Once upon a time, there was a very handsome and charming boy named Cillian. He had a stepbrother, Charlie, and a step-sister, Adela who were very unkind and who made fun of him and made him do all the hard work. When he was a little boy he would do all the household work like sweeping floors and doing the dishes and looking after his step father’s farm. As he grew young and handsome there wasn’t less to do too then. He had to look after his step father’s farm; feeding the cows, the pigs, and the hens. He had to fetch gallons of water; ten gallons a day as his stepfather ordered him regardless that the family didn’t need so much water and it would just go to waste. He wore a dirty brown shirt every time. He used to wash his clothes when he bathed and wore them again even though they had not dried completely, while his stepfather and stepbrother and sister acted like royalties and dressed up in fine clothes to attend parties here and there.
Cillian didn’t have friends because he was not allowed to make friends but as he had to fetch all the groceries and stuff so he had some good fellows; like the mailman, the shopkeepers, and the barber who did his hair for free because he pitied the young and poor boy. Nonetheless, Cillian had two little mice who could talk, walk, dance, and sing and were very naughty. Their names were, Chitty and Chatty. Cillian had friends who were little animals who loved Cillian.
One day Cillian bought some bananas for himself but he didn’t eat them because he was sad and he went to the same place in a forest where he used to go to when he was sorrowful. He sat there by a rock and felt sorrowful about his pitiful life. He closed his eyes and sighed, “If only I was a Prince…” he was talking to his mice who hugged his knee bent on the ground. He didn’t finish his sentence and heard a voice. Cillian stood up and looked around him.
“Help! Help! Somebody, please help me!” came out of woods a beautiful girl, scared and running away from something. She collided with Cillian and stepped on his foot, “Ouch,” cried Cillian. Words came out her mouth, “I am so sorry, so sorry, I…” and just another jiff, a monkey appeared and it stood there by the rock trying to catch its breath. She went behind him trying to hide from it. Chitty and Chatty hid behind the rock.
“O, Cillian, my man! How are you?” asked the monkey.
The scared girl screamed, “The monkey can talk!”
“Well yes, miss. Please calm down! Here, sit here and tell me what happened,” Cillian let the girl sit on the rock and talked to her in a noble manner. She was scared of the monkey so she resisted sitting on the rock. Cillian gave a sign to the monkey to move and it moved quickly.
“Thank you! My name is Eleanor,” she said looking at Cillian. ‘Eleanor’, thought Cillian, ‘What a beautiful name and such gorgeous eyes’.
“I am Cillian,” he said, “May I ask what happened? Why were you running away from Margaret?”
“No, I was not running away from some Margaret, I was running away from this monkey, this monkey is trying to steal things from me,” Eleanor said and pointed at the monkey in anger.
“Steal? I wouldn’t do such a thing. I was just trying to give you your broach that fell in the mud and you were searching for it,” Margaret said, “and MY name is Margaret,” Margaret turned away in anger.
“So, I think there is a little bit of misunderstanding between you two girls,” Cillian smiled, “Margaret, turn around, it is okay. You are such a sweet girl for helping Eleanor.” “Margaret, I am sorry I miss understood you,” Eleanor came near Margaret and smiled at her while Margaret stood still ignoring both of them.
“There’s a bunch of bananas I saved for you,” Cillian smiled. “You think a bunch of bananas can change my mood? Where are the bananas?” Margaret asked. Cillian and Eleanor laughed and Cillian gave the bunch of bananas he bought for himself. Margaret sat by the rock and ate the bananas. The mice joined Margaret.
Cillian looked at Eleanor and thought of how beautiful she was. Eleanor noticed Cillian watching her and she smiled with a shy. Cillian recovered quickly and said, “Hi! My name is Cillian,” Eleanor laughed again and said, “I think I know that”.
“You do? Well, of course, you do, I told you,” and he giggled in embarrassment. He thought of not speaking again.
“Thank you, Cillian,” said Eleanor, “You are very kind”. “You’re welcome… Eleanor,” he let out the words in a respectable manner.
