Silver Bowl of Tears

  Time passed.  The sun would rise and set several times, and several times more after that.  Cows grazed the pastures and birds sang their songs, all oblivious to the time of sorrow and mourning that had fallen over the kingdom.  The fair Princess, woe to her and her terrible fate, had locked herself away up in her high tower and would speak not a word to anyone.  Surrounded by her isolation high above the city, she wept at the loss of her love and her innocence, both taken days within each other.  The only movement to and from her chambers were the servants, come by her bidden to deliver silver jars.


  One by one, day after day, these silver jars were brought back out of Princess's chambers.  On the first day came a small bowl of silver.  On the next: a ceramic dish of blue and white.  Then on the third day came a tall vase of bright green glass.  Each of these three was filled to the brim with the tears she had wept in her sorrow.


  On the fourth day, the Princess herself emerged from her room.  But she was a changed woman.  Her skin had grown pale like death, and she wore only black, with a wispy, black veil always worn up to cover her hair and obscure her face.


  She descended the steps in silent reflection.  She spoke not a word to anyone.  She moved and ate like her very soul had been leaked out into those jars.  The jars themselves had been sealed and locked away, far away, by order of the King.


  As happy as the King and Queen were to see her once more, they couldn't bare her silent despair.  They sought desperately to cheer her spirits, bringing together exotic and amazing things for her pleasure.  They presented a dog so tiny that it could sit and yip from the palm of one's hand.  They presented a carriage gilded in gold and lined with pearls.  They presented a parrot so smart it could carry a conversation back at you with ease.


  When these many things failed her, they took the Princess on a long journey to a beautiful house in the mountains.  But even through this, still she remained silent.  And so, too, on her way back to the kingdom did she remain silent.  And throughout all, she covered herself in her mournful shroud of black.


  Far away from these things, the Rambling Man relaxed in his homestead and heard the news of the Princess's great sorrow.  His heart remained troubled by her plight.  He was uncertain of what could be done for the Princess.  So many things had been tried by men greater than he, and so many things had failed.  So he knew not what to do but knew that he must do something.  He must try.


  And so he gathered his lute, prepared his affects for travel, kissed his lovely Sweetheart goodbye and set out once more for the kingdom.


  But before the time the Rambling Man arrived, the Princess had gone.  Her mother, the lovely Queen of the land, had taken her away on a great voyage in a continued attempt to cheer her.  This time they had set forth across the vast seas for a land distant and rumored to be both strange and wonderful.


  They had been gone a great many days thus far, and the King grew more worried each day that passed.  Fearing the pirates lurking on the seas, or any of a hundred other dangers, the King sent out great escort ships, each bearing a great many men and munitions.  He called out to anyone in the kingdom: to any able-bodied men, please, help the kingdom in finding the royal Queen and Princess.  Scour the vast seas to search for their vessel and bring them back home, safe and sound.


  As a last resort, a desperate measure, the King brought to his court a witch-woman.  She claimed to be able to find the Queen and Daughter across the waters using her magicks.  The King was mistrustful of her raggedy appearance and gravelly voice, but listened regardless.


  The witch-woman ordered the sealed jars to be brought to her.  And so first the silver bowl arrived, and the witch-woman cried out: "The man who washes his hands in the silver bowl will find your Princess!"


  Next came the ceramic dish of blue and white, and the witch-woman exclaimed: "The man who drinks the tears from the blue and white dish shall bring her back!"


  Third came the vase of bright green glass, and with it the witch-woman shouted: "The man who places flowers into the vase of bright green glass shall win her heart and return her joy!"


  Unhappy with the witch-woman's apparent lack of assistance, the King promptly booted her from the castle.  He locked the three jars away once more, unwilling to look upon them further.


  And it was on this day, as the witch-woman left the city, that the Rambling Man finally arrived, tipping his hat and smiling to her as they passed each other on the road.


The End

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