Continuing the serialization of my epic fantasy novel, Tickling Butterflies, with a new fairy tale ‘episode’ every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Enjoy the latest fairy tale:
The Yellow Gift
(Containing the poignant tale of John the Cute’s departure from home.)
When John the Cute was eighteen years and eighteen days old, a royal messenger on horseback came into town and headed for the house of Kate the Tigress and her son, John the Cute.
The king was sick and dying, the messenger relayed. In one of his last requests, King Charming the Fourth has asked for the presence of John the Cute. John the Cute was to leave his home for the palace in Capital City tomorrow morning.
His message relayed, the messenger departed on his horse.
Ever since John the Cute was born, Kate the Tigress had known the time would come when her son would leave her to be king.
For eighteen years, she raised him on her own. For eighteen years, she taught him reading, writing, math, and values. For eighteen years, she had created a baby, a boy, a young man, and, finally, an adult. For eighteen years, she had prepared him for the life she imagined he would have. But when the decree came from the dying King Charming the Fourth, she was sad beyond words and cried until two wells were filled with her tears.
On the evening before he would leave her, John the Cute wandered the forest in an attempt to find his mother a gift that would somehow lessen the sadness of his parting. So distraught was he, that he did not notice where he was going. Suddenly, he looked around and found himself standing at the bottom of a hill he had never stumbled upon before. Unbeknownst to him, that hill was called Burial Hill.
At the top of Burial Hill, John the Cute saw the most beautiful and magnificent yellow flowers with orange streaks. Their beauty overwhelmed him and at the same time seemed familiar. He knew these flowers were the perfect gift for his mother.
He plucked the flowers by the roots and headed back home, to give to his mother.
Kate the Tigress saw the flowers and gasped. They were the most beautiful flowers she had ever seen and at the same time seemed familiar. Grabbing hold of the flowers, she smelled them, and the smell overwhelmed her. The smell was of a life she had had before John the Cute was born. It was the smell of the sweat of John the Cute’s father, Frank the Frank. It was the smell of the life they had had together. It was the smell of their True Love.
The smell of the flowers engulfed her and hugged her. And even though she cried, the smell gave her strength. She knew that once John the Cute left, the smell of the flowers would comfort and hug her.
The next day, when John the Cute left, she bid him a tearful adieu. Then, Kate the Tigress planted half the flowers in the garden. The rest, she put on her bed, so that their smell may engulf her when she rested and when she slept.
This has been the happy tale of John the Cute’s departure from home, which led to Kate the Tigress’s surprising reunification with her husband, Frank the Frank.
But this tale is not over.
Kate the Tigress had known John the Cute would leave her to be king because of a prophecy she had been given nine months before John the Cute was born. John the Cute had known of this prophecy. He had known it, because his mother had told him of it. He had heard his mother quote the eight lines of the prophecy time and time again.
But what John the Cute did not know was that Kate the Tigress had left something out. She had left out of the ten-line poem its last two horrible lines. Following the prediction of John the Cute’s death, these two lines told what would become of him after his death. It was a future worse than death in her eyes. These two lines she had vowed to herself never to reveal.
In the darkness and emptiness that remained when John the Cute had left, she lay in her bed, engulfed in yellow flowers with orange streaks, afraid of what would become of her son. In the darkness and emptiness, the yellow flowers with orange streaks comforted Kate the Tigress, for they, too, knew of those lines in the prophecy.
(To be continued on Sunday…)