“So, where are you from? I’ve never seen you around in the town,” Cillian asked Eleanor. “I don’t live in town,” Eleanor said, “I came here to walk in the forest and I got lost and then this happened,” she smiled and looked at Margaret who was busy finishing the bananas.
“Oh, are you lost? I can show you a way to town and help you find your way back home,” Cillian said generously. “Oh, thank you Cillian, I shall be going home now,” Eleanor said a little worriedly.
They both walked their way out of the forest. They were in town now. Suddenly, low mumblings started. They were coming from the people standing here and there. The people stared at Cillian and Eleanor and mumbled, “The princess!” “What is she doing here?” “What’s she doing with Cillian?”
Some of the Palace guards came running towards Eleanor. “Princess! Where have you been? We searched the whole town,” said one of the guards. “I was lost in the forest. Cillian helped me find my way out of it,” Eleanor introduced Cillian to the royal guards. “You are the princess! Oh no, how could I be so dumb in front of you,” Cillian was shocked and he felt so much embarrassment? Princess Eleanor giggled and said, “Thank you again, Cillian. If there’s anything you would want? I will give it to you”.
That was it. That was Cillian’s chance to ask for any wealth or anything he ever wanted. He couldn’t speak. There were so many thoughts circling in his mind, ‘Anything?’ he thought. He opened his mouth to speak, “Thank you, Princess. I don’t need anything in return,” he smiled and bowed in front of her. “In that case, I invite you to the royal ball. Please be our guest for tonight. Every Prince and Princess shall be there. I will wait for YOU,” Princess Eleanor cordially invited him to the Palace. And she went away in a carriage.
Cillian stood there in surprise. Everyone around him watched everything that happened and they were shocked too. Cillian recollected himself and he was overjoyed. He sang his way back home. When he reached home he went straight to his dirty and darkroom. He lit the candles and sat on a chair by the table. He placed his head on the table and thought of the Princess. There was something about her that made Cillian restless. Her smile and the sparkle in her eyes. He smiled while her face came in front of him. Chitty and Chatty climbed the table and knocked Cillian's head with their little fists.
“You don’t have enough time, Cillian,” said Chatty the fat one in its small squeaking voice.
Cillian lifted his head. “Don’t you want to go to the ball,” Chitty asked. “Of course, I want to go there. I will go there. I need to see her, there’s so much to say to her,” Cillian had a spark in his eyes. It was love. He had fallen in love with the Princess.
“But you don’t have a suit to wear at the ball,” Chatty said filing his nails and Chitty seemed worried at Chatty’s comment. Hearing what Chatty said, Cillian’s mouth dropped. There was nothing for him to wear at the ball. He wanted to look good. After all, it was a ball and the Princess invited him. “What am I going to wear? I don’t have a suit!” he was worried and Chitty and Chatty started thinking of what they can do for him. “I have an idea!” Chitty jumped in joy. “Take some clothes from your brother’s closet. He has so many of them. He wouldn’t notice a suit disappearing.”
“No, Chitty, that would be stealing,” Cillian said frowning towards Chitty. “Oh c’mon! It wouldn’t be if you put it back after returning from the ball,” Chatty insisted Cillian.
Cillian thought about it for a second and looked at Chitty and Chatty who stood there and looked at him with their big bulging eyes waiting for Cillian to say ‘Yes’.
Cillian sighed, “Fine, I’ll do it”. Then the three of them went to Cillian’s step brother’s room. No one was at home. Cillian took out a fine suit from his brother’s closet. He looked at it for a second. The suit was so graceful and handsome. But Cillian put it back. “I would rather earn one then to steal,” He looked at his mice fellows and smiled. Chitty and Chatty also smiled.
Then Cillian went out of the house and searched the town and asked everyone that he would do any job for them and earn money to buy a suit for himself. He filled gallons from the well for the people, fed their animals, washed their clothes, helped them load groceries and so many tiring jobs. After a long and tiring day, he was able to earn enough money to buy a pair of suits for himself.
