by CL Bledsoe & E
Being a princess was boring. All day, Seashell had to dress up in these ridiculous clothes and sit in these ridiculous meetings with merpeople from all over, but all anyone ever did was stare at their food and talk about the currents.
What Seashell really loved was when she was able to sneak down to the stable. Mirabelle, a young mermaid about her age, worked there. Seashell loved to help out. She didn’t even mind shoveling seaweed for the seahorses or brushing them down. The stable mergirl’s father ran the place, but he was always busy riding the seahorses and making sure they got enough exercise.
The two mergirls looked so much alike that merpeople would say they looked like sisters.
One day, Seashell came to the stable to find Mirabelle looking very sad.
“I get so bored down here, shoveling seaweed and cleaning seahorses,” she said. I wish I could be a princess like you.”
“That’s funny,” Seashell said, “Because I think the same thing. I get so bored greeting ambassadors and sitting around in fancy clothes.”
Mirabelle sighed and got back to work, but Seashell kept thinking about it.
“Hey,” she said, after a while. “What if we switched places? It’s not that hard to be a princess. Mostly, you just smile and look at your food.”
“You do pretty good around here,” Mirabelle said. “You pretty much already know how to do things.”
“So let’s do it,” Seashell said.
The mergirls agreed, and the next morning, Seashell snuck down to the stable early and switched clothes with Mirabelle. All day, Seashell cleaned the stables out, and when she’d finished that, she started taking the seahorses out for exercise. Mirabelle’s father usually did that, and he was glad to see who he thought was his daughter taking some initiative.
“You’ll be running this place in no time,” he called to her, while she was leaving to exercise a seahorse.
Meanwhile, Mirabelle was having a wonderful time meeting diplomats. Instead of just staring at her food, she talked to them and asked questions about their homeseas. They told her all sorts of interesting stories about where they were from. Seashell’s mother, the queen, was quite impressed. She passed a note to Mirabelle, who she thought was Seashell, that said, “You’re a born diplomat.”
After they’d finished their days, the two mergirls met up at the stable. They’d both had such wonderful times that they didn’t want to go back to their previous lives. They decided to switch again the next day, and then the day after that. Soon, they’d each settled into the other’s life. Mirabelle became a capable representative who impressed many diplomats. Eventually, she became queen but never forgot her roots. Seashell, on the other hand, became a very capable stable hand. She eventually took over for her “father” and expanded until she ran several stables. Both merwomen were very happy with their new lives, and they remained great friends.