Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)
TITLE: Peace from the River
By Dorothy Purge
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She gently pulled her frilled, satin curtains and saw her friend waiting patiently. Quickly, she laid her doll in its golden cradle and ran from the castle, her beautiful hair swaying in the wind.
The nine year old was grieving the death of her beloved father with whom she used to go walking every day. The Queen had noticed her daughter’s sudden sadness and ill-temperedness, but also realized that the daily walks seemed to have brought the Princess much peacefulness.
As the Princess ran down-hill to meet her friend, she imagined that he, too, was running from a higher ground. By the bank of the river, she laid down her shiny slippers, folded her flowing dress into a cushion and sat on her favourite stone as she swung her dainty feet in the cool, fresh water. She greeted her muted friend with a deep smile. It was she who had named him the “Blue River,” as she thought his colour was a reflection of her blue eyes.
As the little Princess grew, she strived for the peace within her to get deeper. Her mother often said she had a peaceful heart and was sure that one day she would become a great Queen. But, at times, the Princess felt that her impatience, even though sometimes not noticeable by others, could have lead to a feud.
On her 13th birthday, the Princess packed royal nuts and butter cookies and went to the river earlier than usual. As she neared it, she became breathless from the fragrance of its peace - as sweet as her precious perfumes. Then she remembered the first day she had gone to the river with her father, she had made a wish:
“I wish that you and I, Blue River, will grow together and will always be friends: Cross my heart”.
The lovely Princess was maturing. She was getting a few curves and as she sat by the river, she saw that it was curving too! The clear water sparkled like the lovely necklace she was wearing. It was time to make a second wish:
“Oh, Blue River, stay peaceful always: Please, never turn out to be a river which floods.”
At the age of thirty, the Princess became Queen and made a powerful decree:
“Hear ye! hear ye! Country men and friends: Peace shall reign throughout my country!”
Often laughter flooded the palace and the Queen tried to give a soft answer that would turn away any wrath. She used her personal peace to fight against forces of arrogance, lust and greed among her advisors, militaries and servants.
A few years later, news reached the Queen that the peasants on the outskirts of the country were being driven off their land by outlaws. The Queen was furious and asked to meet with the outlaws, at once, by the boundary of the Blue River.
The horsemen came riding through the river like savages. They carried shiny swords and flashing daggers. Boldly, the Queen stepped forward and declared:
“Peace. It is important for all men to dwell in peace. Those who disobey will be punished severely.”
It appeared as if Her Majesty’s calm voice and few words made the men dissolve in the river.
A few months later, the Queen observed that thorns, debris and stones were in the river. Soon after, the river started to move very slowly, dropping some of its sediments and swerving to the opposite bank. The Queen pondered about this and was puzzled but happy as her little sediments of impatience had begun to drop too.
One winter, at twilight, the Queen opened her window and a voice beckoned her to the river. On reaching the bank, her feet were weary as the journey seemed much longer than before. Her silver hair shimmered and her eyes were like twinkling little stars. He, who had been her companion from a child, looked unenergetic too. The Blue River was flowing slower and wider.
Then a strong wind blew from the west bank.
“Hush!” said the Queen to the wind as she made a wish:
“May you, Blue River, never evaporate and turn into sand or rock; but continue to flow from your source of peace on higher ground.”
The Blue River embraced her:
“ Some day we will meet again on the other side of the bank; you will wear your golden shoes and we will spend endless days together”.
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