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A Barbie® Signature Exclusive: The Legend of Faraway Forest®!

To celebrate the final festive dolls in the Faraway Forest® Collection, we’re thrilled to share something wonderful with you!

Barbie® Signature Project Copywriter Eleanor Oliver has been writing the packaging copy for these fantastic fantasy dolls, but she’s also written something more: a secret history of Faraway Forest®. It tells of an ancient prophecy, and a humble Elf Princess unexpectedly bidden to help fulfill it. We’ve shared excerpts from the tale of arduous journey in recent posts revisiting the dolls of the collection. Now, the full story can finally be told!

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“Fate goes where she must.”
-Irish Proverb

Far from her home in the Elf Village, the Elf Princess reaches her destination in the Fairy Kingdom. Menacing dark clouds loom overhead and cast a dark shadow over the entire land. Once a lively realm filled with delightful music, flickering lights, and flittering fairies, it has become home to sadness and despair. Gathering her velvet cloak tightly about her and covering her fiery-red hair with her hood, the princess continues towards the castle gate. As she approaches, she overhears a guard whisper to another, “She’s the one”.

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Once inside the castle’s majestic hall, she is taken aback by the sound of a slow mournful wailing. A rather nervous magistrate greets the princess and guides her through the castle. He explains the wailing is coming from the king. He is mourning a broken heart. The Queen of the Dark Forest used her magic to trap the king’s betrothed, the Maiden of the Meadows, deep within the Dark Forest. The Elf Princess shudders at the mere mention of the evil queen.

Legends and lore had long foretold of this time in Faraway Forest. Condemned to live out her existence in the Dark Forest, the queen became jealous when the King of the Fairy Kingdom chose the Maiden of the Meadow to be his bride. In a fury, she tricked the maiden and cast the Fairy Kingdom into eternal darkness. Unless the maiden is returned, the spell will not be broken.

To the surprise of many in the king’s court, he did not dispatch an army to rescue the Maiden. Nay, standing before them on this dark and blustery night was an elfin princess, dressed in the woodland garb of her people. She wore no armor, nor did she have a weapon for protection. The Elf Princess was just as taken aback by the king’s appearance. His garments were drab and his crown dull. If he had once been a strong leader, she could not tell now.

Dismissing the concerns of his court, the Fairy King reminded them the Elf Princess and her people are immortal and possess keen skills that will aid her on this treacherous mission. Her magic will serve her when strength will not; for within her staff she carries the purest of light. Looking directly into her eyes, the forlorn king tells the princess, “With your powers, you can go where armies cannot. You are the only one for this journey.” Handing her a map of Faraway Forest, the king advises her to visit their allies throughout all the kingdoms, including a special appeal to the Lady of the White Woods. As the sister of the Queen of the Dark Forest, her powerful magic may be their last hope.

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With nothing more to be said, the Elf Princess leaves the fairy kingdom to begin her arduous journey. She travels west, to the realm of the Magical Lagoon. Perhaps the Water Sprite can read the oracle and direct her to the king’s treasure. As she winds her way through the enchanted Mystical Meadows, the Elf Princess is delighted to make the company of wood nymphs. The kind nymphs prepare a meal for her and keep watch over her while she sleeps.

A fortnight and a day later, the Elf Princess arrives at the mystical Magical Lagoon. As she rests along the gleaming water’s edge and waits for the arrival of the Water Sprite, she is careful not to glimpse at her reflection in the water. Such an act would seem vain and could anger the Water Sprite. Before long the shimmering water stirs and the luminous Water Sprite emerges from a great whirlpool.

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The Elf Princess has never seen anyone more beautiful. The Water Sprite’s translucent blue skin sparkles in the sunlight. Long locks of cerulean blue hair cascades down her back. Her flowing gown undulates like gentle waves. She is both alluring and haunting at the same time. With her trident raised, the Elf Princess senses that the Water Sprite is poised to protect her kingdom.

Nervously, the Elf Princess explains she has been sent for an oracle reading. Without uttering a word, the Water Sprite dips her trident into water and swirls it around. As images begin to appear, the princess gasps. She sees the location of the Maiden of the Meadows. More images swirl to the surface: a crystal cave and then pure white woods. The Water Sprite points to the mountains on the princess’s map where she’ll find the Crystal Caves. Before dipping back into the lagoon, the Water Sprites taps her trident to the Elf Princess’s staff. A bright blue light beams from the crystal.

