A Story, Co-Authored by a Toddler

My daughter requested an improvised story about a King (a boy King), a Knight (a boy Knight), a horse (gender unspecified), and a Princess (a girl Princess). 

(She specifies desired character genders because she knows Mom will make all Kings and Knights female unless otherwise directed.)

Once upon a time, there was a knight named Tim, and a king named Bruce. There was also a princess, named Miranda. They all lived together in a castle.

Toddler: And there was a bridge! [arms extended drawbridge-fashion] And a dark, dark forest, full of scary animals! [hands around eyes, like … a raccoon? I guess?]

That is correct! Have you been to this castle? There was a bridge, and a dark forest, and many scary animals.

One day, it was King Bruce’s birthday, so Princess Miranda decided she would pick some flowers for him. So she went across the bridge, and into the dark forest, and she walked and walked and walked and walked until she found some flowers.

Toddler: And a monster!

There was a monster! Princess Miranda didn’t know it, but the  flowers belonged to an ogre! And when she started picking them, the ogre came roaring out from between the trees, and snatched her up, and carried her off to its cave!

Now, back at the castle, King Bruce got worried because it was lunchtime and Princess Miranda hadn’t come home yet. So he went to Knight Tim and said, “Tim, my daughter Miranda went out into the dark, dark forest, and she hasn’t returned. She might need a rescue.”

So Knight Tim got his horse, named —

Toddler: Jackson! Jackson!!

— and Tim and Jackson went into the forest to find Princess Miranda.

Now, Miranda was very, very smart, so when the ogre was carrying her off, what she did was, she pulled the petals off the flowers she was carrying, and dropped them one at a time, to make a trail behind them. So when Tim found the ogre’s flowerbed, all he had to do then was follow the trail of petals to find Miranda.

Toddler: Whoa.

Right? Smart, Miranda! So Tim and Jackson followed the trail of petals all the way to the ogre’s cave. And when they got there, they found the ogre inside, playing checkers with Princess Miranda! And Tim drew his sword, and stepped into the cave, and said, “Let the Princess go, ogre, or I’ll cut off your head!”

Toddler gasps.

And that made the ogre angry, so it roared at Tim.

And then Princess Miranda said, “Okay, hey, hold up, guys. First of all, Tim, that is not how you ask for something. How do you ask for something?”

Toddler: Please!

That’s right! So Tim was embarrassed that he’d forgotten his manners, and he said, “Excuse me, ogre, please may I take Princess Miranda home now?”

And the ogre said, “Well, all right, if Princess Miranda wants to go home. But I would like it if she could come back here to play checkers with me on Thursdays, because it is very lonely in this dark forest and none of the scary animals knows how to play checkers.”

And Princess Miranda said, “Of course I will, that sounds very nice.” And then she and Knight Tim went home to the castle. And King Bruce was so happy that he married Knight Tim, and they all lived happily ever after!

Toddler: And then another monster.

Another monster?

Toddler: For checkers, with the ogre.

Yes! Eventually another monster came to the forest, and she was very good at checkers and she and the ogre played checkers together. Her name was Euphorbia. She was a —

Toddler: Werewolf! [claw hands]

She was a werewolf! And the monsters lived happily ever after too.

Toddler: Tell me the story about the werewolf now.

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