Sergey Nikolov is a Bulgarian children’s story writer. He contacted me and asked me to review his story, Princess Rose and the Golden Bird. Sergey writes stories for his daughter. He found that people really liked his stories. You can find information about Sergey here.
The story of Princess Rose begins with a princess. She loved roses so much that everyone called her Princess Rose. Every evening Princess Rose went out onto her balcony and clapped her hands. A golden bird would come and sit upon her shoulder. The princess would then sing. Her hair would glow red. The people of the village would fall asleep and have peaceful dreams all because of Princess Rose’s lullaby.
An evil witch heard about the princess and decided to curse her.
She said, “Abracadabra, Sim Sala Bim, may the rose’s color dim.”
This caused Princess Rose’s hair to turn black. When she tried to sing to the people, her hair did not glow red. The people had nightmares.
The princess asked the bird what she should do. The bird told her, “Black hair in rose water.” The princess followed the advice of the bird and put her hair in rose water, this caused her hair to return to its normal color. The princess could once again sing to the people and give them good dreams.
The witch was not satisfied with her efforts. She cursed the princess again, but this time, she took away all the roses. There was not a way to make the rose water which would fix the princess’ hair. The princess once again asked the bird what she should do and the bird gave her the same response, but there were no roses.
The princess began to cry. A single tear fell down and down and a prince was there. He placed a single piece of red hair on the tear and it turned into a rose. The princess took the rose and made rose water and turned her hair red again.
The prince had known the princess when they were very young and they had exchanged pieces of hair. They got married that very day. The evil witch grew so evil and upset that she broke into a thousand pieces.
Roses grew all over the kingdom from this point forward.
Rose water isn’t really going to turn your black hair red, hydrogen peroxide will do that, but rose water is a very useful substance. It’s a by-product of rose oil production and it smells just wonderful. I’ve actually eaten rosewater Turkish Delight before and it’s some good stuff. Rose water can also be used as a facial toner and for other body care applications. Most people use it for perfume though.
You can read Sergey’s story online, but following the link I put at the beginning of the post. What came to mind when I read Sergey’s story is that I could tell it had been translated into English. I think there is something missing from the story. I’m sure in Bulgarian this story sounds wonderful and Sergey probably does a fantastic job of telling this story. It probably flows together nicely and it probably catches the attention of children, but that’s in the story’s original language. I think Sergey’s story would benefit from being translated into English by someone who could add the same flare to the story in English that it probably holds in Bulgarian.
Direct translations don’t always work out.
I do think there needs to be some more background in this story. Why did the witch dislike Princess Rose so much? What was the deal with the Prince and the Princess? Where did the golden bird come from? Why could it talk? Was it a magical bird or was it just a very smart parrot? Basically, this story would benefit from more of a background story.
Sergey uses traditional fairytale elements in his story. There is a beautiful and good princess. There is an evil witch who wants to make the princess pay for something. There is a prince. There’s a magical element with the bird and the rose. These elements give Sergey’s story the ability to classify itself as a fairytale.
I’m not a fan of the “Abracadabra, Sim Sala Bim,” stuff. I think it’s overused in general.
Princess Rose was good even when times were bad for her. Even when her hair turned black, she still tried to do good. She ended up giving people nightmares, but she still attempted to be a good person. Even when times seemed the darkest for her, she still attempted to do good things. That’s really how we all should be, but sometimes we end up wallowing in our self-pity and can’t find it within ourselves to do good things when we’re down and out.
I appreciate the fact that Sergey wrote a story to give his daughter a good example. His daughter can grow up knowing that, even if she feels bad and feels low, she can still help other people.