Once upon a time in a kingdom far away, there lived a king with two daughters. One daughter, Tiffany, was lovely and fair. And her disposition was so sweet and charming, she would simply hold out her hand and a song bird would come to her and perched on her finger, sing beautiful melodies. The elder daughter, Annabelle, was, alas, the complete opposite of Tiffany. Although she possessed a brilliant mind and a loving heart, Annabelle’s looks could only best be described as plain. And that was being charitable. She was taller than most of the men in kingdom and inclined to be rather stout. She had small eyes, a prominent nose and buck teeth. Worst of all, Annabelle refused the ministrations of the court stylist, Juanito, who begged her to “at least let me use a little hairspray to give your hair some volume.: Not surprisingly, Tiffany had hundreds of suitors from all over the kingdom competing for her hand in marriage. The king had already arranged a marriage with the very handsome and wealthy Prince of Montagne. But of Annabelle, he despaired. One day the king spoke to Annabelle in hopes of getting her cooperation. “Daughter,” he said, “I am old and think often of who will rule after I’m gone. As my oldest daughter, you are the rightful heir and yet, it is a rule of the kingdom that you must be wed to become queen. If you don’t wed, I must leave the throne to the next in line, your cousin, Elroy, who, I am sorry to say, is a shallow, lazy ne’er do well and I cringe at the thought of him becoming king. “If you would only allow Jaunito to help you and perhaps lose a little weight, I know you would have many more suitors and find one who pleases you.” “Father,” said Annabelle, “I’m sorry and I often wish I would have been born with even half of Tiffany’s graces, but if I am to marry, the man I marry must have me for myself and not for your wealth or the prospect of becoming king. But to ease your heart, I will work with Juanito.” The king joyfully summoned Juanito and told him Annabelle had agreed to a makeover. “Fabulous,” cried Juanito, “I promise she won’t regret it!” Juanito put Annabelle on a strict diet and insisted she walk around the royal gardens, which were quite extensive, every day. When the king returned from a three month visit in a neighboring kingdom, Juanito arranged a special party to present Annabelle to the court. “Your majesty and ladies and gentlemen of the court, I present to you the beautiful and very hot, Princess Annabelle!” A hush came over the room as Annabelle entered. Juanito had indeed worked his magic! Annabelle wore a gown designed to make the most of her height and made her look pretty and feminine rather than fat and dumpy. Juanito applied makeup to make her eyes look larger and nose look smaller. He also coached her to smile in a way to minimize her buck teeth. Annabelle’s makeover was a huge hit. The king was enormously relieved as news of the now “new and improved Annabelle” spread throughout his kingdom. Suitors began inquiring about whether they have Annabelle’s hand in marriage and many of them came to meet with the king and Annabelle. One day, Annabelle stayed in her chambers and refused to come out to meet with her suitors. Her lady in waiting begged her to come out to no avail. Finally, the king himself went to Annabelle chambers and demanded she come out. “Daughter,” he said, “There are many suitors here to meet with you. In addition to being extremely rude, the most important men of the realm are here and you are making me look like a man who doesn’t not keep his word. I cannot have that. If you will not see these men you must offer a reason for your absence.” “Father” said Annabelle, “I can no longer bear to come out dressed up and made up to be what others want me to be. I hate wearing my hair up. I hate all the make up and I’m so hungry all the time. If Juanito tells me one more time how slenderizing salads are I think I will scream and throw Juanito out the window!” The king hurriedly left Annabelle and apologized to the waiting suitors telling them that Annabelle was ill with a very contagious plague. He urged them to leave quickly so that they would not be exposed and become ill themselves. “What will I do,” the king worried. In truth the king sympathized with Annabelle yet he had to do something to get her married. Only one week before he heard news that Elroy had insulted a king, a grand duke, and a baron at a his brother’s annual hunting party. Now his brother was facing the prospect of war with one kingdom and a broken treaty with another. “I can’t leave my kingdom to Elroy, I rather be cursed by a case of incurable boils!” The next day the king received news that a very old and wise wizard was visiting his kingdom. “Perhaps this wizard can help me with Annabelle” the king thought and he had the wizard brought to him. The king explained his problem with Annabelle and asked the wizard if he could help. “I can indeed help Annabelle,” said the wizard. “Let me talk to her.” “Are you here to put makeup on me and make me lose weight?” Annabelle asked the wizard. ‘I am not going to do anything to change the way you look,” said the wizard. “I am not going to do anything to make you more charming or sweeter in disposition,” said the wizard. “All I will do is to help you attain your heart’s greatest desire and when you attain your heart’s greatest desire, everything will work out in a way that is best for everyone.” “Hmm,” said Annabelle, “That sounds crazy but it sounds better than one of Juanito’s makeovers. Very well, wizard, tell my father I agree to work with you.” Each week, sometimes more often, for Annabelle came to enjoy talking with the wizard, Annabelle would talk about what she loved most in the world. “I would like to create the finest schools in all the world in my kingdom,” she told the wizard. “I would have the wisest teachers come and teach the children and young people so that the people of my kingdom become some of the very finest problem solvers. Other kingdoms the world over will come to us for counsel and advice. My people will live happily and prosperously.” “Ah,” said the wizard, “That is indeed a beautiful vision, you will need help will you not?” Annabelle considered the wizard’s question. “Yes,” she said, “I would want other wise people to help me because we do not yet have such schools and teachers in this kingdom.” “Perhaps you could summon such advisors to come and speak with you?” Annabelle liked the wizard’s suggestion and wrote letters to men and women in other kingdoms who she knew to possess wisdom and skills. Annabelle loved talking to these wise men and women. For the first time in her life she felt happy and respected because the people she spoke with appreciated her intelligence and ideas. Although her appearance hadn’t changed, she looked somehow looked more attractive. One day, one of Annabelle’s visitor’s asked to speak with the king. This visitor was a member of a royal family from a kingdom in the far east. He was also one of the finest mathematicians in the world and had come to discuss with Annabelle, the possibility of establishing a mathematics curriculum. “Majesty,” said the prince, “your daughter is a woman with many rare and wonderful qualities, among them subtle intelligence and a beautiful heart, I would be honored to have her as my wife.” “How do you feel about this, Annabelle?” asked the king. “It is my dream come true, father!” responded Annabelle happily. “Then let it be so,” exclaimed the king. So Annabelle married her prince and mathematician and they became king and queen. The school Annabelle dreamed of indeed became the very finest in the world, her kingdom prospered, and everyone lived happily ever after. The End.