The birds were chirping, the sun was shining, and everything was right with the world. Annabeth strolled across the village square with a slight skip in her step, swinging a basket at her side. The smile on her face said that she loved her life and she was very content.

Her family was not the wealthiest in the village, in fact they didn’t have much money at all. But they were well respected and what they lacked in money they made up for in love.

Annabeth’s mother sent her out for the weekly groceries. The day was beautiful and Annabeth was happy to help.

Annabeth lived in a small cottage at the edge of town. Her father made a living as a handyman, doing odd jobs around town. If anyone in the village needed something fixed, they went to her father. Unfortunately he was a little too good at his job, because when he fixed something it always stayed fixed.

Once someone came to him and told him that he would get more business if he just didn’t do such a good job. But Annabeth’s father would not compromise his values, “If I don’t do my best,” he would say, “then how can I look my daughter in the eye?”

He made enough to feed the family, but while they couldn’t afford to go to the theaters or eat at the fancy restaurants, her family was happy to have each other. They made up plays and songs, acting them out by candle light after dinner. They played games and read the few books they were lucky enough to own. All in all, they were very happy.

Annabeth skipped up to the small, yellow front door of her cottage, “Mom I’m home,” she sang as she opened the front door.

Her Mother looked up from the dishes she was washing, “Any trouble sweetie?”

Annabeth smiled, “Not a bit. Today was a beautiful day for a stroll. Where is father?”

Her mother sighed, “Out looking for new projects. God bless that man, he just works so hard.”

A loud voice came from the door, “Did I hear someone talking about me?” Annabeth’s father came in with a grin from ear to ear, “My two beautiful ladies. Look at you Annabeth, you’re positively radiant.”

Annabeth blushed and did a twirl for her father. He gave her a big hug and then went over to her mother for a big kiss. She giggled like a school girl as he tickled her a little bit. “Now you stop it,” she said with a laugh,”Annabeth, help me with these dishes.”

And that was Annabeth’s life. Not very exciting but it was nice and usually very happy.

Later that day, just as Annabeth was finishing with her chores, there was a loud banging on the door.

“Mom, there’s somebody at the door.” Annabeth said.

“Well, go see who it is.” Her mom shouted back.

Annabeth went to the door and looked out the peephole. She saw a smallish man standing there in fancy, regal clothes, looking rather impatient. Behind him was a large group of similarly dressed people. Annabeth backed up from the door and straightened out her handmade dress. When she thought she looked presentable enough, she opened the door.

The regal looking man smiled when he saw her, “Ah, yes, you must be Annabeth. Am I correct?”

“I am she. How may I be of service to you Sir?”

The regal man looked confused, “No, not at such. My name is Parcell, and I represent their Royal Majesties, the King and Queen. They wish to speak with you.”

Annabeth was astonished, “Me? Why would they wish to speak with me? I am but one of your Majesties’ humble subjects.”

Parcell smiled, “Be that as it may, my masters have graced your home with their presence. Would you leave them standing out on the door like beggars?”

Annabeth noticed that in the large group behind Parcell stood two figures, taller and more beautiful than the rest.

Annabeth bowed, “Please forgive me your Highnesses, I had no idea you would be here. Our humble home is yours.”

The Queen spoke with practiced grace and a honey tongue, “My dear child, of course you did not expect us. Please fetch your parents, we have much to discuss with them, and you.” She and the King strode through the open door.

Annabeth’s mother came into the room, “What is all this racket. Annabeth, who was at the door?” When she saw the Royal couple, she kneeled gracefully, “My apologies your royal Highnesses, I did not know you had come.”

The King bellowed a deep and rich laugh, “Of course, but here we are. Please, stand. Where is your husband? The Queen and I must speak with you both.”

Annabeth’s mother looked over at her, “Dear, please fetch your father as quickly as you can. He’s off in the woods working on one of his projects.” Annabeth left without a word.

When they returned, the King and Queen and Annabeth’s mother were silently standing in the living room. Her father bowed and said, “My Lords, you grace us with your presence. What can a humble tinkerer do to assist you today?”

The King looked grave, “You must have seen this day coming. You see, Annabeth is not your child. In fact, she is ours.”