Many years ago a Director of a Security Company read an article about a writing competition. He scratched his bald head and thought about entering for a laugh…he had a story in His mind…so he did! It won, much to His surprise as it was a little out of context with the brief they had given..which was “What is important In Life”. Many years later this Director was forced to make a change in His life..and became a Scribe. This is what started Him off….
Once Upon a time……………….
The beautiful Princess sat in her ivory tower, gazing wistfully from her window wondering when her Prince would come. She had been in the tower for most of her life, so her perceptions of the real world were, it could be said, a little different from yours and mine. Over the last three years she had befriended a lowly servant who tended to her needs and ensured that the trials and tribulations of everyday life did not intrude into her world. He was there every day, day in, day out, listening to her woes, her fears, her wishes, never passing judgment but trying in his uneducated way to make her world a better place. They sat and talked for hours; well, she talked he listened, and together they dreamed the dream of a future wherein the Princess would live happily ever after. At night when the world was still, the servant would lie awake and ponder the events of the day, planning how he could make the Princesses wishes come true but make it seem as though they were just natural occurrences. Once in a while, when the Princess was feeling particularly pleased with how her day had gone, she would invite the servant into her bed (after all, even Princesses have basic needs) and the servant would retire that night in raptures.
One day, when the servant returned from his usual chores around the kingdom, the Princess bade him to sit as she had something she wished to tell him.
“Oh lowly Servant” she said, “You have tried your best for me, been there whenever I have needed you, never judged when I have had my Princess Tantrums, never questioned some of my more dubious thoughts on life, and even satisfied the Princess Urges when required. Despite all this I have decided it is time for us to part. You will always be a lowly servant, whereas I am a Princess and will move in circles you could never aspire to, discuss higher things that you have no comprehension of, for I am educated in the ways of human development, and you are not.”
As the servant sat quietly taking this all in, the Princess reached over and gave him a pat on the shoulder…”Fear not servant, I am sure you will one day find another to serve. She may not be as beautiful as I, or as nice a person, but she will be adequate for your needs”. The servant looked up as the Princess continued…” If you have difficulty in finding someone, you may visit me once in a while so that you may serve and worship for a few hours,yet that will have to be under supervision as I know your feelings for me are all-consuming but I will allow you to feel them, for I do not mind.”
The servant gazed upon her lovely countenance. He absorbed the shape of her face, the sparkle in her bright blue eyes, the curve of her sensuous lips, and felt a hollow place open within him. The Princess slowly but firmly ushered him towards the door. “You must understand servant, I have received a calling from a land far away, it has sent me this gift”…and she opened her hand to reveal a diamond, a diamond the size of 10 PrincessPence coin…” See…” she asked…” This is what the world is all about…and you cannot hope to posses such a thing of beauty for you are not of my station, and therefore not worthy…” She gave the servant a quick peck on the cheek, and then closed the door quickly behind him.
The servant stood at the top of the long winding stairs, the very stairs he had climbed each day to take care of the Princess, and scratched his arse.
“Well…” he thought.” What will become of me? I have spent so long in pursuit of the Princess’s happiness I have forgotten what I need to do to take care of myself!” He shuffled slowly down the stairs, mumbling to himself about lost loves, double standards, conceit and arrogance, until he finally stepped out from the tower and into the sunlight. He stood blinking for a while, trying to decide which direction he should take, when a wagon appeared over the hill. It drew closer, and the servant could see it was driven by what looked like a serving wench. He watched as it pulled up along side him, and the wench looked down. “You appear to be a man about to set off on a journey” she smiled…” Can I give you a lift?” “But I have no idea where I am going!” said the servant “So how can you take me there?” The wench just chuckled…”It matters not Oh handsome servant, it would just be my pleasure to help you on your way, and while you are getting there it will be my pleasure to have your company”. The servant shielded his eyes from the sun so that he could get a better look at this wench. He noticed she was fair of face, with kind eyes and a happy tilt to her smile, and then noticed she had offered her hand to him to assist him onto the wagon. He carefully took it in his large servants paw and climbed up beside her. The wench gave a flick on the reins and the wagon slowly moved away from the tower, the servant turning to watch it shrink into the distance, a sad cast to his eyes.
“So!”. Said the wench brightly…”Tell me a little about yourself, what have you been doing with your life?”
“I have been serving a beautiful Princess for the last few years, taken care of her every need, and yet despite all my efforts I was not worthy of her love and respect, and I have been released from my duties”. “That is SUCH a shame!” said the wench…”And did she give you a reason?” “Well…” said the servant” she said it was to do with something like this…” and he reached inside his robes, to a pocket sewn into his jerkin directly over his heart. He withdrew his hand, and there, barely able to be contained in even his large paw, was a diamond…a diamond roughly the size of an orange………
The wench looked down into the servant’s hand. *How”…she asked…”would someone who put so much esteem into such a thing allow you to leave?”
The servant smiled sadly but knowingly…”Sometimes people see what they need to see, their eyes become focused on what they believe is important. If they only used their peripheral vision they would see what is around them, what is closest to them, and their perception of what is REALLY important would change.” “That’s quite deep shit!”….said the wench….”Wherever did a lowly servant such as you grasp such ideas?” The servant turned to her and looked deep into her eyes. The wench forgot to flick the reins, and the cart ground slowly to a halt without either noticing. They sat for fully five minutes, just looking….
