Princess Rosie and Joey Owl
Princess Rosie of Rosieland skipped all around the palace grounds, happy in the sunshine, singing songs that Queen Mommy had taught her. She skipped into the woods a little way, in and out of the trees right on the edge because she wasn't allowed to go out of sight of the palace without a grown-up subject with her.
She had decreed that Rosieland would be a wonderful kingdom, where everyone could play every day without ever needing to work. Her subjects could have honeyed tea and sugar cookies every meal if they liked. Everyone in Rosieland was content and sang songs all the time, especially Princess Rosie.
High in the trees, Joey Owl watched the princess play, until she tripped over a tree root and began to cry. He flew down and landed on her shoulder.
Princess Rosie, are you hurt?" Joey Owl asked,
Princess Rosie was startled by the owl on her shoulder, his sharp toenails scratching her delicate skin, right through her dress.
"I am fine, but my dress! My beautiful lacy dress is torn! What will I ever do?" Princess Rosie answered.
"You should go back to the palace and ask someone very nicely to fix it!" Joey Owl said, thinking the answer was easy.
"But I decreed that no one should work in Rosieland! No one is allowed to fix anything!" Princess Rosie cried.
"Isn't there a magic fairy who fixes things?"
Princess Rosie shook her head sadly. "No. I don't know any fairies."
"No elves?" Joey Owl's eyes grew wide.
"I don't know any elves either!" Princess Rosie said sadly.
By that time, Princess Rosie had stood up and brushed herself off, as Joey Owl flew to a low branch above her head.
"The answer is simple, Princess Rosie, you will just have to change your mind. Decree that people are allowed to work."
"But then my subjects will be unhappy!" Princess Rosie said miserably.
"No," Joey Owl said. "That's not necessarily true. Sometimes it's good to work. It's a good feeling to know how to do a job that helps other people. It's called feeling useful. When you spend time learning how to do a job very well, it makes you feel very happy. And when a person is very good at something, it's said to be a gift. Everyone should be allowed to use their gifts."
Princess Rosie nodded, understanding. Joey Owl flew ahead of her back to the palace, and landed on her shoulder as she went inside. She told Queen Mommy of her dilemma, and what she planned to do about it.
All of Princess Rosie's subjects were gathered into the palace yard and Princess Rosie announced her change of mind. The people of Rosieland were allowed to work if they wanted to. This made everyone happy, to Princess Rosie's surprise, and she kissed Joey Owl's face as he sat on her shoulder. "You were right, Joey Owl! Everyone is happy."
An hour later Lady Crystal, whose gift was sewing, and hence, she was the finest seamstress in Rosieland, handed Princess Rosie her beautiful lacy dress back, all mended, good as new.
Princess Rosie put it on right away and went outside to play. She saw people working in gardens and washing cars, and sweeping sidewalks. She'd never seen that before, but her subjects looked happy doing their chores.
And with Princess Rosie and her best friend Joey Owl watching over them, the people of Rosieland worked and played happily together forevermore.