Mondays Finish the Story – They say Life is a Game of Chess!

2014-12-15 - BW Beacham

Photograph by Barb W. Beacham copyright © 2014

The Photo and Sentence Prompt: “They say that life is a game of chess…”


They say that life is a game of chess. Okay, I’m good with that, after spending (in my previous post – the story for Sunday Photo Fiction) a cold, drafty hungry weekend at a castle, I’m really into the whole game of chess thing. Just one question – who made the queen so powerful?

Could we have a little more sharing of powers going on here. I mean the king can barely take a step in any direction without getting stomped on, and he’s the king. You know, head honcho, main dude, Number Ono, and the big prize on the board, still he’s pretty much powerless. But perhaps there’s a truth in this.

Maybe it’s true for everyone. Perhaps the meaning of life is that the king’s not much different than the lowly pawn. Well, except the king has people wait on him and wears groovy clothes and things, but other than that, oh and he probably eats really well and has people (probably the pawn) help him find his way around drafty castles”… no wait this isn’t working out the way I thought …

I guess life is like a game of chess because they both confuse the heck out of a person.


For more information about Mondays Finish The Story (flash fiction) Writers Challenge, where the writer uses both a photo and an opening sentence for the prompt: click HERE. Barb will guide you through the process, be sure and read some of the other well written entries while you’re there.

Thanks for stopping by and reading,

~ Penny

Alastairs Photo Fiction – The Princess and The Maid

When I saw Alastair’s photograph of a castle, I thought of all the fairytales I had read as a child. (many) and knew I would be writing a fairytale. This is a short story, not a flash fiction and it far exceeds the 150 word limit of this writing challenge.

His photograph this week was excellent inspiration for me and I encourage you to join in the fun of Alastair’s Photo Fiction writing challenge! Click here.

To read a brand new fairy tale read on:


The Princess and The Maid – A Fairytale

She was spoiled. It was well known in the kingdom. Since her birth the King and Queen had given her everything so she always got her way. As a result she grew up with complete disdain for just about everyone and everything; except for one person, the scullery maid. The lowest servant in the castle, Gwen was a sweet gentle girl who was always rescuing small animals and was kind to all.

From the time she was old enough to talk, Princess Catherine was pampered and surrounded by adults. They were everywhere. The only time she was allowed to be just a little girl began the day Gwen (only a few years older) felt sorry for her and snuck her into a hidden room, accidently discovered in a remote part of the castle.


Gwen the servant, playing a fairy

From then on the Princess and Gwen would sneak off whenever they could to giggle and play, pretending to be beautiful woodland fairies before going back to their respective positions in life. One very high and formal, the other a lowly servant. They grew to love one another as sisters. In their own secret world.

Princess Catherine playing as a fairy

They continued to meet as young adult ladies, although not as frequently. When Gwen would comment on the rude behavior of Catherine to others, Catherine dismissed her words saying, “they aren’t worthy of my bother!”

Gwen would insist that everyone had value and worth and then go about her business. Her words, as usual, ignored by the haughty Princess Catherine. This might have gone on forever, her selfish, spoiled behavior. Except that one day she noticed Gwen had been missing for awhile.

She asked her personal maid where Gwen was and was told she was very ill and would probably not survive. The princess rushed through the castle upsetting all until a carriage was arranged and the princess transported to a tiny little hovel at the end of the village, where the only true friend she had every had, the maid Gwen, lived.

The cottage, no more than a hovel, was sparsely furnished. In one corner, a bed where her friend lay, barely breathing. Upon seeing her friend, she hurried over, tears in her eyes. The princess knelt by the bedside, grasping Gwen’s frail and fragile hand. Gwen slowly opened her weary eyes and when she saw the princess she smiled. “You came, your highness” She said very faintly.

The princess knew the maid did not have long to live and in a sudden moment of realization she finally understood what her friend had been telling her for all the years of their friendship. “Oh Gwen you mustn’t die, you are too good to die. I should die instead, I am selfish and unworthy of life but you are so pure and good.” She sobbed not caring if her royal face was stained and puffy with tears.

Gwen coughed, her voice a soft whisper as she spoke her last gentle words to her noble friend. “Then you shall live for me, and you will be as good as you can be to all those you meet. And I shall live on, through you my friend. Promise me you will do this. And we will be sisters forever joined through the bonds of love.