Cillian took the money and bought a handsome suit and a pair of striking leather boots. Then he went home to get ready for the ball. The night was falling and he went home quickly. It was almost time for the ball. When he reached home, his stepfather and stepbrother Charlie stood at the door in anger.
“Father! I was in the forest cutting woods. The fireplace was out of woods,” Cillian hesitantly lied and hid the bag behind him in which he had put his boots and clothes.
“I see,” his stepfather lifted his eyebrow. He seemed like he doubted Cillian. “But father! The fireplace is burning just alright,” Charlie said wickedly with an evil smile.
Cillian cleared his throat and said, “I just wanted to get more woods”. He was really uneasy at lying. “Go to your room! We won’t be home tonight. We are going to the ball in the Palace,” Father ordered Cillian. “And yes, no funny business!” Cillian nodded as his father spoke.
Cillian went inside the house and tried to hide the bag. He was going to his room when Adela saw the bag and she suddenly spoke, “Daddy, Cillian has got something to hide”. Charlie turned around and snatched the bag from Cillian. “Let’s see what you are hiding from us,” Charlie opened the bag with his devilish laugh. “Charlie that is my bag. Give it back to me,” Cillian said angrily. Charlie took out the suit and the pair of boots from the bag, “Whoa! What’s this for, Cillian?”
“Nothing. I just bought myself new clothes and shoes,” Cillian said. Father looked at him in anger. He asked Cillian, “Where did you get the money? Did you steal it? Did you steal it from me?” his father was very angry and he took Cillian's neck in his hand. Cillian tried to breathe and let a few words out of his mouth, “No, Father I didn’t steal. I earned the money”. Father let go of Cillian and Cillian coughed. “In that case… Charlie! You just got yourself a suit for the ball,” Father let out the words in an evil manner. “And for you, my boy,” Father addressed Cillian, “You are going to spend the rest of the night outside.”
Cillian looked at all of them with misery. They all laughed wickedly. Cillian left the house in anger and he went to the same place in the forest where he met Princess Eleanor in the morning. His mice went with him. They were so unhappy with Cillian. He hit the rock with his foot and hurt himself and screamed in pain. There was no way he was going to the ball in his old and stinking clothes. He sat there and lifted his head towards the sky. Stars had appeared in the sky and they shone brightly. He knew the ball had been started and Princess Eleanor would be waiting for him. But all in vain, he couldn’t do anything else but be sorrowful for what happened to him.
And then there came a fairy. An old lady with a clock and a magic wand. “Hello,” she greeted Cillian but instead of greeting her back, Cillian tried to run away in fear. But no matter where he tried to move the fairy came in front of him. “You don’t have to be afraid of me, Cillian,” She said smiling. “Who are you? What do you want?” Cillian asked bravely. The fairy laughed and said, “Oh my son, I don’t want anything from you. I’m here to give you something”. “Give me something?” Cillian was confused but now his tone was relaxed as the fairy spoke softly and kindly. “Yes. You want to go to the ball, don’t you? The Princess is also waiting,” the fairy smiled at him. “Princess Eleanor, she’s waiting for me!” he said sorrowfully. The fairy saw his sad face and she felt sad too.
“Oh no, no, don’t be sad! I will help you go to the ball,” The fairy smiled and asked Cillian to stand still in front of her. “What are you going to do?” Cillian raised a question. He was very confused. The fairy shushed Cillian and closed her eyes to think, “Umm, what was that spell? What was that spell? Ah, yes! Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!” and she moved her wand over Cillian. Suddenly, the atmosphere filled with shimmers and shines, and just another jiff Cillian was dressed up as a handsome young prince. He wore such an extraordinary suit and boots. He looked nothing less than a handsome and charming prince. He saw himself and laughed joyfully.
“Oh you look so handsome,” the fairy looked at him and smiled with affection. “Now, I shall give you a horse to go to the Palace.” She looked around and her sight fell on the mice who looked at her in amazement. “Aha,” she said joyfully and another bibbidi-bobbidi-boo and Chatty became a horse; a stunning white horse with a beautiful mane. She then asked Cillian to sit on the horse, but Cillian hesitated as he had never ridden a horse. The fairy told him that it was a magic horse and there wouldn’t be a problem riding it because it knew where to go.
