Have you ever gone traveling?
Maybe you hopped on a plane and flew away for a week.
Or you packed into the car for a day-long adventure.
Either way, going on a journey can be a lot of fun, right? It can teach us a lot, too. In today’s story, we’ll meet a princess who loves to travel. But she learns the most important lesson of all… by staying right at home.
Our story is called “The Princess in the Mirror.” It comes from Israel, and we recently had a chance to perform it, live on stage... with actors, music, and a really excited audience of children and grown-ups.
“The Princess in the Mirror” was adapted by our executive producer, Jessica Alpert, and me, Rebecca Sheir. Our talented cast at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Massachusetts included: Rachel Belleman, Angel Blaise, Jeremy Brothers, Lizzie Milanovich, Ben Atherton Zeman and Lucinda Zeman.
Eric Shimelonis composed our original music, and provided live musical accompaniment. Matt Reed was our sound-recording engineer. Thanks to Amy Macdonald, Candice Springer, and Kristen Holgerson at WBUR, and a big shout-out to the Boston Jewish Film Festival for inviting us to perform!
ADULTS! Print out this picture so everyone can color while listening. We’re also keeping an album on Instagram, and we’d love to see what you color. If you’d like to share your picture on Instagram, post your artwork and tag it with #CircleRound. We'd love to see it!
Things To Think About After Listening
Princess Meira loved to travel. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be? Maybe it’s on the other side of the planet? Maybe it’s right next door?
Find a grown-up you enjoy having fun with, and tell them where you would go… and what you’d want to do there. Then have them tell you where they would travel. Maybe one day, you can visit those place-- together!
NARRATOR: Once upon a time… in a far-away kingdom… there lived a princess... named Meira
Everyone in the kingdom admired Princess Meira, for she was a wise young woman with a razor-sharp sense of humor. In fact, the sound of her bright, bubbly laughter often echoed through the streets!
Meira had an appetite for adventure. She’d often journey to other lands, where she’d learn new languages, encounter interesting people, and experience different cultures.
But when it came to these journeys, the princess had two rules. The first rule, was this:
MEIRA: I must tell no one that I am a princess. I don’t want special treatment, and I don’t want anything fancy. I want to live simply, and enjoy the everyday delights of wherever it is I’m visiting.
NARRATOR: Then there was the princess’s second rule:
MEIRA: I must only travel alone. I love my family, and I love my friends. But there’s so much I want to see and do! Having a partner would only slow me down! I’m happier on my own.
NARRATOR: Now, among Meira’s best friends were three brothers – triplets, in fact! Their names were Asher:
NARRATOR: … and Ezra:
NARRATOR: The princess had known the triplets from the time they were toddlers. She often invited them to visit her in the palace garden, where they’d sing songs, tell jokes, and play games. Every time Meira returned from one of her adventures, she would entertain them with tales of her voyage... whether on land:
MEIRA: At the top of the mountain, I was so high up, I could touch the clouds!
ASHER, ELI, EZRA: Oooooh!
NARRATOR: … or at sea:
MEIRA: Then the whale jumped up, and its eyes were big as grapefruits!
ASHER, ELI, EZRA: Ahhhh!
NARRATOR: …or everywhere else:
MEIRA: Down I crept into the deep, dark cave. And when I got to the bottom, and I looked up, I could see just the tiniest pinprick of sunlight!
ASHER, ELI, EZRA: Ohhhh!
NARRATOR: Asher, Eli and Ezra loved hearing Princess Meira’s stories. But the more stories the brothers heard, the more they wanted... to be part of them. Each brother dreamed of being by Meira’s side as she climbed those mountains, sailed those seas and shimmied down those deep, dark caves.
But whenever they asked if they could come along on her next adventure…
ASHER: Pretty please…?
ELI: ...with sugar on top?
EZRA: It would mean so much to us, Princess!
NARRATOR: …the answer was always the same.
MEIRA: Asher, Eli, Ezra: all three of you are my dear, dear friends. But... I’m happier on my own.
NARRATOR: Still, the brothers wouldn’t give up. The tales Meira told were so exciting! And besides, she was so witty and wise, they just wanted to spend more time with her.
Now, the truth is, Meira wanted to spend more time with them, too! But the thought of bringing all three of them along on her next adventure… it was too much. Three traveling companions meant three more people to keep track of, three more people to worry about, and three more people to tire out!
And yet, Meira couldn’t help but wonder:
MEIRA: What if I invited just one of the brothers to come along with me? Every time I get home, I have no one to help me tell my stories. It might be nice to have someone by my side.
NARRATOR: One day, after the brothers had begged Meira for the millionth time to take them with her, she made… an announcement.
