, the princess, whose name was Irene, was not afraid. She was excited, so excited that she could barely keep still upon the white steed she rode.
Her young mind was filled with memories and with hope. The last time the Princess Irene had looked upon this old home, she had been approximately eight years old and the castle had been half flooded. It was there that she had bid farewell to a young miner and his family, there where she had left behind a magical grandmother in the tower.
If there had been anyone hiding amongst the shadows of the trees, which the reader can be assured there were not, they would have thought themselves that the princess resembled a magical goddess. Although she was not aware of it, the whiteness of the steed and the whiteness of her long, flowing gown caused a certain glow about her. Her long, golden hair cascaded down her back, longer than it had ever been, and around her brow circled a gold band instead of the pink one she had worn as a child.
Although Irene felt much older, there are still some who would consider her a child, being only fourteen years of age. But in her own thoughts, she was as good as grown-up, and her king-papa had not the heart to refuse her request to journey back to her childhood home.
The princess had at this time come to the end of the forest and atop her steed, found herself upon a mountain. And although it was dark, she could make out in the valley below a castle standing tall and no doubt, abandoned.
As Irene rode closer to her former home, she was slightly surprised to see that it was no longer flooded. It had been a long time since she had last seen it, a good six years at that, and she wondered where all the water had gone to. Surely it had not just evaporated? What the princess did not know was that, many years ago, upon the orders of a certain young miner, the water had been drained from the castle.
When she finally reached the gates, Irene could contain herself no longer, and she slipped off of the white steed's back and rushed to the iron portals. She did not bother to tether the animal, for she knew that the intelligent horse would follow the orders of the king and rush back to inform him that his daughter had arrived at her destination safely.
She stepped quickly and lightly through what had once been the courtyard, until she reached the door of the grand house. It was only once she stepped inside that she was filled with uncertainty.
Now, as I had before mentioned, the princess was in no way afraid; in fact, it was her fearlessness that often worried her king-papa and the members of his royal court. And she surely did not suspect that there was any outlaws living in the castle. But she realized it was a place so brimming with emotions and heavy with memories that she wondered if she was even ready to face it all again.
Strictly reminding herself that she had not journeyed a few days for absolutely nothing, she stepped into the Great Hall and instantly began the walk to her former room. She knew this way by heart and it was a desire deep in that heart to know whether her great-great grandmother still dwelled within the castle walls.
Irene was not prepared for the tightening in her stomach when she entered her room and saw it in complete disarray. She should not have been surprised; since no one had touched the room since the day the goblins had come searching for her. But to see the once cheerful nursery looking as it did made her feel rather uneasy.
Wasting no time, for she had not time to waste, she fell to her knees in front of a small door, and just as she hoped, the emblem of a red rose glowed brightly. She touched it immediately and the door opened.
The Princess Irene crawled inside, remembering fondly a time when she could actually fit through the door easily, and then stood to her full height amongst the wooden beams and the cobwebs. Perplexed that she could even see in the stifling darkness, she began to ascend the stairs.
She was so anxious to see her grandmother that the three staircases seemed to last forever. It was only once she got to the bottom of the ladder-like staircase, the one with the landing that held the three doors on top, that she hesitated.
Once again reminding herself that she had come to make the most of everything, she stepped carefully up the stairs. She went instantly into the door all the way to the left, which she knew well to be her grandmother's work room. But once she opened the door, she saw only the empty chair next to the spinning wheel, the moonlight casting a bright light upon both objects.
Realizing that perhaps her beautiful grandmother was in her bedroom, Irene stepped out of the room and went to the door all the way to the right. When she opened it, she saw the bedroom looked the same as it always had; comfortable and beautiful, with endless objects all around and dark blue walls with constant silver stars. And of course, the marvelous silver globe that hung in the center of the ceiling. But there was no grandmother to be found.
Vexed, Irene stood in the room, feeling very lost. She swept away all doubts that all the encounters of her grandmother had been merely dreams. She had established long ago that they were realities and she knew her king-papa, as well as the young miner Curdie, could attest to it.
Feeling her determination draining from her body, Irene whispered out loud, "Grandmother?" in the hopes that the old lady would appear. And when she did not, Irene sat on the floor and wearily put her head in her hands, not sure of what to do next.
It was at that moment that she felt something touch her right hand ever so gently, and as if in instinct, the princess put out her hand and felt along the air with her forefinger, on which a pretty gold ring sparkled. She felt a slight thread and in the soft light of the silvery globe, could almost make it out in the darkness. Her heart leapt as she realized this was a sign.
Irene hurriedly scrambled to her feet and began to follow the thread, just like she had done when she had been eight years of age. She followed it out of her grandmother's bedroom and down the stairs, all the many flights of them, until the silvery thread led her out of her room and out of the castle altogether.
She felt much better once she was out in the cool air and she followed the thread out of the gate and along up the mountain path, having not the slightest idea where it was taking her. But she knew that the thread had never led her astray and she had put her complete and utter trust into the fine object. But when the thread led her to a grassy cliff that sharply dropped away, the princess frowned.
Long ago, the thread had once led her to a pile of rocks, and it had taken her a little while to realize that she had to set aside the stones in order to go through. Irene knew this situation could be no different, although she found it very difficult to find a solution to this particular problem. To climb down would surely be impossible and to jump would be all the more foolish.
The princess had turned on her heel, away from the cliff, to look around her, and just as she did so, the grassy turf beneath her fell away, and she felt herself falling. She grabbed onto the edge of the cliff, where she dangled dangerously. Beside her, the thread dangled as well, but in her current predicament, it did not make her feel much better to know she was still following the right path.
She dug her fingernails into the ground, hanging out tightly, wondering how she would ever find the strength to pull herself back up…or the nerve to let herself fall.