Cillian put Chitty in his pocket and sat on the horse and felt so amazing. He felt like a prince. “My dear fairy, thank you so much. I am forever in your debt. May I ask you for one last thing?” Cillian asked generously and the fairy nodded with a smile. “I want to give a gift to the Princess. Please help me with that”, and the fairy smiled and again bibbidi-bobbidi-boo and there was a locket in her hand, shaped like a heart with love carved into it.
“Take this,” the fairy gave the locket to Cillian. “Give its half to the Princess and keep its other half with you. You both are two halves of the same heart.” The fairy said that with a smile and disappeared. Cillian looked around but the fairy was nowhere. He was confused, happy and there was so much in his head. While he recollected himself, the fairy came back. “One more thing,” she said, “You’ll have to be back before midnight because at midnight the magic will start to disappear and everything will be restored to the way it was.” Cillian nodded and the fairy disappeared again.
Cillian rode towards the Palace and he ordered Chatty to run faster. Finally, he arrived at the Palace. There was so much decoration and lights everywhere and the sound of music filled the air. He looked at the Palace in amazement and saw Princess Eleanor standing in the balcony. She looked sad and Cillian knew she had been waiting for him. He tried to enter into the Palace but the guards stopped him. He argued with them but they wouldn’t let him in without an invitation card. Hearing the voices, Princess Eleanor looked at the entrance. She saw Cillian trying to get inside. She called at the guards and ordered them to let him in. And then happily she rushed downstairs in the hall where the ball was taking place and everybody was dancing. She saw Cillian and ran towards him. They stopped in front of each other and looked into each other’s eyes and smiled.
“I thought you were not going to come,” the Princess said in a low soft voice. “I had to come, I had to see you... I wanted to see you,” Cillian replied with the spark in his eyes; the spark of love. They held hands and danced joyfully.
Then Princess Eleanor took Cillian at the back of the Palace near a beautiful fountain. They held each other’s hands and they looked at each other with love. There was so much to say but yet none of them could talk. They just looked in each other’s eyes and came closer. They kissed.
The Princess giggled and smiled shyly. Cillian lifted her face and said, “You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” “I love you, Princess. I love you, Eleanor,” Cillian let out the words through all his heart. The Princess smiled and hugged him, “I love you too, Cillian”. They sat there and talked and laughed and kissed again. Time flew away and the clock struck twelve. The midnight alarm filled the air and Cillian knew it was his time to go. “Eleanor! I must go now,” Cillian said worriedly and took out the locket. He split it into half and gave it to Eleanor. “Here, I brought you a gift. We are two halves of the same heart,” Cillian said smiling and rushed towards his horse to go back to the forest. Eleanor followed him screaming his name and telling him to stop but he had to go. And so Cillian disappeared on his horse. Eleanor stood there in shock. She pressed the locket against her heart and tears led out her eyes. She went inside crying.
Cillian went back to the forest quickly and before he could get off the horse, it changed back to Chatty and Cillian fell on the ground with a thump. Cillian stood and looked at himself. He had changed back to the old Cillian; same old dirty clothes and Chatty sat on the ground tired. At first, Cillian thought it was all a dream but when he saw the other half of the locket in his hand he realized everything was real. He was happy but very disappointed to have left the Princess in confusion. However, he thought he would meet her again. And the rest of the night Cillian thought of the Princess and fell asleep by the rock.
In the morning, Cillian went home. As soon as he entered the house, Father took his collar and said, “What were you doing at the ball?” his eyes were furious and shook Cillian grabbing his collar. “Father, I…I was invited by the Princess,” Cillian told his stepfather the truth. “You? Why would the Princess invite you?” Charlie asked frowning at Cillian like he was a sack of garbage. “I helped her find her way back into town from the forest,” Cillian said.
“I’ve heard enough,” Father shouted. “I think it’s time I put you where you belong” saying that Father grabbed Cillian's neck and he started chocking. The next moment he felt a hard blow on his head and he was unconscious.