MEIRA: Listen, my friends. Next week, I’m heading to the jungle. I’m going to see jaguars and iguanas, and eat passionfruit straight from the tree! And this time… I’m inviting one of you to go with me.
NARRATOR: The brothers could hardly believe their ears.
ASHER: One of us…?
ELI: …to go with you?
EZRA: But, Princess. How will you decide which one?
NARRATOR: Meira smiled. She’d thought long and hard about that one.
MEIRA: Well, I’m not leaving until next week. So each of you has exactly one week to bring me… a gift. A gift you believe I will treasure above all other things. Whoever brings back the most ideal gift, wins. We’ve known one another for so long, surely you must have an idea of what I like.
ASHER: Of course!
EZRA: I, I think so.
MEIRA: Alright, then. I’ll see you in a week! Take care, my friends!
NARRATOR: Asher, Eli and Ezra wished one another luck, then set out to find the perfect gift for the princess.
Asher made his way to a neighboring kingdom, where he found himself in a grand, bustling city. In the middle of the city was an outdoor market, brimming with vendors selling silk and satin, furs and spices. But nothing caught his eye as something Princess Meira would especially enjoy. Until…?
OLD MAN: Excuse me, young man. May I help you with something?
NARRATOR: Asher turned and saw an old, bearded man.
ASHER: Hello, sir! Well, I’m looking for the perfect gift for a friend. She’s wise, and funny, and loves a good adventure –
OLD MAN: Well, whuddya know, sonny-boy? You’re in luck! It just so happens I have just the thing for you.
NARRATOR: The old man turned around and picked up a big... carpet.
ASHER: A carpet?
OLD MAN: This, my friend, isn’t just any old carpet. It’s a magic carpet! It will transport you any place you want to go. What better gift for a friend who can’t get enough adventure? She can go anywhere she’d like! Anytime!
ASHER: It’s perfect! I’ll take it.
NARRATOR: Asher gave the old man a few gold coins, and set off for home.
Meanwhile, another one of the triplets, Eli, had traveled to another neighboring kingdom. This one was full… of magicians. Nearly everyone there was skilled in magic and wizardry.
But no one was selling anything that Eli thought Princess Meira would especially enjoy. He was just about to give up when he was stopped by a woman wearing a colorful scarf on her head. Her silver earrings dangled down to her shoulders.
WOMAN: Excuse me, young man. May I help you with something?
ELI: I hope so! I’m looking for the perfect gift for a friend. She’s really smart, and tells good jokes, and she’s always going on these adventures –
WOMAN: Well, it just so happens you’re in luck! I have just the thing for you.
NARRATOR: The woman held up a shiny glass.
ELI: A mirror?
WOMAN: This, my friend, isn’t just any old mirror. It’s a magic mirror! You think of a place you wish to see, then you look in the mirror, and voila! That very place will appear! What better gift for a friend who can’t get enough adventure? She can look at her favorite places, any time!
ELI: It’s perfect! I’ll take it.
NARRATOR: So Asher gave the woman a few gold coins and set off for home.
Now, while Asher and Eli were buying their magic carpets and mirrors, the third triplet – Ezra – was out in the countryside. He passed through farmlands and orchards, and saw every kind of fruit and vegetable you can possibly imagine. But nothing seemed to be the ideal gift for Princess Meira. Tired, and hungry, Ezra plopped down on the ground, right beside an apple orchard.
FARMER: Excuse me, young man. May I help you with something?
NARRATOR: Ezra looked up and saw a farmer walking her horse.
EZRA: I don’t know! Maybe you can help me. You see, I’m trying to find a gift for a friend. Something that she’d really love. The thing about her is, she has this amazing brain. And she has this incredible laugh – you can hear it echoing throughout the entire kingdom! And she’s all about experiencing new things. Yet she also loves keeping things simple – nothing fancy, you know? (beat) Any chance you can help me out?
NARRATOR: The farmer shrugged.
FARMER: Well, I certainly don’t have much here on my farm. A few cows, a few goats, my old mare here. But my family’s been growing apples for years and years. They’re red as the sunset and sweet as your happiest memory. But what makes these apples truly special is this: if you take a bite, the apple will cure any illness you may have, or heal any pain. You have to be careful when you choose to use it, though, for the apple’s magic will only work one time... and you can never come back here for more.
NARRATOR: Ezra thought for a moment.
EZRA: You know what? I would be honored to buy one of your apples. Here – take everything I have!
NARRATOR: Ezra gave the farmer his entire fortune, placed the apple in his bag, and headed back home.
When he got there, his brothers – Asher and Eli – were waiting for him. The triplets told one another about their adventures and showed off what they’d found for Princess Meira. When Ezra saw the magic mirror Eli had brought home, he suddenly had an idea.
