The Princess And The Garden

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

After months of nothingness I'm finally able to write another short story in the format of an apologue. The construction is pretty rough but I want to let the piece stay in its extempore form. While the setting is borrowed from Ragnarok Online, if you take away the word "Prontera" and replace it with some magical kingdom name, it's good as neutral already.

The Princess And The Garden by Redkinoko

Once there was a young princess who lived in an aging castle by the far end of the Pronteran countryside. The kingdom itself was not poor but because it was out of the way of major cities and far from any places of interest, few visitors ever came to the place.

Every morning, the young princess would go to the front balcony and look out at the single winding road leading to her castle. There, she would eagerly wait for visitors to come - but few ever do.

Just below the balcony was a wide expanse of grass garden - maintained by an old man and his son who was about at the princess's age. Everyday, after the gardener boy's tasks were completed, he would go outside the castle, into the forest and did not return until the sun set. The princess never really noticed this since she was always too busy waiting for vistors to come.

Then one day, she was surprised to see the boy call out to her from the garden one evening. "Princess, I've gathered these flowers for you," he proudly said while raising a wonderous bouquet of wildflowers never seen outside the dark forests. "They show my feelings for you and I would be delighted if you could accept them."

The princess was delighted at the sight of the flowers, but at the thought that a lowly gardener would come to woo her, she refrained from taking them from him. "I wait in this balcony for my prince to come, see," replied the princess. "I cannot accept these flowers for they do not come from the man of my dreams."

The boy smiled, gave a gentleman's bow, and left.

The following morning, the same pattern happened. The princess stayed by the balcony, the gardeners tilled the soil, and the boy disappeared into the forest for the rest of the day.

Nothing much was to ever change, it seemed to the princess as the days went by. That is, until one day, she noticed that some things were indeed changing. By the garden, a row of flowers had begun budding. It was a refreshing to her eyes to see something new growing out of the garden. Everyday, a new set of colours would grace the slowly developing garden. In time she started looking forward to seeing the slow transformation of her garden. She still kept her sight at the empty roads beyond, but at the same time, she found replacement happiness in watching the flowers multiply.

Months passed by and the garden began to blossom into a beautiful paradise. It was said to be more beautiful than that of the Royal garden in the Holy Capital of Prontera. By word of mouth, people began to learn of the garden of the castle and travelers from all over the land flocked to the castle to see the garden with their own eyes.

The princess was all too glad to see visitors finally coming in. She wanted to thank the yung gardener boy who probably helped out in making the place more popular but she could not find him.

A few years later, a prince from the neighboring kingdom came for a visit, and in a pleasant turn of events the princess fell in love with the prince. A wedding was immediately planned, followed by a lavish banquet.

This time, the princess could not let pass being wed without thanking the gardeners who made the garden such a wonderful place. She went to the house of the gardeners one night and was greeted by the old gardener.

The princess thanked the old man for the garden and offered to grant him anything he wished. The old man smiled and wished that she would hear out the garden's story. The princess, puzzled by the gardener's request, promtly agreed.

By the table, the man finally told the story of the boy who maintained the garden. It was said the the boy had fallen for the princess the moment he saw her sitting by the balcony. Everyday, after his work, he would go to the forest at the risk of his own life to forage for the rarest of flowers that he thought would please the princess.

After he got rejected, however, the young gardener did not change his dreams. Instead, the boy told his father, that if he could not fulfill his dream of ever being with the princess, he would instead fulfill hers. At great pain, the boy started gathering seeds of the rare flowers from the forest and studied how they could be grown from the garden.

If the garden becomes famous, the boy told his father, all the princes from the kingdoms will surely come. Slowly but surely, he made sure of this - though at the effort that he put into the task, his body was slowly worn away by the difficulties of going to the forest everyday.

As the garden began to blossom, the boy's health waned. Not long after that, he became terribly ill and had to leave the care of the garden to his father. Just before the boy died, his father asked as to why he went to that extent just to make the garden beautiful. The boy smiled and replied,

"This world is filled with dreams of people - many of which will never be realized. Sometimes, some dreams need to be lost for others to be fulfilled. I made a promise to myself that I will make the princess happy no matter what - at any cost. And since I found out that I could not make her happy with my dreams, the only thing left to do is to make her happy with hers - even if I know it would cause me to lose mine. I think that's what true love is, father. To be able to find real happiness in the joy of those we care for."

Upon hearing the old man's tale, the princess found only error in her ways and began to cry uncontrollably. She then started thinking of calling off the wedding to be held the following night.

The old gardener only smiled and patted the princess by the shoulders. "My son has given up his dreams so you could realize yours," he said with a warm tone, "if you would not want his life to be wasted, you shall realize yours and be a happily wed queen of this castle."

With that heard, the princess finally smiled and thanked the gardener. The wedding was held the following day with much fanfare by the garden that now had more flowers than any other in the world.

And of all the gifts that came that day, there was one particular endowment that the princess was ultimately thankful for - the garden itself -

A gift of selfless sacrifice and true love.

The End.


abbey said...

great story! (:

akin_iya said...

i want to stab her for being so matapobre.

but a great story still ^^


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