Sansa’s fifth nameday was a grand affair. Ned had managed to find a singer for entertainment and the cooks in the kitchen were busy all day cooking all of Sansa’s favorite foods, including her beloved lemon cakes. There was feasting, laughter and dancing long after Old Nan had taken little Arya and the baby Bran up to the nursery. Robb (after a little prompting from his mother) even asked Sansa to dance, and everyone was enchanted by the little lord and lady attempting to imitate the way their parents danced. But soon enough it was time for bed, and so Catelyn carried her sleepy daughter up to her room.
The songs that the singer had sung had clearly put ideas into Sansa’s head because as she burrowed under her furs she asked her mother a question only a child could ask. “How did you and Father meet? Did he rescue you from a monstrous beast?”
Catelyn smiled the bittersweet smile of a woman who is well acquainted with the way the world works. She briefly considered telling Sansa a romantic tale, but she knew that Sansa would have to know the truth sooner or later. Nothing good would come from letting Sansa believe a lie. At the very least though, Cat could soften the blow by smoothing out the truth.
“No, my sweet. Your father did not rescue me from a terrible monster or save from a tall tower.” Cat paused for a moment as she decided how best to continue. “You and I are great ladies, are we not?”
Sansa nodded her head enthusiastically.
“Well, great ladies must marry great lords. When I was old enough to marry, my father searched high and low, throughout all of Westeros for the best of the great lords to be my husband, and he found your father. Your father is a great man, Sansa. He is brave, kind, honorable, and just, even if he isn’t a hero from a song. He loves me and you and your brothers and sister, and he takes very good care of us.”
“Will Father do the same for me?” Sansa asked, her uncertainty about the whole situation coming through in the slight tremble in her voice.
“Yes, Sansa dear. When you are old enough, which is many, many years yet, Father will find you a great and handsome lord who will love you just as much as your Father loves me- which is a very great deal.”
Sansa nodded solemnly as she considered what her mother had just told her- her little brow was furrowed as she processed this new information.“Will we live happily ever after?”
There was a brief silence as Cateyn thought about how to answer her daughter. “Sometimes we have to make our own happy endings, my sweet. But your father will find a good husband for you, and if you work at it, you can live happily ever after, just like your father and I are.”
Feeling reassured, Sansa snuggled down into her bed and pulled her blankets up to her chin.
“Good-night, Sansa dear.” Catelyn whispered as she blew out the candle and pressed as soft kiss to her daughter’s forehead, knowing that today Sansa had taken another important step in growing up.