'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
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Friday 28 February 2014

KBR Short Story: The Groundskeeper’s Son

by Kristy Jaeckel

The king sat with head in hands. The groundskeeper’s son swept the garden path.

“Forgive me, Your Majesty. I am just your groundskeeper’s son and have no right to speak to you, but you seem troubled,” he said.

“I have mountains of gold and could path my kingdom in jewels, but I cannot buy my beautiful daughter what she has asked for,” said the king.

The groundskeeper’s son rested his broom. “What has the princess asked for?”

“She has asked for a rainbow and will not smile until she has one! I had my most skilled artist paint her a rainbow, but she said it was ordinary. I called on a wizard to conjure one, but she was not impressed. I would give anything to make my daughter smile.”

The groundskeeper’s son thought for a moment. “I know a way to catch a rainbow.”

“You do?” the king asked in surprise.

“To catch a rainbow you must first plant 1000 roses - as red as rubies.”

“Then let it be so and I will reward you with 1000 gold coins!”

The king sent his men out in search of 1000 red roses. The groundskeeper’s son got to work planting while the princess watched from her window. She did not smile.

When he was finished, the king asked, “Where is the rainbow that you promised?”

“I give my word that the princess will have her rainbow, but l will need 2000 lilies - as orange as the sunset.”

“Then let it be so and I will reward you with 2000 gold coins!”

The groundskeeper’s son got to work planting orange lilies next to the roses while the princess watched from her balcony. Still she did not smile.

“Still no rainbow?” asked the king gruffly.

“I beg your pardon, Your Majesty, but catching a rainbow takes time. I still need 4000 daffodils - as yellow as the sun.”

“Then let it be so and I will reward you with 4000 gold coins.”

The groundskeeper’s son planted the daffodils next to the lilies while the princess watched from her step. Still she did not smile.

“We are closer to catching a rainbow!” the groundskeeper’s son assured the king.

Irish Bells were next- as green as meadows. The king promised jewels. The princess watched from her swing. Still she did not smile.

Next were Irises - as blue as the sky. The King promised land. The princess watched from her garden bench. Still she did not smile.

Finally, as the king was growing impatient, the groundskeeper’s son planted indigo - a sea of purple. The king promised him a noble title. The princess watched by his side. Suddenly, the sky opened and rain began to pour. The princess rushed inside.

When the rain had stopped, the king stepped into the garden.

“I have promised you gold and jewels, land and nobility. What else do I need to give you to catch a rainbow?”

“Princess Violet!” the groundskeeper’s son called out to the balcony.

The princess looked out into the garden ... and smiled. 

About Kristy 
Kristy Jaeckel is a mother who loves to write for her boys, Dexter and Wesley, who love to listen to her stories. 

KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and submissions are due by the 25th of each month. Find out more here