By C. Dawn McCallum
(Originally published in Brilliant Star Magazine, March/April Issue 2003)
Princess Sufficient gazed over the village square as the subjects of her parents’ kingdom prepared for the daily Celebration of the Big Rising Sun. Next to the Festival of Helpfulness that lasted all day long, and the Feast of the Well-Lived Day which began when the stars returned, this was the princess’ favorite time.
Sitting alone on the balcony of her family’s little palace, Princess Sufficient searched the cool morning sky for the first signs of dawn.
“Princess,” her handmaid, Indulgence, said as she entered her chamber. “I see you are sitting alone. What do you need? Do you want one of your subjects to come dance for you? Do you want your mischievous monkeys? Or perhaps you want rubies to regale you?”
Before the princess could answer, monkeys were swinging from her canopy bed, tossing rubies into the air. Princess Sufficient wanted to dismiss the dancers so everyone could go to the celebration, but the doorway was already crowded with servants bearing baskets of baubles, ferrets from France, and an astonishingly large lightning bug.
“Princess,” Indulgence said, “Are you not pleased? What do you need?”
Turning away, Princess Sufficient sighed and looked out into the square where her family and friends were gathering. She was feeling impatient to join them.
Spotting a hint of red on the horizon, Princess Sufficient gasped. “Hooray for the new day!” she cried. She heard other voices around the village rise in praise, too.
The Celebration of the Big Rising Sun had begun. Soon she would be able to see the flowers opening in the gardens where she had lessons in tap-dancing and topography. She couldn’t wait! She listened to the laughter around the village and inhaled the sweet air.
“Achoo!” Princess Sufficient sneezed out the tickle in her nose.
“Oh, dear!” Indulgence said, dismayed. “Are you ill, my lady? What do you need? Do you want a mustard plaster made with mulberries, or a surgeon from Senegal, or some special quick-fixer elixir?” In an instant, a parade of people with an assortment of remedies entered the Princess’s chambers.
“No, thank you,” Princess Sufficient said, reaching for her hankie. “All I need is to get outside for the celebration. Now, if I could just get to the door.”
Indulgence didn’t listen. The stream of gifts continued, even though the princess didn’t need a gigantic, gilded giraffe. She didn’t need a dress in every color of the rainbow and every style under the stars. She didn’t need a single thing, but they kept coming and keeping her from her day.
“This way, my lady,” Indulgence said, pulling her to stand in an empty spot next to a rather cunning-looking cockatoo. Around her the piles grew and grew, until finally one big mound blocked her view of the sun.
Cornered, with no door in sight, Princess Sufficient could hear the gleeful cries of the villagers outside. She was sad that she couldn’t be with them, but the sound of their joy lightened her heart.
“Oh, see the mountains!” someone outside shouted. The princess imagined the colors and light trickling, then flooding the horizon. How she wished she could be at the celebration!
“Oh, the songs of the birds!” exclaimed someone else. The princess pictured the blue returning to the heavens. She pictured all the sunrises she’d ever seen and held them in her heart.
Even though she couldn’t see today’s celebration, the thought of the new day made her sing out, “Oh, the things I’ll do today!” The princess listened as the echoes of other voices bounced off the walls of homes around the village. Then, all were quiet as the sun revealed itself in its glory.
The celebration was almost over. Princess Sufficient looked around her chamber, tapping her toe. Again, she looked for the door so she could join her family and friends at the Celebration of the Big Rising Sun, but she didn’t see it anywhere.
On her heels as usual, her handmaid was concerned. “Princess—“ Indulgence began.
Raising a hand, Princess Sufficient said, “Indulgence, that’s quite enough, thank you.”
She climbed and struggled over the mountain of unneeded things and found the door hidden behind a pair of coconut-laden palm trees. “It isn’t things I want. I have my family and my friends. I have a new day before me.”
She turned with a smile as she opened the door. “So, you see, I have everything I need.”