For those of you who didn’t already know, Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday was on the 2nd of April. I’ve already done a fact post about HCA, so if you want to check that out CLICK HERE. People seemed to like what I did for Wilhelm Grimm’s birthday (I posted a scene from my book including him and Jacob), so I decided I would do the same thing for Andersen this year.
The following scene is from my second book The Prince of Prophecy Vol. II: Cursed, and it’s right after you first meet Hans. I’ve always really liked this scene and I wanted to share it with all of you literary aficionados. I hope you guys will enjoy it!
Excerpt from The Prince of Prophecy Vol. II: Cursed
Destan spent the rest of the day talking with Hans and trying to make him feel more comfortable with his new surroundings. The prince had showed the Danish boy around the castle, the gardens, and had even taken him to the castle ruins. Hans seemed absolutely enchanted at everything the palace grounds had to offer. The exotic flowers, the hedge maze, the tennis courts—Hans’s eyes lit up a little more with each new discovery.
By the time they came to the end of their tour, night was fast approaching and the stars were just beginning to appear in the deep purple sky above.
“I believe you’ll find it quite difficult to be bored here,” Destan said as the two made their way back towards the palace. “Ah, but you’re probably more interested in your studies than the silly trivialities I’ve shown you.”
Hans frowned, looking down at his feet. “Well, to be completely honest, your highness, my studies don’t interest me as much as other things do.”
“Oh?” Destan asked. “What interests you, then?”
Hans looked around to make sure no one was listening in before saying, “Singing and acting!” His smile disappeared as his gaze met the ground once more. “I-I mean, I like acting and singing, but if I were to pursue either of those professions my mother would be very disappointed in me. Now that father’s gone, I must do something to support the two of us and mother does not approve of my interests. I just want to make her proud of me, even if that means I’ll be unhappy.”
“What happened to your father?” Destan asked gently.
Hans was reluctant to answer at first, but finally he obliged the prince with a quiet reply. “He got sick…”
The prince paused, frowning as he looked down at him. “I’m sorry to hear it, Herr Andersen.”
Hans only shrugged, saying no more.
“Though, you can’t truly mean what you said. You shouldn’t sacrifice your dreams in order to satisfy someone else,” Destan said. “You should follow your heart no matter the cost. Your mother may be upset that you did not do as she wished, but it’s your life to lead, not hers. Take advantage of the freedom at your disposal. Some people don’t have the privilege of choice as you do.”
Hans tilted his head. “I thought everyone had a choice.”
“No. Not everyone,” he murmured, giving Hans a half-hearted smile. “Pursue your dreams. You’ll come to regret it if you don’t. That I can promise you.”
There was a comfortable silence between them before Hans spoke up again. “Prince Destan?”
“There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you about,” the little boy said, fidgeting a bit. “What happened at the Snow Queen’s Palace? I’ve heard several different versions of the story thus far, but they all seem to conflict. Your adventure is famous even in Denmark, you know!”
Destan sheepishly scratched the back of his head. “Really? I didn’t think anyone outside of Rosenstaat had heard about it.”
“Oh no! The people that you freed from the Snow Queen were from all over Europe! In fact, you happened to free a boy from my village and he told everyone in town of you and your friends’ bravery,” Hans explained with more enthusiasm than Destan had seen from him thus far. “But weren’t you frightened of her?”
Destan took pause to seriously consider this question. “Well, I wasn’t frightened of her. I was frightened that if I didn’t act I could lose all of my friends, not to mention myself. I didn’t have time to let my fear hinder me. Instead I harnessed it and used my fear as my motivation to succeed.” Is that what I did? he thought. I suppose I’d never analyzed it until now.
Hans stared at the prince with complete admiration. “That’s amazing! I don’t think I could ever be that courageous.”
“It wasn’t a matter of courage. It was a matter of desperation. I couldn’t lose my friends—I have too few of them as it is,” Destan admitted with a feeble laugh.
“Hm, desperation…” Hans said thoughtfully. “So did you really think that you and your friends could defeat the Snow Queen?”
“Yes, I did,” the prince said, nodding firmly. “I had so much more to lose than Queen Isole did. I had to win. We all had to win. There was no other option.”
“I see,” Hans said. “And the girl whose hand you were holding when you left the Snow Queen’s palace?”
Destan felt his cheeks heat up at the mention. “Y-you heard about that?”
“Oh, yes! I’ve even developed a theory,” Hans said proudly. “Once I heard the initial story, I built from there. First, the Snow Queen enticed you to stay with her by making a deal with you—”
“I wouldn’t say she ‘enticed’ me, per se—”
“And then she took your memories and kept you as her slave at her palace!”
“I prefer ‘servant’,” Destan interjected once more, his frown becoming even more prominent as Hans continued on with his version of the story.
“Then the girl went to save you—”
“My other friends were there too, you know.”
“—But when she got there and saw that you were just a shell of your former self, she wept, and the tears of her love and devotion for you melted your icy heart. Then you awoke, proving that true love conquers all!” Hans cried, shooting his fist into the air and grinning triumphantly. “That’s what I wrote about anyway,” he said, bashfully lowering his hand.
“You wrote a story about me?” Destan asked.
“Well, um … yes,” Hans murmured. “It’s silly really. Don’t worry, I don’t intend on showing it to anyone.”
The prince released a relieved laugh. “You did make me seem a bit helpless. But at the very least, I’m glad you didn’t turn me into a girl.”
Hans made a face. “Why would I do that, your highness?”
Destan grimaced and shook his head. “The only two authors I’ve ever known used to make a habit out of doing so, but never you mind that.” He cleared his throat and straightened up. “Anyway, supper will be ready soon, so we should return to the palace.”
The two then headed back to the castle, speaking no more of either version of what happened at the Snow Queen’s palace, much to the prince’s relief.
Why is it that I’m always made out to be the damsel in distress? Destan thought as they silently made their way up the garden path. For once, I’d like to be the hero.
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