Once upon a time, in the far, far away land of Blutopia, there was a fair maiden, as there always is in every fairy tale. Fair Maiden Maniquella was less of a peasant but not quite royalty; she was cast somewhere in the middle. She did however, have the distinct job in the kingdom as garden harvester. Every day, Fair Maiden Maniquella would go to the garden and pick the freshest figs and juiciest plums from the garden. And every day, she delivered these figs and plums to Princesses Junie and May, who were quite pleased with Maniquella’s bounty, as she worked hard to find only the best and ripest fruits for the kingdom. Every day, Maniquella was praised for her hard work, and honored for the beautiful fruits of her labor. All was well and good in the land of Blutopia for Maiden Maniquella.
Each day, Maniquella would go into the Fig Forest and sing to the birds and flit with the butterflies, and pick and pick and pick all day long. She loved her role as garden harvester and felt very blessed to have been hand-picked by Princess Junie, as she knew many fair maidens in the kingdom were envious and had wanted to be garden harvester.
One day in the far away land of Blutopia, a handsome countryman rode upon his steed and stopped at the entryway of the kingdom’s garden. Maniquella had been plucking fruit from the neighboring trees and knelt in honor of this noble man as he dismounted his steed. With authority, he delivered a scroll that was clearly an important document from the highest order of priestesses of the kingdom. Maniquella put down her basket of plums and figs and unrolled the hand-written message she had received from the very good looking countryman.
She was being ordered to go to the kingdom immediately. Handsome countryman, with the strength of a mighty hero, reached his hand out and led Maniquella to his mighty steed. He lifted her to the horse, and then mounted the great steed after she was secure.
“Hold on,” he demanded of her, not unkindly, but as a warning to protect her delicateness.
Maniquella wrapped her arms around his waist, reveling in the firmness of his body. She settled her chin into the back of him, inhaling his strong masculine scent, and if it weren’t for the security of him, she would have surely fainted. She had not yet known man, and certainly not one of such strength and nobility. They rode away to the kingdom, and it was the first time Maniquella had not thought of figs and plums and garden harvesting for a very long time.
At the kingdom, Maniquella was ordered to meet with Princess Junie, who was weeping in her royal quarters. Maniquella rushed to her side, for she loved her friend Junie so dearly, although she was a princess and Maniquella would never be of the high honor. She knelt down, wrapping herself around Princess Junie’s cloaks in an effort to comfort her because she was clearly in conflict and pain.
“Whatever is the matter, Princess Junie?” Maniquella implored.
“Oh, Maniquella! I’m so sorry to tell you of this, but Priestesses Progresso and Magdelina say your fruit is no longer worthy of the kingdom!”
“Junie! How can this be? I’ve picked plums and figs for 16 months every single day, and only deliver the ripest, most colorful and juiciest fruits to the kingdom! How can the high priestesses think suddenly my fruit is not worthy of the kingdom?”
“I don’t know, but they are banishing you from Blutopia.”
“But there is NO better fruit to be found in the kingdom! I implore you! I scrounge daily for the best bounty! Not a bruise is worthy to the Priestesses! I am sure of it! How can they say this of me; how can they think I am not bringing only the best to the kingdom! Wherever will I go?! What shall I do? I ask you, Princess Junie, have I ever brought you fruit unworthy to your lips?”
Princess Junie could only shake her head no, and again burst into tears. “You must go now. Leave before dusk, and they will spare you.”
Forlorn and distraught, Maniquella went home to her modest quarters in Blutopia, and packed her meager belongings. She did not know where she would go. She was confused and sad, and hurt that her pickings were no longer worthy of the kingdom.
Maniquella walked for miles, and cried and wondered how on earth that suddenly, the fruit was no longer good? She had made sure daily that what she was delivering to the kingdom of Blutopia was only the finest figs and plums. She had been hailed by the townspeople; everyone knew that Maniquella would deliver only the great fruit to sustain the kingdom. And she had done so, faithfully, happily for 16 months, despite many obstacles.
Desolate, Maniquella fell to the side of the road and wept. She wept for the loss of the kingdom she so loved, she wept because she was now banished from the garden of the kingdom Blutopia, a place where she roamed and loved, a place she had called her own. She wept because she would miss Princesses Junie and May, her mentors of all good and kindness.
But then suddenly, a carriage appeared and a beautiful queen beckoned toward Maniquella. Maniquella did not know from whence the queen came, but it was clear that she was of high power and nobility, and so Maniquella bowed before the bejeweled woman.
“My dear, I have been searching for you. Where have you been?” the queen asked.
“Dear Queen, an honor. I bow in your honor. But what is it of you that you search for? I am now a mere peasant, banished from Blutopia, because suddenly, my fruit was no good for them, when before, I was lauded for the bounty I brought into the kingdom every day.”
“Maniquella. There has been mighty talk of your greatness throughout all of the land. My noble son ran to my side and told me he has found his princess.”
And then, horse hooves could be heard in the distance and a cloud of dust appeared. A great steed arrived behind the carriage, and the handsome countryman who had brought Maniquella to face her demise stood before her.
“My son,” the Queen said. “He found you. He knew your fruit was grand, and that you were the most worthy garden harvester in all of the land.”
“You must come with us, where you will now live, not as a harvester of figs and plums, but a harvester to the lineage of kings. You will no longer bear fruit in your baskets, but I beg you, marry my son, bear the fruit of his seed, and he will make you the happiest woman in all of the land. You are worthy and good and kind, and shall no longer be sad. Come, live with us in Parentopia, and all will be grand.”
And so, with great dignity and pride, Maniquella brushed herself off, wiped the stray tears from her eyes, and took hold of her future prince’s arm. He lifted her to his steed once again, and they rode off to the grandest land of all, Parentopia, where they lived, of course, happily ever after.
And then some.
Because Maniquella was good and kind, and worthy of all the goodness she deserved, plus she got the hot prince to boot!