The Princess with the Empty Treasure Chest
The Coin of Ownership
There was once a poor, lonely princess who had lost her kingdom.
Her father the King had a huge kingdom full of loyal people who loved him; for he was a good king. The kingdom was prosperous, for its nature was abundant and fertile, and it was rich in crafts people who created all sorts of beautiful things. It’s market therefore was healthy and the kingdom prospered.
But at the death of the king, the counselor did a coup ‘d’état and snatched the kingdom from the princess, who had to run for her life.
Now she lived in hiding in the forest, always afraid for her life should the soldiers find her. She had fixed an old abandoned cabin the best she could and she scavenged for nuts and fruits; and that is how she survived.
Though the forest was abundant, she lacked many things and ate very little because she had neither the tools to make new things nor the heart to hunt.
Sometimes she heard people talking in the forest as they found wood for the fire or walked on their way to another county. The stories were bleak. The counselor was an unfair, exploitative king and people were starving under his rule.
The princess hid and cried for her lost father, her lost kingdom and her suffering people.
One day, when the sun was setting beyond the trees, she found a treasure chest.
She recognized it at once. It was her father’s personal treasure chest. It always lay under his bed and he never showed it to anyone.
The chest was of considerable size, but there was no way that the princess would leave it there. She found some long logs, ripped the sleeves and the hem of her already raggedy dress and joined the logs to form what looked like a raft.
Then she pushed the chest onto the raft and pulled it along the forest by a long handle made from her hem.
When she got home, she opened the chest. To her surprise it opened easily. It was not locked.
“The hideous counselor probably broke the lock,” the princess assumed.
She opened the lid and…
just as she expected… the chest was empty.
The counselor had stolen even that… her father’s personal treasure.
As she opened the lid, she was shocked so unexpectedly that she dropped it back. A terrible creature lurked inside the chest and looked at her with fearsome eyes.
Had the counselor cursed the chest? Had he left it there to lure her into a trap?
The Princess remembered that the counselor hated magic and did not know that she was still alive.
She slowly, carefully opened the chest again and looked into the interior of the lid.
There was a wild creature looking at her. Her hair was an entangled red mass. Her face was covered with patches of mud. But her eyes were wilder yet. They beamed with a fierce glow, a terrible green light, like a lantern in a storm.
It took her more than 3 minutes to recognize herself in those eyes.
What had happened to her beautiful olive skin? It was hidden under layers of neglect.
How had her long curly red mane turned into this horrible entanglement? The horses in her father’s stables had better kept manes!
And what had happened to her joyful, kind eyes? What was this fierceness spilling from them like a scourge?
At that moment, the Princess saw how far she had left herself go. She also remembered who she really was.
She slammed the chest close, unable to reconciliate the two.
But she could not keep away from the only object that reminded her of her father.
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Continues next week in part 2
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