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Princess puts smiles on children’s faces

POULSBO — Even though the sun didn’t shine for the princess, the smiles on children’s faces as she read to them were a more than sufficient substitute.

Children of all ages filled the Sons of Norway lodge Sunday morning for a glimpse of Norwegian royalty as the Princess Martha Louise read from her children’s book, “Why Kings and Queens Don’t Wear Crowns.”

Three of those smiling faces included Nicholas, Sophia and Sasha Woltersdorf from Poulsbo who came to see the princess and hear her story.

“I’ll probably read it as soon as I get home because I’m a big reader,” said 8-year-old Nicholas, who was dressed in traditional Norwegian attire.

All of the stories the princess told were fun, but the part about the trolls was especially exciting, Nicholas said.

The big, bad trolls may have intrigued her brother, but for 6-year-old Sophia, the princess’ clothes caught her eye.

“Everything was pretty and I really liked her sparkly skirt,” Sophia said of the princess’ outfit which was accented by a pink blazer. “I really liked the whole thing.”

Princess Martha’s story is based on the childhood experiences of her grandfather King Olav, who was the first crown prince after Norway split from Sweden in 1905.

“He was a good skier and would ski everyday,” the princess told the audience as she recalled winters spent in the mountains with him.

Even though her parents and grandmother would rush back up the mountain after skiing down it, her grandfather would stay awhile and walk with the children, she said.

“We enjoyed his skiing much more than anyone else’s,” she recalled. “He would tell us stories and we thought he knew everything.”

With winters spent on the slopes, Princess Martha Louise told the audience that in spite of being part of the royal family she had a fairly normal childhood.

“We had plums, pears and apples in our park but that’s not as much fun as the neighbor’s. Ours didn’t have a hole in the fence, but our neighbor’s did,” she said, reflecting on the fact that the opening allowed her easy access to her neighbor’s fruits.

Those youthful indiscretions would eventually lead to the neighbor storming out of his house screaming at the princess and her friends, she said.

“Once he saw it was me, he would invite us in for cocoa,” she said with a big grin.

The princess then told a story about another princess who loved golden apples but was kidnapped by a troll in a mountain before being saved by a farm boy.

“Trolls are big and dumb and if they see sunlight they turn to stone or float,” she explained, noting that trolls play a large role in Norwegian folklore.

When no one could find the princess after she was kidnapped, a mere farm boy found his way into the mountain and together with the princess defeated all of the trolls to return her safely to her family.

“That explains why I grew up the way I did,” she said, noting that her friends were often not of royal descent.

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