Prince Charming, the tear-begotten - (pages 15-16)
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At this point, he seemed to feel that the girl by his side was rising slowly... her flesh dissolved, only her bones were left; in a flowing silver robe she, too, was taking the luminous path leading to the moon. She was to the murky world of shadows whence lured by the spells of the witch she had come down to earth.

Then the film upon his eyes turned green... dark and all was blacked out.

As he opened his eyes, the sun was high in the sky. The girl was missing. In that arid country the horse was neighing, fine, resplendent, invigorated with the golden sunlight that he was now seeing for the first time.

The Prince vaulted into the saddle; time to think a few happy thoughts before he reached Genario’s embattled castle. This time Genario was seven days’ distance away, hunting.

He picked the girl up and sat her in front of him. She threw her arms round his neck and buried her head in his chest. Her long white robe brushed the sand as they flew. The speed was such that she thought it was the desert and the waves that were shooting past while they were standing still. Thus, you could hear the Tomcat meowing, thought very feebly, with all his seven heads.

Away in the woods, Genario heard his horse neighing.

«What is it?» he asked.

«Prince Charming is stealing your daughter,» the magic horse replied.

«Can we reach him?» asked Genario, taken aback, for he knew that he had killed the Prince.

«My lord, we cannot,» the horse replied, «because he’s riding a brother of mine who’s got seven hearts, while I have only two.»

Genario drove his spurs into the horse’s flanks’ trying to shake itself free; it ran... like a whirlwind. Seeing the Prince across the desert, Genario said to his horse:

«Tell your brother to hurl him into the clouds, then come to me and he will feed on the kernel of nuts and drink fresh milk.» Genario’s horse shouted this to his brother and his brother repeated it to the Prince.

«Tell your brother,» the Prince said, «to shoot his master into the clouds and I will feed him with live embers and give him fiery flame to drink.»

The Prince’s horse shouted this to his brother who shot Genario up into the clouds. The clouds in the heavens stood still with wonder and turned into a gray handsome castle. Two sky-blue eyes cast long lightning flashes from behind two banks of clouds. These were Genario’s eyes, now exiled in the heavens.

The Prince slowed the pace of his own horse and sat the girl upon her father’s steed. One more day and they would reach the Emperor’s fine citadel.

Prince Charming was taken for dead, so, as the rumor of his home-coming spread, the light of day grew brighter and people murmured expectantly, just as a cornfield flutters at the breath of the wind.

What about princess Ileana meanwhile?

As soon as her husband was gone she locked herself in a secluded garden, behind tall, iron walls; she lay down upon the could stones, propped her head against a boulder and wept tears, as clear as diamonds, into a golden tub nearby.

The garden had number of flower-beds, all unwatered and untended. From the barren gravel, from the sultry heat of day and the drought of night sprang yellow-leafed flowers. Their color was dull and turgid like the troubled eyes of the dead; they were the flowers of sorrow.

Blinded with weeping, the eyes of the princess were weak and she could hardly see; in the mirror of her own tears she thought she could scan the face of her beloved bridegroom, as if a dream. Her eyes, now dry of tears, had ceased weeping. The long yellow hair fell loose the folds of a golden cape upon her cold breasts; dumb sorrow was engraved upon her features; a stony mermaid, you would have thought, lying upon the gravel of a tomb. The sad, faded flowers turned pearly white; watered in innocent tears they were called lilies-of-the-tears.

The pale sightless princess slowly walked among the flower-beds and culled a heap of lilies-of-the-tears, in her lap; she then spread them near the golden tub, making a bed of flowers.

Prince Charming then appeared.

She fell upon his chest but, overcome with joy, she could only gaze at him with those sightless eyes that would take him in. She then took him by the hand and showed him the tubful of tears.

A clear moon, like a golden face, sat smiling upon the deep blue sky. The night air was cool. The Prince bathed his face in the tubful of tears, then wrapped himself in a cape of moonbeams that she had woven for him and lay down to sleep on he bed of flowers. The princess lay beside him and dreamt of the Holy Mother of God picking two violet stars in the morning sky and placing them upon her head.

In the morning, as she awoke, she could see.

On the third day, the emperor wedded Genario’s daughter.

The fourth day was to be the Prince’s wedding day.

A shaft of sunrays from the sky taught the musicians the joyful songs that the angels sing on the consecration of a saint. Water gushing out of the entrails of the earth taught them the song of the weird sisters as they spin for mortals to dream of happy life. So the musicians produced joyous songs and heart-felt epithalamiums (Epithalamium (Greek word): a marriage song praising the bride and bridegroom).

The red, scarlet rose, the silver lily, the pearly lilies-of-the-valley, the coy violet, and indeed all the flowers got together, each speaking in its own scent, debating at length as to the possible shades of the wedding dress. They told their secret to a dandy blue and gold butterfly. He bent and flew in circles above the bride’s face as she slept and made her see as in a mirror the way she should be dressed. Dreaming that she was so beautiful, she smiled.

The bridegroom put on a shirt of moon ray-spun yard, a pearly belt, and a snow-white cape.

There was a lovely, handsome wedding as no other in the world.

This way they lived in peace and quiet many happy years. However, if the common saying be true, that time stands still for the magic princes of the world, then maybe they are still living.

 

(Translated by Ana Cartianu)

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