Prince Garrett and Chef were in the royal kitchen putting together a shopping list for Chef’s visit to the International French Town Market.
“Turkey, cranberries, shallots, sweet potato, wild turkey, greens, french bread, freshly churned butter…” said the Prince as he recited the shopping list. After a pause, the Prince asked, “Chef, would you reconsider me joining you on your shopping trip to French Town?”
“I’m sorry, but royalty does not patronize local shops,” said Chef. “But why?” the Prince asked with a long face. “It’s just not proper,” said Chef.
“There are local towns people at the shop, right Chef?”, asked the Prince. Chef nodded his head in agreement and continued to review the shopping list. “Well, one day I will be lord of the towns people…, shouldn’t I know who they are? Shouldn’t I be among the people? If one day I am to be king – then the people should feel that I walk among them, and I should not be set apart from them. Isn’t that correct?” asked Prince Garrett.
Chef, scratching his head said, “This is quite unprecedented.” “un·prec·e·dent·ed?” asked the Prince. Yes, it’s never been done before. “There is always the first time for everything,” said the Prince.
“Hmmm. Okay, just this one time we will make an exception. We will have to take the royal solders in the event the crowds get overly active,” said Chef. “Okay, but can they wear plain clothing so that it does not look like we are hanging with armed guards?” asked the Prince.
That settles it, you may come with me to the royal market, the guards shall accompany us, and they ‘will’ be wearing their uniforms.
As Chef, Prince Garrett and the guards entered the International Market in French Town, the Prince’s eyes were wide with amazement. To see so many people dressed in their different native garb was exciting. The smells of different foods from around the world tickled the Prince’s nose, and made his taste buds water. “Mmmmm, something sure smells good,” the prince shouted. Chef was pleased by the Prince’s reaction.
In addition to food, there were all sorts of fair, hanging in the store windows. There was one store in particular that caught his attention. As he looked closer, he saw two familiar faces. It was Grace and Michael.
Excited to see them, Prince Garrett jumped out of the royal cart to the window where his friends were standing. “Prince Garrett, Grace shouted!” Before they knew it all eyes were on them. Calmly, Chef began walking toward the children. By the time he reached them, all heads were bowed, and a chorus of salutations were greeting the young Prince. Prince Garrett smiled and stood upright just as he had been taught. He smiled at the town’s people and said in his most royal voice “Good afternoon.” He then greeted a few boys and girls that were about his age. He, Grace, Michael, and Chef entered the shop to provide some distance from the crowd that had gathered. The soldiers stood guard outside.
Once inside, the shop keeper pulled the shades so the children could have some privacy. Immediately, Grace, Michael and Prince Garrett embraced and squealed with excitement. “What are you doing here?” asked Grace. “I begged Chef to allow me to come shopping with him, replied the Prince. Just then, Michael walked up to Prince Garrett, looked around, and give him the secret handshake. They both giggled of the silliness of it all.
After they stopped laughing, they looked around and saw many strange gadgets and objects. Grace looked above their heads and read the sign aloud, “Marko’s Magic Emporium.”
Well that explains it said Michael. They continued to look around the quite dimly lit store. One item was more strange than the next. They saw magic wands of all shapes and sizes, crystal balls of all colors and spheres, and sharply pointed hats.
Beside them stood a large rectangular shaped crate labeled, Pandora’s Box. Grace said, “Do not open that one Prince! Do you know the story of Pandora? She opened up the box, and in turn released bad things into the land.” “She also, released good things.” said Michael. “Do you want to take that chance?” asked Grace. The suspense was killing him…he had to open the box. They all took a deep breath, closed their eyes, and watched as Prince Garrett opened the box. Dressed in full sorcerer’s regalia, out popped Magus, the Prince’s cousin.
After catching their breath, they all asked at once, “What were you doing in there?” Hunched over in laughter, and still trying to catch his own breath, Magus exclaimed, “I saw you coming in from the store window and I hid.” “You surprised us!” said Michael. “Well… it seems, Pandora’s box does let evil into the world,” said Grace. Grace, Michael and Prince Garrett, looked at each other and laughed at the thought of Magus being a mystical ‘bad creature’ from Pandora’s box.
“This place is Great,” said Magus. “I come here to discover the latest in wizardry. I plan on preforming a great act after Thanksgiving dinner.” Under her breath, Grace said, “I don’t want to be anywhere near that.” In her mind, she remembered Magus’ last great act that turned her and the Prince into rolls of toilet paper.
Trying to hide the sad look on his face, Michael trailed off. “What’s wrong Michael?” the Prince asked. “Nothing really. When Magus mentioned Thanksgiving, I thought of my own father. He’s out to sea with your dad, the King, and I have not heard from him in months. I hope he’s okay,” Michael said.
“I can always send word to my father and ask him about the whereabouts of your dad. “Would you?” Michael asked sounding slightly more cheerful. “Sure I will…I’m sure he’s fine,” assured the Prince.
