Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Life Without Tears

Once upon a time there lived a princess. She was not a beautiful princess, but she was very caring and sweet. This princess always seemed to be crying; whenever anyone in her family was sick or hurt or sad, she would cry. When any of her friends were hurting, or any of her pets, or even if she saw a stranger in pain, or heard stories about far-off wars or tragedies, the princess would cry. Big salty tears would fall from her blue eyes which would look even more blue than usual as the tears reflected the light.

As the princess approached marrying age, she started to wonder what kind of prince would want a wife who always cried. What kind of man would want to marry a girl with swollen eyes and a reddened nose, a girl who never wore makeup because it always smeared off with her tears? So the princess went to see a magician who was reputed to be able to solve all sorts of problems.

“What is it that you want?” the magician asked the princess as she stood shyly in his chamber. Her eyes were still damp from the tears she’d shed when she saw a dead sparrow on the way to see him.

The princess took a deep breath. “I want a life without tears.”

The magician looked at her kindly. “Are you sure that’s what you want? Almost all lives have some tears in them.”

“I have cried enough these past sixteen years,” the princess replied. “I want a life without tears!”

“Very well,” said the magician, who was duty-bound to use his magic to fulfill the requests of those who solicited his help. “You shall have a life without tears. Once you leave this room, you will never cry again.”

“Oh, thank you,” the princess exclaimed. She hurriedly paid the magician his fee and left the room.

As the heavy wooden door swung shut behind her, the princess realized she could no longer see or hear anything. She reached out blindly for the door handle, but could feel nothing. In a panic, the princess tried to call out for help, but she had no voice. She tried to turn and go back to the magician, but she had no legs. She was bodiless, nothing but spirit, with no eyes to see suffering, no ears to hear others’ cries, no way to connect or communicate with the world, and, true to the magician’s word, no eyes with which to cry.

She was never seen in the castle again, not by her parents or her friends or anyone else who loved or was loved by her. Sometimes at night, they thought they heard a rustling or saw a shadow in her room, but no one in the castle really believed in ghosts, so they went on searching for the lost princess as long as they lived, but they never, ever found her.

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