Before the events of Tangled there was a young boy growing up in an orphanage. He had the biggest dreams and the kindest heart. This is the story of Eugene Fitzherbert.


2. ONE

     “Read it again, read it again!” little Jack clambered on my knee, shoving the book in my face.

     I laughed. Jack was the youngest of us orphans, and by far the most innocent. His big brown eyes stared up at me in a pleading tone, but looking around I could see every other boy was falling asleep.

     “Not now, Jack. C’mon, time for bed.” I removed the book from his chubby little hands and picked him up. He was heavy for such a little child, but it made it even more difficult to carry him when he nestled into me. I had to wrestle him away from my shirt as I lowered him onto the scratchy pile of hay that served as his bed. Bringing the blanket over him, I tucked him in and said goodnight.

     I walked around the room to put out each of the candles. The warped floorboards groaned under my weight, even though I tried to step lightly as to not wake the other boys. Before I put out the last light, I looked around the room. We orphans had bundles of hay for beds and bristly covers to keep us warm, but we also had each other. It was not uncommon for us to fall asleep slumped against each other or curled up under the same covers. I put out the last candle and made my way to the bed in the corner.


     The roosters crowed in the early hours of the morning, reminding me that I had to wake up. The hay clawed at my face as I disentangled myself from the covers, and the remnants of sleep weighed down on me as I fought to get up. Slipping my boots on, I padded my way outside to collect the eggs.

     “Good morning, Daisy,” I greeted the ginger chicken as my hand reached down to grab an egg to add to the basket. In response she cackled and ran away. I shrugged and collected more eggs.

     My feet scuffed through the door and I handed the eggs to Miss Lotte. She graciously accepted them as usual, and pulled out a frying pan to start preparing breakfast for the boys. I gave her a peck on the cheek before throwing the satchel over my shoulder and headed out the door.

     Miss Lotte was our caregiver, and she was the sweetest lady we could have asked for. She always wore these puffy sleeved maid’s dresses even though we insisted she wasn’t such a thing to us, and she always made the finest of meals. She constantly tied her brown ringlets in a bonnet and took no nonsense from anyone, as shy as she was. Miss Lotte had raised me and had told me everything there was to know about my past which, admittedly, wasn’t much. In fact, she had raised all of us and knew all of our stories, and she was so patient whenever we asked for her to repeat them again and again.

     I took my time in getting to the village. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the boys, but I preferred isolation. On my walk of solitude, I realized that today was turning out to be a beautiful day. At seven in the morning the sun was already high in the sky, and the leaves that created a canopy overhead shone as though they were emeralds. The birds were chirping merrily as they flew between the branches, and the path before me, though well trodden, seemed golden in contrast to the beautiful green of the grass that bordered both sides. A cheerful tune soon escaped my lips.

     By the time I arrived the village was bustling with people. Stopping in front of a stall I flicked a couple of coins onto the counter and snagged a bag of apples. With a smile and a wave towards the owner, my feet guided me to the pigpen on the far side of the village. Breaking the apples in half, I threw them to the pigs who welcomed me with a series of snorts.

     Munching on the last apple I made my way to meet Miss Ingrid. Standing in front of the tan brick building I drew in some breath before hearing the chime of the bell as my arm shoved open the door. There she slapped a hat on my head and dumped a load of flags into my satchel. Purple in colour, they carried our kingdom’s emblem: a bright, yellow sun.

     Miss Ingrid pushed me out the door and sent me on my way. I had to sell as many flags as I could before sundown. It was to help raise awareness. After all, it was the fifth anniversary since the disappearance of the princess.

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