Ik dacht: nu ik de Gorcumse Literatuurprijs op zak heb, heb ik eigenlijk mijn doel voor 2019 al bereikt. Wat kan ik nog doen om het mezelf moeilijker te maken? Meedoen aan een schrijfwedstrijd in het Engels misschien?

Zo gezegd, zo gedaan, en kijk: na twee pogingen heb ik al een finaleplaats beet (maar nog geen winst).

Sweek #MicroPalace finalists

Dit is het verhaal waar het om gaat:

The Empty Palace

The princess sat alone in her palace. She didn't understand what had happened to her. Being happy was the only thing she had ever wished for. Was that so much to ask for?

One morning she caught her chambermaid sighing and sobbing. The girl confided that she was in love; unfortunately, the parents of her beloved deemed her too poor to marry their son.

"What nonsense!" said the princess. She immediately fired the girl for ruining her morning mood. Subsequently, she gave the gardener the sack. The chambermaid was his sweetheart; instead of decorating the princess's breakfast table with freshly picked flowers, he went out to comfort his girlfriend.

The situation escalated quickly. The princess’s wise teacher warned her: "One day you’ll run out of people to blame for your lack of happiness; that will be a very lonely day." She gave him the pink slip for his insolence.

The princess terminated so many people that no one could afford paying taxes anymore. The bottom of the treasury chest was starting to show. Clearly this was the fault of her ministers, the princess thought, and she dismissed the government.

The last ones to go were her parents, the king and the queen. They could no longer watch their daughter throwing away her every chance at happiness. They died of grief and there was no one left to crown the princess as the new queen. She remained a princess forever, without happiness, alone in her empty palace.