“He’s been away for a while – without any word. My mom doesn’t say much, but I know she’s worried too,” Michael confided in the Prince. “Sometimes it gets hard when we don’t hear from him, especially around the holidays and now Thanksgiving is coming up. This has been the longest stretch of time that we have not heard from him,” Michael mentioned with glassy eyes.
Interrupted with the question, “May I help you your highness?” The children turned around and Prince Garrett answered, “We are just browsing.”
The old man with long white hair and beard said, “Perhaps I can show you around.”
Hugo the shop owner led the children to a locked glass cabinet containing a glowing crystal ball, some gold medallions with strange writing on them, and a plain wooden box with a slot in the top. Unlocking the cabinet, he reached inside and took out the box. Just as the children gathered around the box, Chef returned to the room with a book he had purchased. The boxed had words on top that said Thanksgiving.
“What is it?” the children asked?
It’s a hollow box of Thanksgiving. “How does it work?” asked Michael. The box has to be filled with the things you are thankful for. First you are thankful, then you receive, said the shop owner. Write down what you are thankful for on a small piece of paper and deposit it in the slot—” said the shop keeper.
“How can being thankful for what I have not received, get me the things I want to receive?” asked Michael.
“Ah, that is a very good question,” said Chef. “You see, the key is to give thanks for all things. The power of gratefulness is to be thankful in advance of receiving it. Your gratitude will influence your attitude and provide a path to your hearts true desires.
“Is this some sort of trick?” asked Michael. “Is it magic”, asked Magus? It’s no trick and it’s not magic. Then Chef said, “for where your thanks givings are, your heart will be also.”
The shop keeper added, “writing the thank you note is part of the process, what really matters is what’s in your heart.”
“There is not much to the box,” Grace said holding it in her hands for a closer look.
“How much is it?” asked Miguel. “Ten silver coins,” replied Grace, looking at the price tag on the bottom of the box.
“That’s a lot money. “Can I try it out first?” asked Michael – knowing the price was out of his reach.
“Certainly,” said Marko. “Here is a pen and paper. Remember, don’t tell anyone what you desire or let them see what you write.”
Michael wrote on the note and placed it in the open slot of the box. “Is there anymore I should do to make this work?” as Michael.
“No, just maintain your gratitude, that’s all”, said the shopkeeper.
“How long do I have to wait?” asked Michael.
“As long as it takes,” Marko remarked. Instantly, Michael began to lose faith in the ability to gain his heart’s desire. ‘As long as it takes,’ sounded like a lifetime of waiting.
Seeing Michael’s expression, Prince Garrett said, “Don’t worry Michael, we will all be thankful with you. This will keep you grateful.” Grace and Magus chimed in, “Yeah! If we are grateful together, your heart’s desire is bound to come true.”
“Thanks Guys” said Michael, trying to keep the smile on his face.
Looking at the clock on the wall, Chef said,”We better get going.” “Grace, Michael and Magus would you like a lift home?” asked Chef. Grace and Michel graciously accepted the ride. Magus already had a ride waiting for him back to Gigi’s court.
On the ride home, Prince Garrett extended Thanksgiving dinner invitations to Michael, his mom and Grace.
On Thanksgiving day, the castle was filled with familiar smells fit for a king. Prince Garrett was excited about his friends joining him for Thanksgiving dinner.
Michael was quiet during dinner. “Would you like some dessert,” asked The Prince. “No thank you,” said Michael sadly. Prince Garrett asked Chef could he and the other kids could be excused.
The children tried to play games that would cheer Michael up. Finally, they decided to ask him what was wrong. Michael started telling them how he felt that the magic box did not work. Just then, Chef entered the room with a package and a note.
Michael, this package came for you yesterday. I asked the guard to hold it for you and wanted to give it to you after dinner. “Open it!” shouted Magus.
Michael open the note:
“Dear Son, upon my travel in Spain, I entered a small shop where a woman provided me with a wooden box. She said the box had arrived from the region near Milford Forrest. When she told me that, it made me think of you…so I purchased it for you. I hope you like it.
P.S. I will be home for Christmas.”
Michael quickly open the package with the present his dad described, and saw that it was distinctly similar to the box in French Town, north of Milford Forrest.
Magus said, “That’s impossible.” “It is impossible” said Michael. “See, I didn’t believe the thankful box would work, so I stopped being thankful. My note said, that I wanted a letter from my Dad, letting me know he was okay and wanted to know when he was coming home.”
“How could it have worked?” Michael asked.
Chef exclaimed, that day in the shop we all said we would be thankful for you Michael. With tears in his eyes Michael replied “But I was not thankful”. Grace said, “I was thankful that your dad would send word to you and your mom.” Magus, said, “I was thankful that you would get a letter from your father.” Prince Garrett said, “I was thankful that we would soon know when you could see your dad.” And Chef said, “I was thankful that your heart would be put to rest about your dad. Michael, although you were not thankful, others were and we continue to be thankful together so that you may have your heart’s desire. Sometimes, others have to continue believing even when you don’t. Now that’s something to be thankful for.”
The children, Chef and Michael all had dessert and were thankful together.