There once was a young princess named Cara. Her parents had given her the name meaning “beloved” as she was their only daughter and they loved her deeply.
Upon Cara’s birth, her parents betrothed her to a prince of another kingdom, as was the custom at the time. Like all other children in their kingdom and others surrounding it, on her thirteenth birthday she was given a choice: she could either consent to one day marry the man her parents had chosen for her, or she could be given the liberty of selecting her own husband. Cara knew her parents had carefully chosen a man who was also a child of royalty. So weighed the matter on Cara’s heart that she pondered it for a full eight months before her birthday. She finally decided. Although it meant totally relinquishing her right to choose whom she would marry, Cara knew her parents did indeed love her deeply and would never choose a man they knew to be unsuitable for her. She consented to the betrothal and the kingdom rejoiced to hear the news.
In another kingdom lived a young prince named Adonis. On his thirteenth birthday, he also had agreed to the marriage his parents had arranged. As with Cara, all information regarding his intended was withheld from the prince. He did not know her age or even from which kingdom she would come. But in the prince’s kingdom, betrothals were private matters. No one in the kingdom beyond the king, queen, and young prince knew of the betrothal.
When Adonis was still a young man, his father became quite ill and died. The king’s wife, although broken by grief, assumed control of the kingdom until her son was old enough to rule. Amidst all the responsibilities of governing the kingdom, the queen had little time to devote to Adonis, let alone remind him of his betrothal. The young prince forgot his vow as he grew to adulthood, and he began to search for a suitable bride for himself. Gossips in the kingdom heard that Adonis was searching for a bride and word spread quickly. Many young women approached the prince and tried to win his heart. If she could not win his heart, each at least hoped to convince him that no other woman was better than she. In truth, the young women were only interested in becoming Queen one day and being able to command servants and possess pretty things and dine on expensive foods. They cared nothing for the prince.
One of the first was Amanyara. She befriended Adonis and promised to love him always. Her promises of love were soothing to the prince, especially as he still grieved the death of his father. Amanyara was not of royal descent, but she was beautiful and possessed one of the finest singing voices ever to be heard. She had indeed promised her love to Adonis, but wickedness was in the heart of Amanyara. She tired of pretending to love the prince, and when a shrewd businessman from another kingdom offered her fame and wealth in a far off opera house, she promptly left the prince and went on her way with the businessman. Amanyara did not so much as bid the prince goodbye, and he never saw her again.
Surely, thought Adonis, not all the young women of the kingdom were like Amanyara! He would search harder and be more particular this time. He would find a woman worthy of the crown, one to whom he could safely entrust his now broken heart.
When Adonis met Fiera, he was cautious. His heart still ached from the wounds inflicted by Amanyara’s unfaithfulness and lies. But Fiera seemed different from Amanyara. She had no talent to sing or dance or perform in any way, and she seemed to have no ambitions of fame or fortune. Like Amanyara before her, Fiera befriended the prince. She was not beautiful like Amanyara, but there was a wild passion in her eyes that intrigued the young prince. Adonis found her spontaneity intoxicating. Life with Fiera was a daily adventure. What more could a prince want?
All this while, the young prince had a tutor named Gemariah; the same old man who had schooled him in his younger years now advised him as he entered adulthood. Adonis greatly respected Gemariah and recognized the wisdom of his aged tutor. He was a second father to the prince after the good king died, and Adonis often sought the counsel of Gemariah as he would that of his own father.
Adonis was blinded by his love for Fiera. When he was with her, all his troubles and worries seemed to fade away. But Gemariah was distrustful of the young maid. She always sought adventure and danger only increased her level of thrill. After much consideration, Gemariah disclosed his concerns to Adonis. He knew the prince cared very much for Fiera, but she cared more for seeking adventure than she did for Adonis. Gemariah feared that her presence in his life would lead Adonis to danger and eventually destruction. Although he spoke with compassion, Gemariah’s words cut Adonis like a sharpened knife. With tears in his eyes, Adonis beseeched Gemariah, “What must I do?” Gemariah spoke slowly, tears filling his own eyes. “You must end all relations with her.”