The servant reached out his hand, calloused from many a chore, hard and rough, and his fingers whispered across the wench’s cheek…” Fair maiden”…he rumbled quietly….” I have seen many things in my life; I have been many things to many people. I have served at the altar of beauty and grace, of ugliness and decrepitude. I have sailed to the moon on the wings of love, and sank to the depths of despair on the back of the vilest demon. My heart has been lifted by a glance, and my soul been condemned by silence. I have been a lowly servant my entire life pretty lady, yet have been fortunate to scale the pinnacles of mortal emotion through living amongst those who would scale those heights and dare to reach above them knowing that failure may mean their doom. I can sit here, in this ramshackle cart, put my hand on my heart, and say, without any possible recourse from living man, that I have learned how to love.
It does not mean blind acceptance. It does not mean bending one’s own will and desire to accommodate the foibles of another. It does not mean letting one’s own morals, beliefs or human code slip because it would suit the object of your desire. It means exactly the opposite.”
The wench sat back, and re-appraised this strange servant who had come into her life by merest chance. She looked him over carefully, aware by the beating in her own heart that she was in the presence of the unknown. She looked him squarely in the eye, aware that the darkness she saw was drawing her in, could feel the shift in her body as it leaned towards him…..she raised a hand and planted it in the middle of his chest.
“Stop this nonsense!” she cried…” You talk of all these strange emotions, these feelings that you profess to have felt, and yet you, a servant, could not possibly be in a position to have experienced ANY of it!!” She opened her mouth to continue the tirade…and then stopped…aware of the subtle change within the servants eyes….and she felt a small pain deep in her breast…that became an ache…and dissolved into emptiness around her heart. She watched as the servants eyes told the story of his life…a million words condensed into a change of shade, a thousand tears blended into a glisten….. She fell silent.
Twenty years later the wench, no longer so full of the joys of youth, was muttering to herself as the cart rattled along the path. The day was too warm; the seat too hard, the journey too long, the horse was too slow….it was not a good day. The cart crested a hill, and there before her was a tower. At first she did not recognize it, but as she came closer the memories came flooding back…THAT tower! She eased the cart to a standstill, and painfully climbed to the ground. The tower loomed above her as she circled it quietly…Coming to the door, a soft prod with her foot made it squeak open an inch, boldness making her push it fully ajar and take a step into the gloom of the stairwell. Holding her breath, she started the long climb to the top, each step causing a memory to flit on dark wings across her mind, the nape of her neck bristling with anticipation as she ascended the spiral slowly.
The heavy studded door looked formidable as she rounded the last curve, but she could see light along one edge that meant it was open. Carefully she eased herself into the room at the very top of the tower, and waited whilst her eyes adjusted to the single candlelight. It was a bare, cold room and in the very centre was a bed. The neatness of this bed was only spoiled by the raised profile of the woman lying deep within the heavy quilt that glowed dully in its satin comfort. The wench walked with silent steps to the edge of the bed, and looked down on the sleeping woman. She must have been beautiful, she thought, many years ago, but now time and life had etched deep sorrow into the fine complexion.
The woman opened her eyes slowly. The wench noticed their vivid blueness, and as the woman focused on her face she gave a slight smile that was, were it not for her age, one of sensuality and longing. “Is he with you?” the woman asked….
An hour later the wench stepped from the tower. The tears on her cheeks glistened in the evening sun, and her breast still shuddered from the emotion wrought from her within the tomb behind. She sank slowly to the grass, leaning her face to the cool blades and drinking in the smell of life and normality that the last hour had rendered irrelevant. She could still picture the face of the woman as she told the story of what might have been, what should have been, and what was never to be. She had watched as those bright, beautiful eyes had dimmed in death, as those full lips had sunk back into the face of a woman so full of regret that living had ceased its importance beyond the telling of her tale to the last person she would ever see. And she remembered the words……
“Listen to me child; take heed of all I will tell you…for it is a tale that will cross breed and continent, race, religion and status. One may believe they have the answer, believe they know the right path, and believe they have the right to seek what their heart desires. Forget such high ideals my girl, forget what others tell you is for the best, what is the “right” thing to do. Look for that person, the one who carries the diamond. You may not recognize him at first, or even like him on speaking, but the diamond will let itself be known to you in ways you will not comprehend. It will call to you in your sleep. It will invade your thoughts in the waking hours. And you will surely know. The diamond-bearer may not be within your reach for very long, so hold him while you can. Keep him close, closer than your very skin, for he will be the one that makes your life worthwhile and your dreams reality. He will love you without recourse, desire you at your worst, and comfort you without reward. He will smooth the rocky path, be the strong arm when you falter, be the softness in your sleep.
One thing, above all others, you must remember……He will also be the one who cares enough to let you go……”
The wench sat quietly watching the sun set behind the hill. As the orb slid out of sight it gave a last burst of light, the brightness of which she had only seen once before in her life, twenty years ago when a stranger reached into his pocket………