Another AFTER happily ever after story is set to begin. (Illustration by H.J. Ford.)

“I can’t wait to hear your rip snorter story!” Simplia smiled!

“Who the heck is Rip Snorter?” Sagacia asked. (Sometimes that woman can be so literal!) “Oh, never mind; I get it,” she added.

Flossie Squashblossom heaved a sigh of relief. “Well, . . . “

“But before you start,” Sagacia interrupted, “I want to ask a question.”

No one objected, so she continued. “Is it a story about a king and queen?”

“Why do you ask,” Flossie hedged.

“Well, because of something the story of Anait and Vachagan made me think of,” Sagacia said, squinting her brow in thought. “See, when they married, he was a prince, but later he ascended the thrown and became a king, and the important part of the story takes place when he was a king. Namely, he was older than story princes are, and he was married.”

“Where are you going with this?” Simplia asked.

“I’m just saying that stories about ‘princes’ and ‘princesses’ are often about finding one’s life mate, and once the tale reaches that goal, we—and the characters in the story—are satisfied. Happy. The protagonist has passed that stage in life and can now “rest” a while until whatever comes next. And whatever comes next is going to happen to a king and queen, so it seems like if you find a story about a king and/or a queen, you’re going to find a story that resonates with married people in midlife, like our Happily in Hapsburg who asked the question to begin with.”

Simplia cocked her head to the left then to the right, then she placed her finger on her chin.

“So, if it’s a story about a king and a queen,” Sagacia went on, “it is a story about a couple who have been married for some time, and often they have daughters or sons of their own, princesses and princes, who vex them in some way. Or perhaps they vex each other like Happily in Hapsburg’s examples of Clever Manka and The Lute Player. So king-and-queen stories seem the most likely ground to till for stories about what happens after the honeymoon.”

Flossie cocked her head to the right, then to the left, then she placed her finger on her chin.

At last she said, “Well, let me just tell you my rip snorter story, and see what you think!”

“Okay,” said Sagacia. “But Rip Snorter still sounds like a 1920s western movie star to me, not an after the happily every after moment story.”