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HOW THE “XO” CAME TO BE by Abby G.

Abby G., Age 11, Pennsylvania

My name is Princess X. I used to be a maid for the royal family, but I fell in love with their son, Prince O, and he fell in love with me. We eventually got married, but before we got married, there was a great feud between our families. A long time ago in the village of Alphabetus, there was a great feud between our two families, the royal family, including the Evil Queen Letter, the Evil King Letter, and Prince O, and the poorest family in the village, including Uncle Alphabet, Aunt Alphabet, Grandpa X and me. One day in the village square, Prince O was out buying some sugar cubes for his horse. I was also in the village square selling linen cloths. Suddenly, Prince O remembered he had to buy his mother a new table cloth; at the same moment, I was delivering a parcel to the town butcher. We were both rushing distractedly to our destinations when, without warning, we crashed into each other.

After we ran into each other, I asked, “What is your name?” and he answered, “My name is Prince O.” “What is your name my fair lady?” he asked. “My name is Miss X and I’m a maid for the royal family.” “I’m King and Queen Letter’s son!” Prince O said. “Oh you are? Well my uncle said not to talk to anyone in your family.” “Why not?” he asked. I responded, “Because our families are involved in a great feud.” “What made our families so mad at each other?” he asked. “Have you ever heard of the war of Tic-Tack-Toe?” “Of course I have. What a brutal war it ’twas.” “Well, your village of the O’s was victorious. My village was furious because your village cheated.” “Excuse me, my village would never cheat.” “Well they did, but anyway my village was so mad that they stole your village’s best livestock.” “How could they steal our livestock?” “How could you cheat?”

Over lunch, our conversation continued heatedly. “Maybe my village never even cheated and your village was just jealous,” Prince O babbled on. “My village is too proud to be jealous,” I replied. “Well maybe that’s not even how the story goes,” Prince O snarled. “Art thou kidding me! That is how our parents taught us,” I declared. “Maybe they were lying to us.” “My family would never lie,” I remarked. “You never know.” “What I do know is that your evil family would lie to you.” “M-m-my family is not evil,” Prince O stammered. “Maybe we should investigate to find out if the story is true,” Prince O exclaimed.

While my family was having supper, I asked my uncle to tell me the story of Tic-Tack-Toe. “Alright,” he said. “A long time ago the evil king and queen wanted to go to war because our village won the championship for Tic-Tack-Toe and their village was full of very sore losers; after the war, our village found out that their village cheated.” “No, I want to hear the real story,” I replied angrily. Everyone around the table was shocked at my outburst. “Th-th-that is the real story.” “I think it’s time to tell her the truth Uncle Alphabet,” Grandpa X interrupted. “So you want the truth?” Aunt Alphabet said. “Yes I would!” I demanded. “The truth is that our village was just a tiny bit jealous when they won the championship; I went into their village and stole all their weapons and livestock,” Uncle Alphabet said in an ashamed tone. “Why would you do that?” I asked. “I ’twas bitter, but they DID cheat.” “What did they do to cheat?” “They stole our most prized milking cow ‘Ol Betty, she was the one that would give our soldiers their strength but when their village stole Betty our soldiers were weak and tired.” “Why would they do that?” “Who knows?” Uncle Alphabet sighed. “Wait a minute!” I interrupted. “I recall, when I was a young girl seeing two strangers, not from our village and not from the village of O’s, leading a cow away from our stables. I raced to go tell you, but you were too busy making a deal with the butcher and sent me away.” Uncle Alphabet whimpered, “I vaguely remember that incident. I am so sorry, this is all my fault. I will journey at dawn to the castle and apologize for my mistake and all the years of feuding it caused.”

My uncle set off at dawn just as he said he would, but before he went, I gave him a small loaf of bread and a little honey, and I told him do be careful. “And remember to be polite and please don’t start any fights,” Grandma X admonished. “I shall be fine and I shall be back before the moon rises into the sky. ” Goodbye I will miss you! Aunt Alphabet, Grandma X, Grandpa X, and I whimpered. “We will miss you too!” “Wait! I want to go with you,” I bellowed. “I’m afraid you can’t,” declared Uncle Alphabet. “W-w-why not?” I stammered. “You are still to young my dear,” Uncle Alphabet said gently.” That may be true but I’m very mature for my age,” I protested. “Honey, we just don’t want you to get hurt,” Grandma X told me wisely. “Please, please, please let me go!” I asserted. “Alright, you may come, but we mustn’t dilly dally.” Uncle Alphabet said hurriedly. “Thank you, oh thank you!” I gushed. At once, we were on our way. We arrived and met with King and Queen Letter. We discussed the dilemma over a hardy lunch, and my uncle apologized and asked for their forgiveness. “We forgive you,” they announced together. I was so happy that Prince O and I could get married! A few weeks later, we got married. It ’twas a magical night, and our two lands would only exchange hugs and kisses forever more.

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