“Once upon a time,” he began, gently tucking a loose strand of chestnut-coloured hair behind her ear, “there was a very, very beautiful princess.”
Emily grinned, already satisfied. “What did she look like?”
“Just wait, Daddy’s trying to tell a story here. She had golden hair that waved magically in the breeze, and her lips were as red as a ripe tomato. Her name was Princess Gertrude—”
“No it wasn’t. She has to have a pretty name, like Ariel or Jasmine, or…”
“Would you like to tell me the story?” threatened Daddy.
“No, no,” she said, quickly. “You can call her” Emily made a face, “Gertrude. If you want.”
“No more interruptions?”
Emily shook her head solemnly.
“Good. Now Princess Beatrice—”
“Celeste,” Daddy frowned a warning at his daughter, “lived in a very beautiful, expensively furnished castle with a moat and guards and everything. Her father, King Bert…”
He paused to chuckle at Emily’s scowl. “King Ernie? King Bartholomew? What should his name be, then?”
Emily thought for a moment. “King Edward,” she decided.
“King Edward loved his beautiful daughter very much and he was a very good king. He kept peace with neighbouring kingdoms and did not ask for too much tax money from his subjects.
Now, one day, King Edward and Princess Celeste were strolling together through the royal gardens. They talked about their last fishing trip and very graciously said ‘hello’ to their faithful, hardworking gardeners. They eventually came to a magical-looking park bench and sat down, for King Edward had something to tell his daughter.
“Celeste,” the king began in his big, booming king’s voice, “I have something to tell you. There’s this prince. He has travelled from a far away land (well, the next kingdom over isn’t that far, I suppose). His name is Prince Doug, and he has heard how beautiful you are, and, um," King Edward stroked his royal beard, nervously, "he wants to marry you.” The king watched his daughter’s face carefully for her reaction.
“But I’ve never even met him,” Celeste replied.
“No.” agreed the king, “And he’s much too old for you. Good!” He turned to leave. “I’ll go tell him to go back to wherever it is he came from.”
"And Prince Doug was sent home with his tail between his legs (metaphorically, of course), and the king and the princess lived happily ever after. The end."