First Love Never Dies - by Julie Harris - “There, there, little one. Poor thing. Oh my sweet baby, wee orphan …” I know that voice, that slightly off-key singing.


“Bless you child, you remember me!”

Of course I remember her. All my childhood memories revolve around her. Rocking me, telling me stories, singing me to sleep, wiping away my tears. The first word I ever spoke was her name.

“They sent you away!”

“They did, love. But now I’m back again, by royal decree.”

I climb into her lap and she holds me close like when I was a baby. I’m five now, and much too big for coddling, Father would say. But Father’s gone and Mother too. I start to tremble, remembering the terror of these past weeks. I burst into tears. Bridget doesn’t scold me, as Mother always did, or give me that angry scowl, like Father. She just rocks back and forth with me in her arms, and the grim, grey walls of the castle seem to soften. The nursery becomes cozy again, a place of comfort and warmth.

“I do so love you,” she whispers.

No one has said those words to me since the wonderful days when Bridget was my wet nurse and nanny. The servants bow and curtsy when I walk by, especially now, and they obey my every command, but they don’t smooth down my unruly hair or kiss my forehead. No one ever, ever touches me.

A knock comes on the door of our little sanctuary.

“Your Highness, time for your daily visit to the library.”

“No, thank you. I won’t be going today.” I try to make my voice deep and manly. After all, I am the King now, even though a Regent will do all the hard stuff until I get older.

Father loved his library. The poison section. The medical books. The illustrations of exactly where the needle should be pushed, into the base of the skull. Now that my parents are both gone, I don’t need to go back there.

“You’re my mother now,” I tell Bridget, gazing at her in adoration, content at last.

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Julie, your title made me expect a romantic story, so I was pleasantly surprised to read a fiction from the point of view of a child. The five year old has a great sense of humour which was illustrated by deepening his voice and commenting that the “Regent will do all the hard stuff…” Your image admirably reflects the story. Sweet relationship between the little Royal and her reunited nurse even though there are dark tones in the loss of his strict parents and in the medical books. Spooky!

Thanks so much for your feedback, Margarida. Yes, I wanted to portray a different kind of love - the bonding of a newborn to its “mother”, in this case a surrogate. I’ve often wondered if children with wet nurses/nannies felt that strong connection even though it wasn’t biological. Our little king certainly did. In fact there was no end to what he would do to get his first love back!

I was thrilled to find that picture with a Creative Commons license. It is exactly what I imagined our little king drawing as he daydreamed of sad days that finally turn happy again. Those two little ghost graves in the lower right hand corner are the final touch. Shivery!

Wow! I didn’t expect that kind of first love that never dies, Julie. So heartwarming. The strong connection between nannies and the children are rare nowadays. And if the strong connection is there even it wasn’t biological then that is LOVE actually. Such a lovely read.

Thank you Lotchie. Yes the little King really loved his Nanny. This is a story about love, but it also has a darker side. Sometimes “love” drives us to terrible deeds …

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