EZRA: Hey – why don’t we try out your magic mirror, brother? We can see where Princess Meira is right now, and if she’s in the palace, we can head over and surprise her with our gifts!
ASHER: That’s a great idea!
ELI: Okay, here goes. Mirror: show us where Princess Meira is.
NARRATOR: The mirror shook a little, then it began to glow. When the brothers looked in the glass, suddenly, they saw the princess! And she was in the palace! But... she looked… different. Pale, and thin, and frail, and lying in her bed.
ASHER: Could it be?
ELI: Is our beloved Princess Meira…
EZRA: … sick? Asher! Your magic carpet! We can ride it to the princess! Let’s go at once!
NARRATOR: So the three brothers jumped onto the carpet and flew across the kingdom, to the palace. Together, they ran into Princess Meira’s room. When she saw them, she tried to smile and lift her head, but she was too tired and weak.
MEIRA: My friends. Is it really you? I’m so sick, I can hardly see.
ELI: It is us, princess. We saw you were sick, by using this magic mirror I bought for you.
ASHER: And we flew all the way to your bedside, using this magic carpet I bought for you!
MEIRA: Oh, how sweet! I asked you to bring me gifts, and so you have. But magic carpets, mystical mirrors, I’m not sure what use I have for any of those things now. The doctors aren’t sure when I’ll ever get well enough to go out and play again.
NARRATOR: When Ezra heard these words, he reached into his bag.
EZRA: Meira, it may be sooner than you think. May I humbly present... my gift.
MEIRA: An apple…?
EZRA: One bite of this apple, princess, and you’ll back to your regular health again.
MEIRA: Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to try…
NARRATOR: The princess took a bite of the bright red apple. Miraculously... just seconds later… the color returned to her face, and the brightness returned to her eyes.
MEIRA: Oh, wow! I feel so much better! (beat) But, my friends, I’ve been through so much since I fell ill, I have to get some rest. Please come visit me in the palace garden tomorrow. We will continue our conversation about which one of you gets to join me on my next adventure.
NARRATOR: Asher, Eli and Ezra were so excited they hardly slept a wink that night. The next morning they dashed back to the palace to meet up with Princess Meira. When they got there, she looked healthier than ever as she greeted them with her bright, bubbly laugh.
MEIRA: Asher! Eli! Ezra! I am so happy to see you again. Now, tell me. What gifts have you brought? Who will be the friend that will join me on my next journey?
NARRATOR: Eli proudly stepped forward.
ELI: Well, princess! I bring you this magical mirror. Without it, we never would have known you were sick! And now you can use it to look at your favorite places, any time you like!
NARRATOR: Asher was the next one to step forth.
ASHER: But I, princess, I offer you this magic carpet! Without it, we never would have gotten to your bedside! And now you can use it to travel anywhere you want to go, whenever you feel like it.
NARRATOR: The third brother, Ezra, suddenly felt very sheepish.
EZRA: Princess, both Eli and Asher have given you marvelous gifts: gifts you can enjoy again and again. But that apple I gave you, the one that cured your sickness… it can be used once, and once only. So now, I’m afraid all I can offer you is a slimy brown apple core.
NARRATOR: Princess Meira smiled at the brothers. Then she walked over to Eli and gave him a warm hug.
MEIRA: Eli, this mirror of yours is absolutely amazing. It saved my life! And for that, I am forever grateful.
ELI: Aw, shucks.
NARRATOR: Next, the princess walked over to Asher, and gave him a hug.
MEIRA: And Asher. What can I say? This magic carpet is remarkable! It, too, saved my life! And for that, I am forever appreciative.
ASHER: Aw, it was nothing.
NARRATOR: Finally, the princess walked over to Ezra. She looked deep into his eyes.
MEIRA: Ezra. You say you can offer me nothing but a slimy brown apple core. But… think about it. The mirror performs its magic as often as you want or need it to. And the carpet will help anyone fly – any time. But the apple… that bright red apple… it can be used just once. You could have saved it for yourself... for one day surely you’ll need it. But, instead... you gave it to me. And now all that’s left is this simple, slimy, brown apple core. And for that…
NARRATOR: The princess took Ezra’s hand.
MEIRA: …for that, I invite you to join me on my next adventure.
EZRA: Oh, princess!
NARRATOR: And so, he did.
Ezra and Princess Meira had a glorious time traveling to the jungle together – such a glorious time, in fact, that after visiting the jungle, they journeyed around the world! They learned new languages, met interesting people, ate new foods and experienced different cultures.
And... above all… they did it simply... enjoying the everyday delights of wherever they went.