Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sad (07/26/07)
TITLE: The First Rose
By Rod Loche
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Over a thousand years ago there lived a powerful king in a distant land. His name was Lamentous. King Lamentous had everything a person could ever acquire. He had numerous castles, the best wine and food, and a different royal robe for every day of the year, but the one thing he wanted more than anything, he had not yet been able to acquire; a child.
Finally, one day his wife came to him with wonderful news. “I am with child.”
King Lamentous danced with joy and presented gifts to everyone in the land as a token of his happiness.
When the little girl was born, her beauty was captivating. Everyone who laid eyes upon her was smitten with her loveliness. King Lamentous decided to name her Rose. It was an odd name, but still he liked it.
As Rose grew older, her beauty became even more apparent, and soon the King began to fear that some unworthy suitor would come along and take away his only child. For him, it was a thought too horrible to bear. He decided the only way to avoid the inevitable, was to hide her from the world.
King Lamentous had an extravagant castle built for Rose. Inside it, he placed everything she could ever need. Unfortunately, Rose was not allowed to leave her castle. All contact between her and the rest of the world was cut off. Although she ate the finest foods, she was forbidden to drink anything but water, for the King believed that fresh water was instrumental in preserving her beauty. Since Rose loved to bask in the soothing sunlight, her father allowed her to stroll in the garden for an hour each day, but before doing so, all of his subjects were forced to vacate the garden so that none could behold her attractiveness.
One day, as King Lamentous was walking in his garden, he was approached by a Goddess named Akila, who posed a question to him. “Good King, I have seen your daughter walking in the garden. She is indeed beautiful, but she is growing older. What will you do when her loveliness begins to fade?”
“I don’t know? I have pondered this many times, and I have no answer to give.”
“If the King wishes, I could place a spell on her that would allow her to shower the world with beauty until the end of time.”
The king thought for a moment. “Very tempting, but she must not leave. I want no man to take hold of my beautiful Rose, ever.”
Akila smiled and promised, “That can be arranged. Return to your castle and go to sleep. When you arise in the morning the spell will be complete.”
The king returned home and went to bed as he was instructed. He was so excited he could hardly sleep. When he awoke in the morning, the sun had not come up yet. He immediately dressed himself and ran across the moonlit yard to Rose’s castle, but when he entered, she was no place to be found. He searched the whole castle, but still he found nothing. Distraught, the King sat on the castle steps and began to cry.
Just then he saw a ray of light shining in his eyes. Strangely, the light came not from the sky, but from the earth. He stood up and followed the light across the garden. Eventually, he came to a section that had somehow been completely cleared away during the night. All that stood in the area was a single flower. It was beautiful, but peculiar. The flower’s bright colors were captivating, and it stood tall and magnificent.
Suddenly Akila appeared before the king and asked, “What do you think?”
The king replied in confusion. “What do you mean?”
“This is your child. Isn’t she lovely?”
“What have you done to her?”
“I did what was promised. She is perfect, the first of her kind. Her beauty will multiply until more like her cover the earth. The sunlight she so loved will continue to energize her, and bring her life. The water you refreshed her with will continue to nourish her beauty. The thorns that cover her will keep any man from taking hold of her. She’s everything that you requested. Her beauty will never be forgotten. I think we should call her a rose.”
At once the King fell upon the ground and, to this day, his tears have not ceased to fall.
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