Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
NarcissusIn every room of his castle, he had a mirror. For each wall, there was a mirror. Some rooms held as many as six mirrors. His servants were not allowed to look in the mirrors. "When you enter the rooms to dust, you must keep your head down. Then, you must say, "I worship your majesty. Your looks feed my soul." If any servant thought his words were just nothing to take serious, all they had to do was go down into the dungeons where he kept those who disobeyed him.
This prince lived on top of a mountain in his Eighteenth century African castle. He placed his castle on the highest peak of the explored world. No one would climb so high to see him.
He thought if any person looked at his handsome face his finely placed nose, his eyes like gold found in a treasure chest, his lips as sensual as a just plucked plum, all of his face would turn to scars, scratches and bumps like on an old road where beggars stood. So he kept himself hidden away like a priceless emerald. A nugget so big any royalty would lock it up in a tunnel safe beneath a palace and behind a hidden door.
Unable to enjoy his marriage night he left his wife in the valley beside the biggest water fall in Africa. Then, he climbed back up to his castle. The top of his castle almost touched the clouds. Aviary loved the prince deeply. The moment he left their apartments she knew it. She felt him slip away. She followed. She reached him too late. He had entered his hideaway. The hideaway which made him feel secure and happy every day.
Aviary returned every day. She stood below the mountain while tears streamed down her face like the many forks of a river. Beside the water falls and below the mountain she cried. She knew he was too far away to hear her cries. Therefore, she hoped her tears would reach his heart in some extraordinary way.
Little did she know that the king had decided never to come down from the mountain. Why travel back down when all he wanted was up there? He had himself and his handsome face. He needed nothing else.
Finally as the seasons passed, the princess realized he might have died due to the snow and ice. God forbid an avalanche might have fallen on him. Otherwise, he would have returned to her. She set up a memorial to him in her pink bedroom. There were twenty-five white candles. "These candles must never go out." This is what she told her maid servants. "If they go out, I will die."
She was a kind lady. The servants loved her. Quite different from the prince she had no need for a dungeon. All gladly obeyed her. One day while walking in her rose garden maze she happened to see a shepherd. She had never seen this shepherd. This shepherd had long, finely muscled legs. His hair was thick and full like the trees in a forest. He smiled while calling to his sheep. His collie seemed to smile too. Whatever was happening, it was as contagious as the sniffles. She smiled too. For the first time she forgot her sorrows over the lost prince who had gotten lost near the clouds.
The next morning she told her servants, "hurry, I must take my walk again. I want to go walking before the dew dries on the roses." This time she didn't see the shepherd. She hoped he wasn't afraid to come back on the grounds. She needed to see him again desperately.
As she walked through the garden, she shared her sad story. "I've lost so much that I love. I lost the prince too. I'm cursed. I've also lost the shepherd. He isn't here. Not even nearby or I would hear his sheep and his dog."
Meanwhile Prince Terrance had begun to grow tired of looking at his face in all those mirrors. He began to long for the Princess Aviary. One day he decided to take his horse on a gallop down the mountain and back to where he had lived with the princess. He wouldn't allow her to see him. He would hide. He would only take two of his guards with him. Then, he would see whether she still missed him. Was it possible her eyes glassed over with tears every day simply because she longed for his love?
When he told his favorite guard his thoughts, the guard laughed. "My prince, you have been bitten by the God of Narcissus."
The Prince pulled his black stallion over to a lake for water. "I've never heard of this God Narcissus. Can he make fire come from his body while it is wet with water? Can he make the rain dance in my favorite color blue? What? Tell me more."
The guard jumped off his horse. For a moment he paced back and forth. Then, he leaned against a Weeping Willow tree. "Prince, get off your horse. Look in the lake after your horse finishes his drink. Then, tell me what you see."
The prince laughed. He jumped off his horse's back and stood by the lakeside. He looked down into the beautiful turquoise lake. In a few minutes he bent down on his knees. He looked closer into the lake. "I see my beauty. It has overcome me. I do not wish to move from this lake. I must build another castle. One beside this lake which will be named after me."
The guard said, "my prince, you have met Narcissus. He is inside of you. He is in your spirit. You know him well."
The guard walked away. He did not wait for an answer. He knew the prince was too involved with the new way to love himself. The prince never did make it to Princess Aviary's apartment. He never saw her again. He had his one true love, Narcissus, himself.
The princess fell in love again. She fell in love with the shepherd. She moved out of her splendid castle and into the small hut the shepherd had built himself. Her greatest joy was running through the meadows full of wild flowers. Her next greatest joy was being able to recognize each sheep by its name. She thought if he is a shepherd, then I am surely a shepherdess. One who is greatly loved and one who loves in return.
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