THE PRINCESS WHO WAS BORN FEET FIRST
In a faraway land was a kingdom beside the sea where everyone loved eating fish. The kingdom was ruled by King Henry, known as the great fisher king, and Queen Victoria, renowned for her magical powers of dislodging fish bones from a person’s throat. The kingdom was a simple and happy one, more so because the royal couple was expecting their first child.
On the night that Queen Victoria began experiencing labor pains, the kingdom was visited by a violent storm. The queen was immediately rushed to the palace hospital. As the winds howled, the queen heaved and squeezed, and when the baby finally started showing, the palace doctors noticed that instead of a head, out came two wiggly pink feet! They pulled very carefully on the feet, legs, knees, and so on until out came a beautiful, albeit gooey baby princess. The queen lovingly named her Pedora, after the fact that she came into this world feet first.
The sleeping baby was cleaned, bundled up and sent to the nursery. But when the nurse arrived at the nursery, the sky burst into a thundering crack and the lights went out. Worried that she might drop the child, the nurse quickly felt around the dark for the nearest basinet and slowly laid the baby on it. She fidgeted about, worried that no one would come with a candle.
Luckily, the storm finally started calming down and the lights went back on. But when the nurse checked on the newborn princess, she got the shock of her life. Three identical basinets surrounded her, all with sleeping babies in them. Flustered, she checked each baby, and as she did, she got more and more worried. All three babies were girls!
She tried her best to recall how she entered, if she went right to set the baby down, or if she grabbed the left basinet, but no matter how she tried, she couldn’t be absolutely sure who the princess was!
Finally, the nurse called in the three couples who had just given birth and confessed.
“I was going to teach my child how to play the piano,” the father who was a musician sighed, composing a sad lullaby in his mind.
“I was going to show my child how to chop wood,” the father who was a woodchopper sobbed, and leaned on his axe for support.
“I was going to show my child how to fish,” the king blubbered, taking his crown off.
The queen, seeing how distraught all the fathers were decided that it was best to raise all three children together. They invited the parents of the two children to live in the castle with them. The musician would provide the court music, while the woodchopper would supply the castle’s wood needs. Eventually, they hoped that when the children grew up, they would look more like their parents and everything would be sorted out.
After that was decided, the king and queen went back to their regular work. The king managed the production and distribution of fish in the kingdom, while the queen went back to her main duty of healing those who had fish bones stuck up their throat.
You see, just like the princess and the queen before her, Queen Victoria was born feet first. They called her suhi, and it was the gift of those born suhi that they could remove lodged fish bones in a person’s throat.
In the meantime, the three babies grew to be three beautiful girls. All three had big, bright brown eyes and shiny black hair. All of them were healthy, active, and loved to sing. When the queen looked at them, she was very pleased. But in her heart, she was starting to get worried. What if they were never able to tell which was theirs?
Then one day, tragedy struck. In the queen’s haste to eat her favorite bangus fish, she swallowed a particularly big fish bone and it lodged itself firmly in her throat.
You’d think that this wasn’t such a tragedy as the queen was suhi, and could therefore heal herself, but that wasn’t the case. A suhi could heal others, except for herself.
As days passed and the bone refused to go down the queen’s throat, the king got more and more worried. The queen was in terrible pain and he couldn’t do anything about it.
Finally, he had a stroke of brilliance. He called in the three toddlers and had them lay their hands on the queen’s throat.
The first one tapped the queen’s throat like a keyboard, and that tickled the queen, but it did not remove the fish bone.
The second girl delivered a karate chop to the queen’s throat, as if chopping up a piece of wood. This made the queen cough, but it did not dislodge the fish bone.
Finally, the smallest of the three gently laid both her palms on the queen’s throat and moved her hands up and down. When she stopped, the queen opened her eyes and smiled. It had worked!
The kingdom celebrated as their queen was healed and their princess found at last!
As for the two children, well, you could guess who they belonged to, right?