The Magical Lagoon fades into the distance as the Elf Princess begins the slow climb up a snow-covered mountain. The wind howls and the frosty air chills her face. The only speck of color on the mountainside is her loden-colored cloak. She arrives at the looming chasm that serves as the entrance to the Kingdom of the Crystal Caves. Gleaming glacial formations tower above her.

Once inside, she finds the King of the Crystal Cave has been expecting her. Perched atop his crystal throne, he is the fitting image of a mighty ruler. From his broad, chiseled jaw to his daunting muscular build, it’s clear he too is ready and capable of defending his kingdom from enemy intruders. As he speaks to her, the Elf Princess finds herself mesmerized by his piercing, icy blue eyes. While he may look formidable in his armor, he is also kind and reassuring. To the delight of the princess, he even shares the meaning of the fierce wolf emblazoned on his breastplate.

The king expresses his concern about the Queen of Dark Forest and her involvement with the missing Maiden of the Meadows. The unfilled prophecy will have a dire impact on all kingdoms in Faraway Forest. Since he cannot leave his kingdom lest they too fall prey to the Queen of the Dark Forest, he uses his sword to chisel a piece of crystal from his throne. “Carry this with you, and guard it carefully,” he warns the princess. “I trust you will know when to use it” he tells her. Nodding to the blue light glowing from the staff, he adds, “I see the Water Sprite has bestowed upon you the power of her realm. Collect a talisman from the Lady of the White Woods and you will have the force of Faraway Forest to serve you.”

He appoints a wolf pack to guide her safely through the frosty tundra to the land that borders his kingdom. The king wishes the princess well and tells her, “You will find the castle of The Lady of the White Woods just beyond the winter-white forest. From there only she can guide you on the final portion of your journey.”

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It’s nightfall when the Elf Princess reaches a majestic birch forest. A stretch of bone-white trees shines brightly in the moonlight. The wolves bay at the moon before retreating back to the crystal kingdom. A family of hooting snow-white owls fly off in the direction of a clearing, startling the Elf Princess. She follows them, minding the white, winding path that suddenly opens to an enchanting alabaster palace illuminated by the moonlight. Delighted and happy to visit a beloved friend in her enchanted kingdom, the Elf Princess picks up her pace.

The Lady of the White Woods descends a cascading ivory staircase. Her flowing, ruffled gown gives the illusion she is walking on air. Her crown and striking neck-piece are silvery branches and feathers gleaned from her kingdom. When she reaches the bottom step, the Elf Princess bows and greets the Lady: “Your majesty, I am the Elf Princess, daughter of the Elven people. I have traveled throughout the kingdoms at the request of the good Fairy King.”

The Lady gestures with a nod and responds, “We have met before. I am glad to see that you are well.”

Surrounded by a menagerie of sorts, the Lady of the Woods escorts the Elf Princess to her throne room where she listens intently as the princess reveals the plight of the Fairy Kingdom. The Lady of the White Woods shares that she is well-aware of her sister’s treacherous hand in the matter and agrees she must be stopped before all the kingdoms are cast into darkness.

The Elf Princess had hoped the Lady of the White Woods would join her on the last leg of the journey, but alas, the queen explains that is impossible. When her sister chose to study the dark arts, their rivalry grew even more intense. When their father was on his deathbed, he split his kingdom into two: one light and one dark. He forbade either daughter to trespass on the other’s land in order to maintain peace and harmony for all in Faraway Forest. Violating his wish would cost each her magical powers.

While the Queen of the Dark Forest dared not set foot in the White Woods, that did not stop her from luring Faraway Forest folk to her kingdom. Only a pure, powerful light could quell the spell of darkness, explained the Lady. Plucking a branch from her crown, she hands it to the Elf Princess and tells her, “You now possess talismans from each kingdom. Guard them, for they will protect you in the Dark Forest.” She then warns the Elf Princess: “You must quickly find the maiden and get out of the forest as fast as you can.” She explains that her sister’s magic is so strong it may weaken the spell of the talismans. The Lady offers her bravest to journey with the princess, but they are to go no further than where the White Woods meet the Dark Forest.

The land between the White Woods and the Dark Forest is vast and desolate. It is absent of flora and fauna. An eerie, deafening silence pricks the princess’s keen ears. Donning her hood, she forges alone through a dense fog. In the distance gnarled tree limbs seem to reach out menacingly towards her. Summoning the courage and strength of her people, she taps her staff on the ground three times. A bright beam of light shines from the magic crystal. Anxiously, she continues along a jagged path.

