There was once a Princess named Imogen who lived in a castle at the top of a hill.
One day Princess Imogen’s parents decided that they would leave the castle for a few days to visit an elderly royal relative, leaving her all alone.
As their carriage rolled away an ogre spied them leaving as he hid there by the roadside.
Seeing his chance, the ogre sneaked up the hill and into the castle. He raised the drawbridge so that no one could escape. He ate the castle soldiers one by one. Then as Imogen was reading her favourite book, he grabbed her and locked her in a cage he had made from the bones of the castle’s soldiers.
Now an ogre’s favourite food is barbequed Princess but, as everyone knows, Princesses are poisonous for trolls unless the princess is terrified. Sat in her cage, Imogen knew that she must show no fear if she was to escape and to avoid becoming dinner for the horrible ogre.
First the ogre tried screaming and shouting and stamping his giant feet to make the loudest noise he could. Imogen simply laughed.
“Oh, you do look funny,” Imogen remarked, “even for an ogre!”
Next, the ogre tried to creep up on her just as she was waking. But Imogen could hear his big clumsy feet as he came in through the door.
The ogre jumped in front of the cage and shouted “BOO!”
To this Imogen rolled over, looked at him with tired eyes, yawned, and then pretended to go back to sleep.
Whatever the ogre tried, he could not get Imogen to appear scared, even though inside she was indeed afraid of being eaten by the monster.
On the night of the second day, Imogen overheard the ogre talking to himself, worriedly.
“What will the other ogres think,” the ogre moaned, “if they find out that I can’t even scare a little princess!”
The princess realised what she now had to do and before morning broke she had hatched a cunning plan.
Imogen awoke to the sound of the ogre roaring as loudly as he could. He bore his teeth and showed his claws and he reached into the cage and grabbed her by the feet, hanging her upside-down as she swung from side to side.
“Morning ogre!” Imogen said cheerfully.
“I have some bad news for you I’m afraid. My parents will return this very afternoon, so you may as well let me go.”
The ogre laughed.
“Good! Then I will eat your family one by one in front of your very eyes. What do you say to that?”
“But before you do I will tell them to run and tell the whole town that you couldn’t even scare a little Princess all alone in her castle!”
The ogre was stopped in his tracks. He tried to hide his fear, but Imogen could see the worry in his eyes.
“But if you let me go,” the Princess promised “then I will never tell a living soul.”
The ogre scoffed.
“How can I trust the word of a Princess that I have been trying to eat for almost 3 days?!”
“If you let me out of this cage,” Imogen replied, “Then I will tell you my greatest fear…”
The ogre agreed, and he smashed open the cage and, grabbing the Princess in one of his giant hands, he pulled her out by her hair.
“Tell me your greatest fear” he demanded.
“My greatest fear,” Imogen replied, “is of wide-open spaces. That is why my parents left me here all alone!”
The ogre grinned, and the Princess looked up at two giant rows of razor-sharp teeth.
“You are indeed a foolish Princess!” he roared and laughed so hard that the walls of the castle shook with the noise.
Then the ogre lowered the drawbridge and threw poor Imogen over it out in front of the castle. He looked down at her, waiting for the look of fear in her eyes that he had laboured so hard for.
Imogen got to her feet. She brushed the dust from her dress. Then she put her fingers to her lips and whistled. Her favourite horse broke from the stable, through the ogre’s legs and over the drawbridge towards her.
“Oh, by the way,” Imogen shouted, “My real greatest fear is having to spend another minute with such an ugly, sweaty, stupid ogre.”
The monster looked confused, then angry, then terrified as he watched the Princess leap on to the horse and charge away.
Then she rode through the nearby town, spreading the word of the ogre who couldn’t even scare a defenceless little Princess.