With a heavy heart, Adonis did as his dear tutor instructed. In his heart, he knew it was best, but that knowledge only slightly lessened the pain. Fiera scolded the prince for heeding the babblings of an old fool. He should follow his own heart! After all, he was the prince, not Gemariah, and would one day rule the kingdom! For all her clamor, Fiera was powerless to change the decision of Gemariah and Adonis. Almost immediately Fiera married a poor sailor out of spite. They had no wealth, but their life together did allow for Fiera’s spontaneous ways.
Adonis was, for the second time, heartbroken. At night he cried as he wondered if there was a maid alive who could truly love him and one day rule by his side as Queen. Were they all like Amanyara and Fiera? He dared to hope for better… one day.
As his mother was growing old, Adonis now focused his attentions on preparing to assume the throne. Daily the prince assisted his mother in her regal duties, and Gemariah again tutored him in matters of foreign policy and histories of the kingdoms. Slowly Adonis began to feel ready to take his place as ruler of the kingdom. He had no bride but decided to no longer concern himself with the matter. Ruling his kingdom was more important than finding a good wife – if there was even one to be found.
One day while lecturing Adonis on formal decrees and contracts of the kingdom, Gemariah discovered a contract signed by Adonis on his thirteenth birthday. The document stated that Adonis, upon his coronation, would be presented not only with his crown but with his bride. Until that day his bride’s identity would remain known only to his own parents and to hers, and the two sets of monarchs would make all the necessary arrangements for the day. Adonis and Gemariah rushed to the Queen with the document. “Your Majesty! We have made a most important discovery!” Adonis and the Queen had both forgotten the betrothal. Gemariah, although very intimate with the royal family, had been unaware of the betrothal as had all other citizens of the kingdom. Adonis and his parents were the only three in the kingdom privy to the information. The prince would indeed have a bride, one who had been prepared for him from childhood, destined to rule by his side. Adonis was wary of the outcome of his arranged marriage. Would his betrothed be another Fiera or Amanyara? He chose to put it out of his mind. His worrying would not change whom he was to marry.
In a kingdom across the sea was Cara. She had been trained from childhood to behave with grace and dignity, to be honest and fair but never cruel, even when addressing a criminal or foe. Occasionally, Cara’s parents would remind her of her betrothal and reassure her of the noble qualities of the prince they had chosen. He would make a fine husband for their daughter, and she would make a fine queen. The royal parents smiled in anticipation the day they set sail with their daughter for the kingdom of Adonis. On the day of his coronation, Cara would become his bride and queen.
The day arrived, and Adonis calmed his nerves as he stood before a mirror in his most regal attire. The peoples of two kingdoms would be present on this day to witness the crowning of a monarch and the joining of two lives in marriage. In another room Cara too stood before a mirror, giving her appearance a final check. Would she be pleasing to the prince? Everything had to be perfect. Cara straightened her dress and lowered her veil; the prince was not to see his bride’s face until vows were exchanged. She was ready.
A short time later, Cara and Adonis stood facing one another before a congregation of peoples from their respective kingdoms. Their parents looked on with joy. Each monarch knew that the decision to betroth their children had been a good one. The two were well matched in character and spirit and would rule in unity and compassion. The vows had been spoken. Adonis now wore his father’s crown. He lifted Cara’s veil and stared into the deepest blue eyes he had ever seen. They spoke volumes and Adonis longed to hear the words that overflowed from them. He gently kissed his bride to seal their vows, and two kingdoms cheered as trumpets sounded.
Adonis and Cara came to be not only renowned rulers of the kingdom, or simply king and queen. They were the best of friends. In Cara, Adonis found what he had long searched for. He discovered that he was indeed aptly named, for his name meant “loved” and Adonis was deeply and selflessly loved by his “beloved” Cara for all his days.
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