When Cillian became conscious he found himself in a place he had never known. There was nothing in that room except for bad smell and darkness. There was a small window in a wall of that room; just the size of his head. He quickly ran towards it and looked out of it. He couldn’t see much but he found out that he was somewhere inside the house. He shouted for help but there was no use; no one was there to hear his voice. He sat there and dropped his head, took out the locket from his pocket, and hugged it. He missed Eleanor.
The whole day passed and a new day started but Cillian couldn’t yet find his way out of that room. He was hungry and tired and sad. He missed Eleanor so much and wanted to see her again. Suddenly, he heard little squeaking voices coming from somewhere. Those voices were far and low but they gradually came near. Cillian recognized and called out, “Chitty! Chatty! I’m here boys! Where are you?”
“Cillian! Cillian! We are here,” the mice shouted and came running out a small hole in a corner of the room. Cillian jumped and took the mice and kissed them, “Boys, I missed you. Where were you? How did you find me?” Chatty made a face and said, “After your brother hit your head, they threw you here and kicked us out. It took us a whole day to come back and steal the key from your Father.” And Chitty gave him the key.
“A key? A key to where?” Cillian looked at the key and examined it. Chitty pointed at the roof. Cillian lifted his head and saw a passage. It was locked by iron bars but he had the key. He was surprised and happy that he had finally found his way out of that place. “Cillian! You better hurry up and go to the Princess. The King has called every Prince around the kingdom for the Princess to choose who she wants to marry.”
“No! Eleanor is mine. I love her and I will go to her,” Cillian said bravely and grabbed the key in his hand. He looked around but there wasn’t anything to reach the roof. He looked at the window and had an idea. He took the mice and stood on the window shelf. It was very difficult but he somehow managed to reach the passage a little away from him. He extended his arm and asked Chitty to open the passage door with the key. Chitty opened the passage and Cillian grabbed onto the passage door and pulled himself out of the room. He found himself in the backyard. He jumped in happiness and ran away into the forest.
He had to meet the Princess and so going through the forest he ran towards the Palace. He was exhausted but he made boldly and ran. He could see Eleanor and heard her voice calling his name in his thoughts. He soon reached the Palace and looked at the balcony. There was no one but deep inside his heart, he knew Eleanor would be in her room and waiting for him. “Eleanor! Eleanor!” he started calling her name. “It’s me, Cillian!”
The guards came running towards Cillian and tried to remove him before he could enter into the Palace. Eleanor was in her room and heard Cillian outside. She rushed into the balcony and called out his name. The guards left him and he stood there looking at her like he had never seen such a beauty and like it had been so much time since he saw her. “Eleanor! I am sorry. I left without saying anything. But I am here now. And I love you Eleanor and I will do anything for you,” Cillian said, taking out the locket and pressing it against his heart.
Eleanor had tears in her eyes and she went inside and came running outside from the entrance. She ran into Cillian arms and said, “I love you, Cillian.” The King watched everything that happened and smiled. “My daughter has found herself a husband and a son-in-law for me,” the King overjoyed and hugged them both. He had no issues with Cillian; whoever he was where ever he came from, the Princess loved him and that’s all the King cared for.
Cillian bent down on his knee and extended the half of the locket and presented it to Eleanor. “Eleanor, will you marry me?” hearing that Eleanor giggled and took out the locket from her neck and said, “Yes”. The guards cheered and the King announced to throw a party. He was so happy that he was jumping. Cillian and Eleanor joined the locket and kissed. There were cheers in the air and happiness filled the town. Cillian’s mice also danced with the king. The wedding was announced and the whole town was invited. As for Cillian’s family, they were forgiven by Cillian but the King ordered them to leave the town and never to return.
Cillian and Eleanor got married and lived happily ever after. They were true, two halves of the same heart.
Maryam Rehman (author) from Pakistan on June 22, 2020:
Thank you DreamerMeg
DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on June 22, 2020:
What a lovely fairy story and what a twist! Really enjoyed that.