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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A Modern Fairy Tale, Part Four

The prince sat by the fire as the night covered the cottage. The cats and mice came in an sat with the woman, who continued her tale. The young prince took the three items out of his bag and placed them on the floor in front of the fireplace, where the flames lit these gifts up and made them look like things from heaven.

"The angels told me that the golden rose was real love, love not tainted by selfishness or pride, but sacrificial love, given only when asked and humbly. I did not know that type of love until many years passed, but now you have that love, and I give you the golden rose so that you will love another truly and for the sake of God, not yourself. You must always love someone as you love your own self, and always put their comfort before yours. When you find that princess, you may give her the rose.

The amethyst is both humility and truth. Wear it on your finger to never forget that it is only in God that we find our true selves. It is only in truth that we are made humble. Make it into a ring and wear it as king, to remind yourself that self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom." The woman placed the gem in the prince's hand and picked up the scroll. "This," she said slowly, "is the story of my life. When you take it back, you must read it to your children, to remind them of the sins youth can commit, and the need for forgiveness and purification. You will be able to read the characters when your own heart is pure."

The woman placed the scroll in the prince's hand, and then told him how to finish his tasks.

"You must go back up into the mountain and destroy the bird-dragon, the puma-snake, and the false queen-monster. These are sins which must be destroyed not by violence, but by prayer and fasting. I shall give you water and bread. You will climb, and sit by the bird until it withered and dies, and do the same with all three evils. And so, I am freed and you are freed of the sins of the past, and for you, you will gain some purity of heart. And, when you come down, you will have knowledge which I shall give as to how to gain back your kingdom."

So, the next morning, when the yellow bird woke up the two, sleeping like brother and sister on the floor of the cottage, the young man left. He did exactly as told, and after the first 10 days, sitting, praying, and fasting by the bird which talked incessantly, the prince overcame the creature, and the bird-dragon withered and died. The desire for revenge and the nursing of anger died in the prince's heart.

The prince climbed up the path to the puma, and it jumped in front of him and sat, as before on its haunches. The prince knelt down and prayed and fasted for ten days. All that time, the puma stared at him, waiting to pounce. On the last day, the puma-snake withered and died. The wind blew away the carcass and nothing was left. The desire for power and status disappeared from the prince's heart.

Then, the prince knew the last task would be the most difficult. He climbed up to the stone where the beautiful silver queen sat. She looked at him with a strange smile. The prince did not want to look at the beauty of this queen. So, he turned his back on her and knelt down on the stone. He prayed and fasted, while she sang odd songs about love. But, the songs changed and became ugly, until on the tenth day, the lady turned into the black, ugly monster, stood up and died, choking on an ugly song. The prince continued up the mountain and realized that love for love had disappeared, along with self-pity. His heart was full of a new love,

He found the rope and went back to the cottage along the same path, but when he got to where the cottage should have been, it was gone. The woman was gone, the garden was gone, the pear tree and the yellow bird was gone. Nothing was left not even the three gifts in the basket. Then, the prince sat down on the grass and was anxious. He did not know how to win his kingdom back, as the woman had left in a mystery.

Suddenly, the prince looked up and saw four men standing at the far side of the river. They were the very nobles who had desired his death. The prince was no longer afraid, "What do you want?" He cried loudly as the river was full.

"Lord, we repent. Hear us. Look we have no weapons, no dogs. Yesterday, a strange and beautiful woman came to the castle. She sought us out and gave us this basket of mysterious things. Then, when we asked her why she had come, she said that you were the rightful king and we needed you. All at once, we could feel our hearts melting within us, and we concurred that we had been wrong. Then, in front of us, she disappeared. We knew then that she was some heavenly creature.

In the castle was an old serving maid of your mother's. She cried aloud when she saw the woman disappear. The servant knew her for your father's first love. We are changed. Please, we beg you to come back."

Then, suddenly, the river lowered and all the men were amazed that the prince could walk across without getting wet. When he reached the shore, the four nobles knelt and called him lord and king. The prince went back and was crowned king. He grew in wisdom and humility, and when he was a bit older, he found a lovely women to be his bride. She was the daughter of a poor man, but gentle as the breeze which blows across the green grass at the edge of the forest.where the cottage once stood and where a yellow bird sang from a pear tree long ago.

copyright 2013