On the day Princess Catherine made the  promise to her dying friend, she changed and become the model of a loving caring individual. She went on to rule as Queen, and not for a single second, of a single day, did she ever forget her promise. The noble Queen had learned to become humble, with the death of her only friend. From that time on, she ruled with love and cared for all.

The End


Today we need fairytales more than ever. Fantasy for certain, but an engaging way to learn and remember a few of life’s, sometimes, harder lessons. I hope you enjoyed. Have a wonderful week!

~ Penny

penny l howe

Fun and Awesome – A Tricycle!

I love to ride bicycles. I always have and while I must claim no relationship to the Howe Machine Company of Glasgow …


Howe bicycle company


I would very much wish to have owned the amazing looking tricycle in this very old advertisement from Paris.

I instead have settled for this poster applied to several attached boards hanging in the playroom of the house.

Isn’t it awesome?

” …I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike,
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like.”

~ Freddie Mercury, Queen


Thanks for stopping by,

~ Penny Howe

penny l howe

How about a nice game of chess!

A Story behind my Chess Pieces – replica’s of the original (circa 1150 -1200)

Okay this is very interesting to me …

… And if you are female you will also find this most interesting, possibly even illuminating.

First though, today’s title is a key line from an older movie called “War Games” where a self aware computer finally figures out that nobody wins when there’s war, so the computer says (at the end of the movie to his creator) … “How about a nice game of chess”. I couldn’t resist making that the title.

Second, my purpose with this blog is to share those things I’ve discovered through personal experience and research. My byline is “curiouser and curiouser” (another classic line, this time a quote from ‘Alice’ from the book, Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Caroll note here – The author did not mind being grammatically incorrect. He was obviously inclined to go with being creative with the word usage to emphasize a point 🙂 ).

So here’s the thing that’s curious, in chess guess who is the strongest, most capable piece in the game? The Queen! Yup! The King (when on the chessboard) is standing right next to her, with sword in hand no less. So why is the Queen the one that has such a wide variety of moves at her disposal? The “power” so to speak?

The chess pieces (photographs I took last night) are very unique. I purchased this ‘specially’ made set some time ago. They are an exact duplicate of chess pieces found on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland under mysterious circumstances. They were found sometime before April 1831 which is when they were first exhibited at the Society of Antiquaries in Scotland. It is believed that the chess pieces were found by a farmer in a small dry-stone chamber inside a sand dune.

The originals are elaborately carved pieces from walrus ivory and whales teeth.

It is now assumed that they were probably made in Norway between the years 1150-1200. The appearance of the different figures (stay with me here I’ll get to the point soon) are northern in their character and strongly influenced by Norse culture. Why would I purchase these?

It is because my father told me that not only was my heritage Norwegian but also Celtic. There are fairly strong ties to both in that area of the world, hence my fascination.

There’s more to this story so if you’re on time restraints go ahead and hit the “like” button and move onto the next blog, it’s okay I don’t mind, really… Of course then you will never know “the Why About This! lol

So why is the Queen the one with all the power (and would you look at the expression on her face, Oh-My-Gosh! I’m guessing she knows she’s in charge, lol). And for those astute individuals who are just now noticing that those pieces look awfully familiar – a replica of these same chess pieces was used in the Harry Potter Movies!

The answer to the question is that from a his-torical perspective (notice in most cases that history is from “his perspective not “hers”, just saying…) in the middle ages the Queen – in the game – begins to take on more power. There is no 100% “for sure” reason to account for this change so it does make one wonder why the female (in the game of course) would have the most maneuverability.

My final answer. The Queen is the game changer. Not only does she protect the king, She (we females) think and respond in a manner that lends itself well to change. As our past shows. Through adversity and strife we still keep ‘keeping on’ don’t we. We just don’t give up!

I’m guessing that we ‘as women’ should be pretty proud of all of our ancestors. Proud of who and how we are, proud of overcoming some of our adversities to date and of course very capable of continuing on in the same path for the future of our children, our families, our people and our planet – therefore I say with hope and confidence – checkmate!


Thanks for the visit, I hope your week begins well for you,

~ Penny

Copyright © 2012 by Penny l Howe