“Mom says you have to read me a story, Marcus,” said Daisy.
“Alright,” said Marcus. “What do you want me to read? ‘Dinosaurs from A to Z’? Or ‘The Triceratops’s Giant Pretzel’? Or ‘The Barosaur Who Came to Dinner’?”
“No dinosaur books!” cried Daisy. “I want a princess story!”
Marcus sighed. He really hated princess stories. “Do I have to?”
“Pleeeeeeease?” begged Daisy.
“How about ‘Dr. Terwilliker, the Clever Ovoraptor’? You like ‘Dr.Terwilliker’! Here goes—‘Dr. Terwilliker was a clever ovoraptor who lived in the city in a high-rise apartment’—”
“Mooooooooooooom!” shouted Daisy.
“Alright! Alright!” said Marcus, dropping the book. “How about I tell you a story about a dinosaur princess?”
Daisy thought about this. “Okay!” she said finally.
Marcus rubbed his head for a minute and then began.
“Here’s the story of Cinderaptor: Once upon a time, in the Mesozoic era, there was a beautiful Velociraptor named Cinderaptor. She walked upright on two legs, had a long straight tail and was two meters in leng—”
“BORING!” shouted Daisy.
“Alright, I’ll skip the facts,” said Marcus, sulkily. “So anyway, Cinderaptor was very kind and good and had the most beautiful feathers in the land.”
“What color were they?” asked Daisy, wide-eyed.
“What color do you think they were?”
“PINK!” shouted Daisy.
“Okay, she had beautiful pink feathers. She lived by the Tethys Sea with her ugly step-stegosaurs. Now the step-stegosaurs made Cinderaptor do all the chores, like cleaning their rooms, and cooking and taking out the garbage. The ugly step-stegosaurs did nothing but eat mosses ferns and fruits all day, and kept cool with their plate armor.
"One day the King of the Dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus Rex decided to throw a party for his son, Tyrannosaurus Prince.”
“Oooh,” said Daisy.
“So King Rex sent invitations to all the dinosaurs on Laurasia. When Cinderaptor and her step-stegosaurs saw the invitation, they all wanted to go. The step-stegosaurs both laughed at Cinderaptor, saying that she was so dirty and covered in rags that all the other dinosaurs would laugh at her. Cinderaptor cried and cried as she made two gigantic dresses for her step-stegosaurs and saw them leave for the Dinosaur Ball.
“As she was crying she heard a gentle voice say, ‘Don’t cry, Cinderaptor! I’ll help you go to the ball!’ Looking up, Cinderaptor saw a beautiful Hadrosaur with sparkling wings and a magic wand. ‘I’m your Fairy Parasauralohpus! Since you’ve always been a kind and good dromaeosaur, I’m going to send you to the Dinosaur Ball with the help of my magic wand!’”
“Cool,” said Daisy.
“The Fairy Parasaurolophus waved her wand and turned a cycad into a coach. She turned four cimolestes rodents into a team of Quetzlcoatlus and turned a Pachycephalosaur into a driver.”
“A human driver?” asked Daisy.
Marcus realized that the story was getting away from him. Being only eight, he tried to fix it as best he could.
“He was still a Pachycephalosaurus but he could drive now. It’s magic, Daisy. It doesn’t have to make sense.”
“Oh,” said Daisy.
“Finally, the Fairy Parasaurolophus waved her wand and Cinderaptor was wearing a beautiful dress and glass slippers.”
“So Cinderaptor flew off to the ball in her flying coach. Her Fairy Parasaurolophus warned her that she would have to be back by midnight, ‘cause that’s when the magic would end. When she arrived at the ball, all the Dinosaurs agreed that she was the most beautiful theropod they’d ever seen. And Tyrannosaurus Prince himself asked her to dance.
"They danced for hours (which musta been kind hard with the Prince’s little arms). Cinderaptor forgot to check the time until the clock started striking midnight. Cinderaptor ran out of the Tyrannosaurus Palace before her dress turned back into rags and her driver couldn’t drive anymore. As she was running, though, one of her glass slippers came off. She didn’t even notice it ‘till she’d gotten back home.
“Tyrannosaurus Prince was really sad that Cinderaptor was gone, ‘cause he’d fallen in love with her. But when he found her glass slipper, he had an idea. He’d go to every dinosaur on Laurasia and ask them to try on the slipper until he found his true love. Many Dinosaurs tried, but none of their feet could fit into the dainty glass slipper with the GIANT toe-claw.
“Finally he came to the house of the ugly step-stegosaurs. The clumsy herbivores tried to cram their fat padded feet into the glass slipper, but they had no chance. They didn’t even have a toe-claw to fit into it. The Prince was about to leave, when Cinderaptor asked to try on the slipper.
"‘Don’t pay attention to Cinderaptor!’ said the step-stegosaurs. ‘She’s only the maid.’
"But the Prince saw Cinderaptor’s toe-claw and decided to let her try. Cinderaptor’s foot fit perfectly, and the Prince knew that this was his one true love. He asked her to marry him, and she said yes. Then together they jumped on the step-stegosaurs and tore into them with their fearsome jaws—”
“NO EATING!” shouted Daisy looking shocked.
“Uh…” Marcus thought hard. “So… they all went bowling. The end.”
“Did the Prince marry Cinderaptor?”
“Sure. They lived happily ever after.”
“That was a good story,” said Daisy with a grin. “Do you think you could tell me another Dinosaur Princess story?”
Marcus smiled at his little sister. “Sure. Tomorrow I’ll tell you the story of ‘Snow White and the Seven Deinonychus.”