The prince and the mouse

This is a story I wrote recently. It’s a fairytale type story that kinda was just born in my mind.  It’s not my best work but I still want to know what you think!

 

 

Once upon a time, there was a King and a Queen who ruled over a very large kingdom. As the King grew close to dying, he called for his four sons. He told them that he was close to death and when he died, his kingdom would be split into four pieces and each son would get one piece of the kingdom. To decide who would get each piece, the king gave them a challenge. They must go and find the most beautiful thing they could. The one with the most beautiful object would be given that part.

                So, when the sun rose the next morning the four sons left to search. They searched far and wide and two months later, they returned. The eldest son brought back four women, the second son brought back four pieces of jewelry, the third son- four works of poetry, and the last son brought four varied objects. From the north, the eldest son’s item was a beautiful woman with dark hair and soft, tall skin. From the south, the eldest son brought back a woman with skin as black as tar, hair of the same color and eyes that were chocolate-brown. She was the daughter of a very rich merchant and there were men constantly at the door.

“She is the most beautiful one in the largest southern city. Everyman who passes through the town longs to see even a glimpse of her.”

                From the west came a woman with light skin, light hair, and sweet blue eyes. She was the daughter of a painter and was in many of his paintings. Every painting that she was in was purchased quickly.

“This woman is so beautiful the artists of our kingdom use her as a reference of gods.”

                Finally, the girl came from the east. Her face was chalky white and stood out in contrast to her dark black hair. Her eyes were green and overall she looked like a china doll. She was the daughter of a poor man who kept her inside hoping for a rich husband.

“When she was born the sun began to smile. She is not married and men come from around the world to see her.”

                The second son brought back from the north a necklace of pure sapphire with a diamond chain. The prince had gotten it from a merchant who warned him of its accursed beauty.

“Taken from the temples of the high mountains it is said to have been formed from the tears of their god.”

                From the south, he brought a chain of gold with several strands of oddities hanging from it. He had charmed it from the daughter of a duchess who said that she simply must have it back.

“The woman who owned this necklace found beautiful items and made a necklace out of them.”

                From the west he bought it from an artisan in a marketplace, the old man had made it just for him.

“This necklace was made by one of the fabled craftsman of the land. He had nimble fingers and made a bracelet that anyone would envy.”

                From the east, he brought a hairpiece made from carved jade. Dangling from the edges were beads of ruby. It was hand carved by an apprentice whose master had taken credit for the work. When the second son had found out, he ordered the man to give it to him free.

“This came from the brightest new hands in the kingdom. The flower is exquisite and it belongs on any noble head.”

                The third brother produced a poem about the snow from the north. The poem from the north was written by a military officer who compared everything to the death of his family. The third brother chose not to explain any of his items.

“I think that the words should explain themselves. Only true beauty can do that.”

                From the south, he brought a poem about nature, and how that nature itself was gorgeous. A beautiful young widow with whom the third son had fallen hopelessly in love with wrote the poem. He planned to marry her after he became a king. From the west, he brought a poem about the heat of fire and how it could be used as a metaphor for the heartbeat and thoughts that drive humans, lastly from the east he produced a poem about a china cup, who loved nothing more than to be drunk out of.

                Finally, there was the fourth son. He was the most simple of the brothers and he treasured everything. For his first item, he brought a piece of word with a knot in it.

“I find it so interesting to look at. The way the knot affects the rest of the plank.” Ignoring the soft tut-tut of his father, he removed a tattered robe from his bag.

“This was once a great robe, hand sewn by a wonderfully kind old man’s lovely wife. They were the only ones who were nice to me in the southern regions.”

                For the east, he pulled out a cracked pot. It was a vase type item with rounded hands and small carvings on it.

“This pot was made by women several hundred years ago. “It was cracked in a fire but its owners are still very proud of it. Its history makes it beautiful.”

                Lastly, for the west he pulled out a small mouse. It was not a pretty mouse, and it was not even in good shape. Its eyes were dull, one of its ears was torn, it was thin and part of its tail was missing. The king was so shocked by the pathetic creature that he started to laugh.

“Father, let me explain why I chose this mouse. I started out in the west and when I could find nothing that struck my eye I nearly gave up. Then I saw this poor mouse being attacked by cats. When I saved it, it became my friend. It never tried to escape or leave me. It’s quite a friend.”

“Why would you want a mouse as a friend?” The king asked, “They are useless rodents.”

“This one is special. It was the first creature that was nice to me in my time traveling.” The fourth son protested

                The king made a tutting noise and then announced the winners. The first son would be given the east, the second son the north, third son the south, and the fourth son would be given the west even though the king felt he didn’t deserve anything. With those words he died. It was with the news that the four were crowned. The eldest three brothers had wonderful starts. The eldest brother’s people loved him and he married the girl from the east, who was very happy. The second son married the woman from the north and was richer than he had ever hoped due to the mining of jewels. The third son slowly accumulated enough riches and finery to propose to the woman. The last son had the hardest time, his subjects weren’t awed by him and there was a constant pressure behind him to find a wife. He spent all of his time in his room with his mouse.

