That is the question. Because I have read in multiple places from multiple professionals not to prologue. Yet it seems 85% of the fantasy books I open have a prologue! Now what am I supposed to think? Well, I decided to prologue. It's short and sweet and hopefully enough to convince the reader to go on to chapter one. Here it is:
The first few days were the worst of the boy's childhood.
He screamed, he cried, he begged, and he lay as one dead on the floor of the stranger's cottage. Unanswered questions burned in Miles' three-year-old conscious like coals that refused to cool. Where was his father? Why hadn't his father come back? Who was the stranger, with his frothy white beard and callused hands? Why had his father left him with this terrifying old man in his endless garden? And most of all, when was he coming back?
One day, after the stranger had given him a trowel and told him to dig up some weeds along a garden path, he was flooded with another wave of terror and bewilderment. He crawled beneath a hedge in the palace gardens, watering the soil with tears. Body exhausted with sobbing, he descended into a mixture of whimpers and hiccups. His fingers clenched and unclenched the moist soil convulsively.
He saw something skitter and roll over the dirt and the leaves toward him, a tiny, bright blue marble that glimmered and sparkled. It stopped a few inches from his foot. He stared at it, his wet eyes entranced by his own reflection in the swirling depths of the little glass globe.
Suddenly a pair of knees appeared, then a pair of hands, and then his sanctuary was full of lace and golden curls and two eyes as blue and fathomless as the marble.
Those eyes met his own unremarkable brown ones, and the two children stared at each other with open and astonished curiosity. The little girl's hair was tangled in the bushes around her, but she did not seem to mind. She blinked at him one, two, three times, then looked down. "Aha! There you are!" She grabbed up the marble like a greedy crow snatching at a berry. She seemed about to retreat when she remembered the boy. She wormed closer to him, her blue eyes sharp and calculating. Finally she cried, "Ha! You've been crying!"
Instantly he scowled in preparation to defend his young ego, but she went on, "A princess never cries, little boy. I am a princess and I don't cry." She smirked, a proud expression which angered and intrigued him. He had heard about princesses before in stories. He had never heard about princesses who lived in rose bushes, however.
Then her face softened and she frowned at him. "I wish you wouldn't cry. It makes me want to cry and a princess must not ever ever cry. Here, have it. It will make you feel better. It makes me feel better to give it to you. A princess is always mag-ninny-mous. Detty tells me so."
"Rosamelia! Where are you, you little royal ragamuffin?" A grown-up voice intruded rudely on their conversation, and the girl pouted. "That is Detty," she whispered conspiratorially. "She is so bossy." Then with a toss of her curls and a scowl, she scooted herself backwards and was gone.
Miles looked down at the smooth marble in his hands, the swirling blue so very like the little girl's eyes. His fingers closed around it tightly and he tucked his fist, the marble cool against his palm, under his chin.
That was the day the boy fell in love with the princess.