A heavy air engulfs her as she walks. Feeling confused, she wonders if she has been walking in circles. She cannot see the path ahead of her and every gnarled tree looks the same. Stumbling her way through the thicket, she hears a faint voice repeating, “I am here.” Uncertain if what she is hearing is real or a spell cast by the Queen of the Dark Forest, the princess points the tip of the staff in the direction of the sound. The crystal glows brighter and the staff pulls her deeper into the Dark Forest.

A sentry of enchanted gnarled trees retreats as the Elf Princess is pulled towards them. As her eyes adjust, she sees realizes she is now in the center of a clearing and high above her is an iron cage holding the Maiden of the Meadows. The Queen of the Dark Forest emerges from a bowing row of thickets. They rise as she passes.

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“Mind that you do not look directly into her violet eyes,” the maiden shouts to the princess. “For if you do, you too will become her prisoner.” The Queen of the Dark Forest let out a long, piercing cackle. The Elf Princess stands frozen in her tracks, not from a spell, but from fear. The queen walks slowly towards the princess, pricking the ground with her scepter as she walks. Tiny black ravens appear with each prick and then squawk away into the darkness. The queen’s long black gown shimmers in the darkness. A horned crown crafted from onyx adds to her foreboding presence.

“Silly elf,” hisses the queen. “You are a fool to enter my kingdom.”

The Elf Princess stands steadfastly, still avoiding the queen’s eyes. Tapping her staff vigorously against the barren ground, a brilliant glow illuminates the gnarled trees. The queen cringes. “I carry the light from each realm in Faraway Forest,” declares the Elf. “Release the maiden and we will be gone.”

With the wave of her scepter, the queen’s tree guards move in closer. “You do not possess enough power in that staff to stop me,” mocks the queen.

Reaching into her boot, the princess collects the talismans she had gathered from the other kingdoms. Holding them tightly in her hand, she again hits her staff against the ground. The maiden’s cage rattles and shakes above them. The door swings open. Closing her eyes, the Elf Princess calls upon the wisdom and power of her elders. The talismans feel hot in her hand, but she clenches her fist tightly. A blue beam of light, the gift from the Water Sprite, swirls around the Queen. She is trapped in a whirlpool of light. The Maiden’s cage begins to lower.

Just as the queen breaks free, the Elf Princess takes the ice crystal from the King of the Crystal Cave’s throne and throws it in the direction of the queen. A crystal ice wall encases the queen.

The maiden jumps out of the cage and races to the Elf Princess. “We must hurry,” the princess implores the maiden. “These spells will only hold the queen for a short while.”

“How will we escape darkness, once she is free?” asks the maiden. “We are still deep in the queen’s woods.”

“You are the way,” the princess whispers to the maiden and hands her the silvery branch from the lady’s crown.

Once the tiny branch is in the maiden’s hand, the gnarled trees are transformed into a beautiful evergreen forest. A luminous path directing the way out appears before them. As the pair run towards the sunlight, behind them the trees return to their twisted dark form.

Safe from the Dark Forest, the Elf Princess is relieved to see the sun shining throughout Fairy Kingdom. As they get closer, they encounter fairies flitting from tree to tree, hanging festive streamers as they go. The Fairy King had received word that the pair were returning and declared a holiday for all. Merriment is restored and everyone helps prepare for the upcoming celebration.

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On the day of the long-awaited royal wedding, fairy folk line the path to get a glimpse of the beautiful Maiden of the Meadows. The maiden wears a flowing empire waist gown trimmed with gold accents and she carries a delicate bouquet of flowers from her meadow. Her veil cascades over her long red hair and flows behind her as she walks. The prince looks striking in his gold-trimmed tunic and elegant velvet pants. Reunited with his betrothed, the pair exchange their marriage vows. An enchantress magically transforms their wedding attire; the majestic matching outfits symbolize her gift of everlasting unity.

This day was foretold long, long ago: light would conquer dark and true love would endure time and distance. As the celebration continues long into the night, the fairy prophecy has been fulfilled and all lands save one rejoice. Peace, light, and love reign once again in Faraway Forest.

 

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I think the story would have made the dolls more desirable form the beginning. Knowing that there was a story mskes the dolls more understandable Maybe just a bit of the story at a time.

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