“Why can’t I be like my brothers,” He would ask to no one in particular. “Happy and successful, with a legacy behind me?”

                More than once he caught himself wishing his brothers would suffer, that they would lose everything that made them special. When he caught himself doing this, he would immediately stop himself. Then one day his grudging silent wishes came true. The second brother began to have financial troubles. His miners were going on strike complaining that he was paying them too little for the grueling work they did. He swore he was paying them fairly but they stopped working and his assets were slowly drying up. Not to mention the monks who were demanding that he give back the sapphire necklace that was taken from them. He refused and the monks swore revenge.  They snuck into the castle and killed him while he was sleeping and stole the sapphire back. The men left undetected and the guards never found them. The brothers split his land in half and the east took one part and the west the other. Now the brother who ruled the south finally went to the woman he loved to ask her to marry him. When he got to her house, he found that she was already remarried to a rich man. In a deep state of depression, he went home and hung himself. This led the youngest brother to question himself. His life was improving as his brother’s worsened. His subjects had started to love him and his land was slowly getting bigger as the land that was his older brother’s was now split between him and his only brother left. But no matter what was making his life better his counsel of advisors kept pressuring him to marry,

“If only you were human,” The prince told his mouse “I would marry you in an instant.”

                The final brother’s death came with a request. The eldest brother’s wife requested to go home and see her father because he was sick. The eldest son told his wife that at the end of the end of the month they would visit her father. However, at the end of the month he made no efforts to leave. She asked again and again she was turned away. She asked again and again but time and time again, she was turned away telling her next time or ask again later. Finally, she gave up on asking him to go and tried to force him to go. Then he told her that she was replaceable and slapped her. These beatings went on for months before the woman gave up and slit her husband’s throat. She escaped back to her hometown and was never heard from again. The youngest brother was now the sole inheritor of his father’s kingdom. He was just and fair and his subjects loved him more than they had ever loved his father, but still the council failed to find him a wife. They paraded women by him but he ignored them all. He became more and more antisocial as they tried harder to make a match. He soon got to the point where he would go for days talking to no one but his mouse, which had finally healed and was plump and happy. Many of his advisors told him to get rid of the mouse. They told him that it was distracting him from his duties.

                After many months, he finally agreed. He walked to his room with a heavy heart knowing he would lose his single constant. When he opened the door, he was surprised to see a beautiful woman at his window. She had long dusty brown hair, pale white skin and a cherub like face. What was extra special was a pair of beautifully sculpted wings on her back. She was staring out of his window and didn’t notice him entering. It wasn’t until he slammed the door that she noticed him. She smiled at him and extended her arms as if she were asking for a hug.

“Who are you?” He asked keeping his arms crossed.

“I guess I do look a bit different now,” The strange woman said getting up from her seat by the window. A crown of ivy wrapped around her head. “It’s me, your mouse.”

                The youngest brother said nothing out of shock. The mouse-woman-fairy-thing giggled.

“I understand that you won’t believe me. It’s a lot to swallow. To start with my name is Souris and I am a spirit of the forests,” Souris said, “One day a fire was lit by a young man, one of your brothers I believe. It became too large to control and I turned into a mouse and fled. I kept running until I ran into the small town of Searia. I hid in the alley where you found me for three days. I was going to return when I was attacked. You saved my life and I am forever in your debt.”

                The youngest brother was not convinced “Why did you not return to your forest when you were better?”

“I needed revenge.” Souris said sitting down. “Those men destroyed my home. Their camp killed my forest. One man started the fire but they did nothing to stop it.” Her hands were clenched in her lap.

“So all the misfortune that happened to them was you?” The youngest brother said turning away from her “You murdered them!”

“They destroyed my home. Besides, I only killed two. And they were horrible people who deserved it. The third was just a coincidence.”

The youngest brother hated himself for not disagreeing with her with the horrible insults to his brothers. He knew they were jerks since they had been children they ran over him and called him names. Half of his life was spent wishing they would all drop dead. He turned to her removing any emotion from his voice “Why didn’t you tell me who you were before?”

“At first I was too weak to. Then I thought you would get rid of me.” Souris hung her head letting part of her hair fall in front of her face.

“Why would you think I would turn you away?” He sat next to her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, every hint of sadness back in his voice.

“Because,” Souris said, “I wasn’t the little mouse who you saved.” She began to cry and put her face in her hands.

“I can’t tell you what I would have done then,” The youngest brother said “But now I will tell you that you are welcome here.” He patted her knee before standing.

“You’re not going to force me to leave?” She asked looking up.

“No, I will have quarters set up for you.”

                The two were married two months later. Souris came and went as her forest needed her and there was much joy both in the forest and in the kingdom. They had four sons who upon the youngest brothers’ death were given part of his kingdom. His legacy continued for 200 years until a group of barbarians wiped out these countries. No matter what happens to his land, he will always be remembered in history as the man who married the mouse

The End

This is written by one of my best friends.

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