Edited short story of self-love.

A long time ago there lived a princess in a far off town. She was beloved by her subjects but self love was a stranger. The princess feared much even with the support of all her subjects, her loneliness outshone the praise and gifts she received. Having these mixed feelings lead the princess to despair alone in her quarters daily.

One day, however, enough was enough and the princess thought that she would need to prove her worth in any way she could. The princess grabbed a quill and ink and began to write words to paper, but her handmaid delicately persuaded she reconsider. The last time the princess made a speech the crowds forced an applause and withheld their laughter so not to embarrass their beloved noble. In the handmaiden’s struggle a mishap occurred, and ink ran across the sheet before them. The princess, attempting to save her resources, began to move the ink across the page until it transformed into a pleasing pattern. The handmaid’s eyes sparkled as the pattern took shape. The two girls found themselves in glee and rushed to the market to purchase more supplies. If the princess could not write, perhaps she could paint.

In the coming weeks the princess dedicated herself to refining her pieces. Drafting piece after piece for critique from local artisans. Many of her pieces were beautiful in description, but always lacking in purpose…or so the artisans said. Several of the princesses loyal subjects were in awe over the work laid before them, and could see no wrong in the princesses creation. The princess, having no reason to doubt the experienced artisans over her subjects opinion, began to find her praised artwork lacking. Her art must have been missing something to cause such a divide, and it had be perfect in her eyes. The solution was clearly one only she could find.

On another run to the market the princess was stopped by a wandering merchant. He began to describe how wonderful her drawing was, and the happiness it gave him. The princesses art had been passed around the town, and for many it was a better gift than any they’d seen before. The princess was in shock. Her work was unworthy of the artisans, yet a complete stranger found respite in her work. The princess felt overjoyed her work could have such an effect. To be told such words directly caused the princess to cry tears of joys. For her work, so incomplete and lacking to her own eyes, to give even one person a happier day was truly a wonderful feeling. The bustling market seemingly stopped as if to give the princess a moment’s rest as she cherished the moment.

The princess returned home with her supplies and thought over the words and thoughts spoken to her the past few days. Her town was small but her subject’s love was infinite. The princess had heard that a far away town was well known for its artistic craft and perhaps it could help her perfect and fill in the gaps she saw in her own work. If she could fix what she found to be broken, perhaps then she would feel worthy of all the support and praise. Though the princess cherished every word she received, her own thoughts overshadowed those of others. As much support as she garnered she was still alone with her own thoughts—thoughts that plagued her work and marked every flaw she had made in her eyes. The princess packed her belongings and had her handmaid ready a carriage. The two rode for many days and nights to the far off town known of artistry.

When they arrived they found a beautiful town of remarkable design. Artwork and patterns lined the streets and buildings, the every piece seemed startlingly perfect and filled with emotion. The town felt full of intentional beauty in both its architecture and design. Each corner of the town felt as if it was covered in finely crafted works of art. Even though it was rumoured a different artist could have worked on each tile indepentally the designs seemed to all blend together flawlessly. Not a touch of the town felt as if it was done without intention, but not to perfection; it felt handmade.

The princess wandered the streets in awe. Shops put their works on display and presented the best works of each artist. Her work seemed to pale in comparison to those around her, yet her subjects always held hers above the rest. The princess felt inspiration pulsing through her, even seeing similar works to her own that she aspired to reach in quality and execution.

One of the open shops had a workshop that was ranking and rewarding the days pieces. This was the princesses chance to put her work out for all to see, for people who knew her as nothing more than another artist. She found herself an open table full of ready supplies and began putting her inspiration to use. The handmaiden saw the determination in the princesses eyes and couldn’t help but stare as the piece slowly came to life. Surely there were flaws, surely the princess had more to learn, but this felt like her best drawing yet.

As the day grew late the princess submitted her work for review. Each piece was taken to a closed off area for ranking and then placed and covered in the lobby for reveal. The town felt more lively as the sun set behind the horizon. The princess was eager to hear the thoughts of those around her, but also fearing their words. As the displays were uncovered the princess saw her work among the ranks. Of the twelve pieces shown, she was the eighth spot down the line. The princess felt her work was better than such a rank, but she admired and acknowledged several pieces that were above her current skill. The handmaid reassured the princess to listen for the thoughts of those around her.

The travelers and townsfolk alike began viewing the pieces the princess noticed a confusing trend. Though her piece was so far down the ranks it seemed to garner the most attention. She quickly began to notice all of the flaws in her work. She was inspired and crafted the best work she could, but there were glaring flaws in her work. Even so, these flaws were not what the people were noticing. They did not critique the flaws of the piece, they did not speak ill of it either. They were praising and smiling over such a flawed work. The handmaiden calmed the princess and attempted to reassure her once more that she was focusing too hard on what she herself was seeing and thinking. The princess listened once more to the praises and cheers of each passerby as her heart warmed to their kindness and glee.