wildforce71: (triskell)
[personal profile] wildforce71

Long ago, in Japan, there lived a great Prince. He was rich and powerful, and his people were good and loyal. Yet the Prince was an unhappy man.

He was short-tempered and impatient. He was always angry and often cruel. He bullied his subjects until they cringed with fear.

One year he waged war on a neighbouring country. At his word of command his troops hurled themselves into battle, their spears thrust out before them, their cruel Prince behind. They fought bravely and won a great victory for him, but still he was not satisfied. Still he was unhappy.

The army returned home with the victorious Prince at their head. Day after day wonderful victory parades were held, and at night the skies glowed with fireworks and lanterns as the people praised their Prince and celebrated his great deeds.

But the people soon grew sad. The Prince noticed their long faces, and he blazed with anger. “Speak!” he roared as he rode through the streets on his great war-horse. “Why are you so sorrowful?”

His subjects bowed low but no-one had the courage to tell him the truth - that they were tired of war, tired of victories. So they stayed silent.

Later that day, as he rode slowly through the countryside, he heard a soft humming, like the shower of rain on dry ground. The Prince stopped and listened. He looked around and listened again.

It was a little girl singing as she worked in her small garden. So busy was she, planting her seeds, that she did not realise the great Prince was standing behind her.

At first he was angry that she did not notice him. Why should he, a proud and mighty Prince, humbly beg for her attention? But something in her singing made him wait quietly. After some time, he coughed and shuffled his feet.

The little girl slowly turned her head and saw the Prince in his rich, silk robes. The Prince looked down at her and met her clear, calm gaze, and felt his anger at the people’s silence fade away.

The child rose to her feet. Bowing humbly, she offered the Prince a bag of seed. For a moment he felt offended that one of his subjects should offer him such a humble gift, but then he found himself taking the bag. He did not say “thank you”, or even smile, but turned away from the little girl. The mighty Prince felt puzzled as he rode slowly back to his palace, and that night he slept with the bag of seed by his pillow.

The next morning he woke full of strength and energy, as if he were ready for war. But there was to be no war today. No, today the Prince had very different plans.

“Planting is no work for princes,” he mumbled as he took up the bag of seed. “But it is better than fighting people who do not know how to fight back!”

The people were astonished to see the Prince working in the palace gardens. And day after day, week after week, month after month, he tended his plants. Through heat and cold, he laboured over his task.

Then, one morning, Spring suddenly arrived! The garden burst into flower and fragrance. Bees and birds hummed. The people gathered in the streets, smiling in the sunshine. But where was the Prince? He had worked so hard to create the garden, why was he not rejoicing in it with his people?

The Prince stood apart, holding in his hand a spray of blossom. And as he looked at it, tears ran down his face, because he could not understand why Spring made everyone happy. Everyone, that is, except him.

He never had understood, of course, but this year he cried because he had worked so hard to create a beautiful garden and he wanted so much to know the secret of happiness.

Then, quietly, he seemed to hear the soft voice of the little girl speaking to him. It was telling him to look - to look with all his heart at the flowers and the grass, the sky and the birds, the busy insects and all the laughing people.

And suddenly the Prince saw them all as he had never done before. A great joy flooded his heart, and he saw the colours sparkling in the sun and he smelled the scent of a million flowers. And for the very first time, he felt happiness and a real love for his people.
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wildforce71: Takeru smiling. Sort of. A bit. (Default)

March 2017


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