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RAVENSWITT CASTLE // the princess and the ghost

This is a story written as a class project by the third-grade class of Colleen Waite at Ozona Elementary after they heard freelance writer June M. Entwistle speak.

Ravenswitt Castle stood tall, overlooking the rocky coast of Maine. Princess Sylvia had been born in the castle. She and her father, the king, lived there alone. Well, almost alone.

When King Ravenswitt came to America, he decided to bring the family castle. So, stone by stone, brick by brick, the castle made the long voyage across the ocean. The king had given up his kingdom. He'd left everything behind. At least that's what he thought.

When the castle was rebuilt on a stony shore in Maine, the king was very happy. Soon, he married a wonderful lady. Princess Sylvia was born a few years later. Sadly, the king's wife did not live a long life, but the King did his best to make the princess happy. He did not know that she spent most of her life afraid.

Princess Sylvia was afraid of a ghost that lived in castle. The ghost appeared only to the princess, and thus no one else believed he existed.

Now, Princess Sylvia was very pretty. At 23 years old, with brown hair and brown eyes, the 6-foot-tall princess was oohed and aahed at by everyone. Still, there seemed to be no young man who caught her fancy. There was no one to make her heart sing. There was no one to make her forget about the ghost.

The ghost had never hurt her, only frightened her. He was big and mean looking, even ugly. Anyone would have been afraid.

One summer day, Princess Sylvia wandered through the garden. The air was filled with the scent of her beautiful flowers. Her vegetables shone like precious stones under the jewel-like morning dew. The princess walked calmly through the garden. She felt the warm sun on her face. Her golden hair flowed around her like silken threads. The basket she held grew heavy as she collected flowers and vegetables.

The day was beautiful. The air smelled sweet and fragrant. The sky looked clear and blue. Princess Sylvia had forgotten about the ghost. The beauty of the garden with its singing fountain had freed her of her fear. The princess had finished her collecting. She gazed lovingly at the array of flowers and vegetables in bloom.

A noise behind her made her turn around. There, a few feet from her, stood the giant ghost. He was 10 feet tall. Her eyes followed the length of the giant upward. Her gaze continued up past his face to the clear, blue sky as she felt herself falling backward.

Whump! The beautiful princess heard the heavy sound as her body fell to the ground. Her head spun. Her heart pounded. From the corner of her eye, she watched the colorful contents of the basket spill on the cool, green grass. She had fainted in fear of the monstrous ghost.

The next thing the princess remembered was a feeling of being lifted and carried. She opened her eyes and saw the garden's great fountain. Its music calmed her.

Princess Sylvia felt she was being held. She thought her father, the king, had come to her rescue. The arms that cradled her on the stone wall of the fountain were warm and strong. The princess felt secure and safe.

She turned her head, fully expecting to see her father's strong face. What she saw almost made her faint again. It was the ghost! Big and white and scary looking, the ghost bent over her.

"Please," said the ghost. "Please don't be afraid. I won't hurt you."

He helped her sit on the edge of the fountain and stepped back. Princess Sylvia looked up at the ugly, giant ghost. For the first time in her life, she did not feel frightened.

"I'm sorry for scaring you all these years," the ghost spoke softly. "My name is Matt."

He looked to the princess like a boy, shuffling his big ghost feet along the grass.

Princess Sylvia said, "I never knew you had a name." This surprised the Princess. The ghost had haunted her all her life, yet it had never occurred to her that he might have a name.

"Matt," she repeated. "That doesn't sound so scary." Looking up into the ghost's eyes, she saw that he didn't look so scary now.

"I'm sorry I frightened you, Princess Sylvia," Matt spoke gently. "For a thousand years, I've haunted this castle. I'll do it no more."

"But why did you stay here?" asked the princess. She was suddenly very interested in this ghost named Matt.

"A thousand years ago," he said, "when this castle was being built in London, there was a terrible accident. I was a boy at the time, helping my father move the great stone."

Matt sounded sad as he continued.

"One of your ancient grandfathers accidentally ran over me with a wagon."

Princess Sylvia gasped in horror.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," she cried.

"It's all right," Matt continued. "It wasn't your fault, and I had no right thinking it was so."

"What do you mean?" the princess asked.

"I was so angry when I died that I built my ghost right into the stone walls of the castle." Matt knelt in front of the princess. "It was wrong of me to have haunted everyone who lived here. Especially you, Princess Sylvia."

"Me?" the princess asked. "What do you mean?"

"I've known you since you were born," Matt said. "I watched you grow into a beautiful woman. I ... I ... " The ghost of Matt could not finish.

"What is it, dear Matt?" The Princess was genuinely concerned.

"I fell in love with you." The words gushed out of the giant ghost's mouth like the water rushes from the fountain.

"Oh, you dear, poor thing." The princess was touched by this show of emotion and leaned to kiss Matt on his ghostly cheek.

Suddenly, there was a great whooshing sound! A cloud appeared and disappeared as quickly as the tiny kiss of the princess. When the air cleared, Princess Sylvia looked with amazement.

"What happened?" The princess gasped. "Who are you?"

The giant ghost had been replaced by a handsome young man.

"It is I," he whispered. "It's Matt. Thank you, Princess Sylvia. Thank you. Your kindness has released me from my self-inflicted prison."

Princess Sylvia smiled at the young man. She knew at that moment she had found the man who would fill her heart as her beautiful garden had filled her basket. Together they gathered the spilled contents of the basket. Hand in hand, they walked to the castle. Princess Sylvia was excited and happy, anxious to bring her good news to the king.

This story was written by Matthew Asplin, Suzanne Ayotte, Kimberly Baar, Andrew Bender, Stephanie Bernardo, Christa Blank, Alyssa Bozeman, Andrew Call, Cord Crenshaw, Brenna Dolson, Joseph Felix, Shane Haydon, Sondra Kopit, Ryan Mueller, Ehren Murburg, Ashleigh Pike, Aundra Poulsen, Jessica Powell, Gwen Purssell, Matthew Richmond, Erik Turgeon, John Warman and Sylvia Hemminger.