Once upon a time there were two princesses. The sisters were both beautiful beyond compare and though they loved each other over all of their other friends, they had very different temperaments.
Princess Lucy was studious and had a quick wit.
Princess Emma was kind, playful and delighted in all things.
The Queen, desiring that her castle be filled with the diverting tones of the great composers, but whose time being filled with the monarchical duties that so often beset the queens of her stature, declared that both princesses would take music lessons. The royal pianoforte, being the most convenient apparatus available to the family, was the instrument of choice.
The princesses, having previously mastered drawing and painting tables, were delighted at the prospect of becoming so accomplished in music. The Queen enlisted the services of the daughter of a Duchess of Guerney, for Lady Brianne was well known throughout the kingdom for her musical prowess.
As the weeks and months pressed on, the Queen noticed that Princess Lucy seemed to enjoy her music lessons far more than Princess Emma. Not wanting to pressure Princess Emma into a talent that she did not desire to master, the Queen approached her and inquired as to whether Princess Emma would find it pleasing to terminate her music lessons forthwith. Princess Emma insisted that it would not, “I love the pianoforte, Mother! You musn’t deprive me of my only joy!” The Queen, being an understanding mother, and also being used to the hyperbolic nature of eight-year-old females, agreed that if Princess Emma would promise to practice more often, she would allow the instruction to continue.
The weeks that followed proved to be ever the same as the previous. Princess Lucy practiced daily, without prompting, for hours on end; and as such, progressed very quickly through her lessons. The King and Queen soon heard the compositions of Tchaikovsky permeating the walls of the castle. It was very satisfying to the ear. Princess Emma would gladly practice when reminded (though it was often difficult to find a time in which Princess Lucy was not already occupying the pianoforte stool), but would often go for days or even an entire week before reviewing the assignments that Lady Brianne had given her.
Finally the Queen, not wanting to spend the royal funds on lessons that would not be progressing, approached Princess Emma again about the situation. “My dearest daughter, you MUST see that this is not working! It is not acceptable that we use the royal depository simply because Lady Brianne gives you sweets after every lesson! T’would be better if we were to stock the royal pantry with Starburst and be done with it.”
“Oh Mother!” the Princess sobbed, “Please! I MUST have my lessons! I shall DIE if I do not have my music lessons!”
“I would that you wait a year or two and begin again. Perhaps if we wait until you have the dedication and maturity of one of ten years you could have lessons for the violin instead?”
“Nay, Mother! It is my heart’s ONLY desire to become a master pianist!”
“Then it seems that my only course of action is thus: You, Princess Emma, must provide the funds for the lessons until you are able to practice daily. I will continue to remind you when I can, but the duties that I have, as the queen, are so numerous as to prevent me from remembering to remind you. Therefore you MUST remember on your own if you can. Perhaps you may enlist the help of your dearest elder sister to prompt you to practice. For I shall not use the royal funds for this purpose any longer. Once you have proven to me that you are practicing, I will graciously pay for your lessons again.”
It was the custom in the royal household that the princesses be given many responsibilities so as to prevent them from being spoiled and pernicious. It was also the custom in the royal household that the princesses be paid a small amount for a few of their responsibilities so as to instill in them the value of currency and teach them that money does not “grow on trees” as they say, and that they should only spend money on that which is of worth. The Queen believed that if the princess wanted to be frivolous with money, it would be better for her to do so with her own funds.
The young princess was satisfied with the bargain, and instantly dashed to the pianoforte to practice her scales.
When the Queen apprised the King of this decision the King, being very sensible, was much concerned. “Is it not unreasonable that you would ask of your daughter that which you have difficulty with? My darling, you yourself cannot remember to complete all of your duties without the prompting of thy handmaid, iPad. How can thee expect, from the child that sprung from THY loins, that which you cannot do yourself? As the young princess is far to young to have her own maid, perhaps we could enlist the help of her elder sister. Princess Lucy’s love affair with the ivory keys can be used to our advantage!”
And so it was decreed throughout all the land that Princess Lucy would not be permitted to practice the pianoforte, unless and until Princess Emma has already done so. Princess Lucy was not pleased with this decree, for she desired to have full access to the instrument at all times. Indeed, she was quite distraught at the prospect! However, once the King and Queen explained the necessity of the law and assured her that once Princess Emma had practiced but once, she would be able to play as often as she wanted, Princess Lucy saw the wisdom in the plan, for she loved Princess Emma so and wanted her to succeed quite as much as her parents did.
And so it was, that Princess Emma learned to practice the pianoforte with consistency.