A GRIM FAIRY TALE
SORRY I MISLABELED THIS! PLEASE FIX IF YOU CAN!!!
[AUTHOR'S NOTE: Next up in my grand parade of tales I may or may not finish is this little exhibit, in which I'm trying for a Brothers-Grimm style: long on moralism, incredibly short on dialogue, and characters without a name. Hansel and Gretel? They had names. So did "Aschenputtel" (Cinderella), but in most of the Grimm Brothers' "archetypal" fairy tales, none of the Dramatis Personae had individual monikers. This could be the prologue to an epic. Who knows? Regardless, enjoy "The Foundling and the Firstborn"!--Tysyacha]
The Foundling and the Firstborn
LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY, a noble king and queen ruled an enchanted kingdom. All were happy there, and content with their lot. No one felt a need to mourn about how poor they were if they lacked much money, or boast about how rich they were if the fruits of their labor were plentiful. Each man, woman and child knew their place, and were thankful for the lives that they had been so graciously given. After all, in this mortal world nothing was certain, and the only assurance that the people of the kingdom had was that they were breathing at the moment. Did this cause them any pain or fear? Hardly! They felt no sadness upon realizing this simple truth, because they had nothing to
fear. Pain was the natural consequence borne by those who could not accept suffering and endure it without complaining, and fear? Fear was for unbelievers, who should rightly quail before the grave. Thus it was, and would always be until time should exist no more.
The realm's fine king and queen were known simply by their surname of "Fairheart", because they ruled with justice and a firm hand. No one felt the need to worry about innocents being falsely accused or put to death because of someone else's lies. This was another part of the sense of security the kingdom's subjects felt. If their lives would not be held forfeit without cause, then why be afraid? If any dispute, disagreement or feud were held between men in this magical land, they simply came before the king and queen and submitted to them as their lawful judges. A verdict was rendered swiftly, and a sentence carried out without delay. Both were perfectly fair.
What bliss, and what a matchless blessing to live where such justice prevailed!
Alas! There was one thing wrong, one single stain to mar the spotless happiness of the realm and its people. The king and queen were unable to have a child. No matter how many hours they spent in prayer, prostrating themselves before the one altar to the one true god that existed in all of creation, their pleas went unanswered. The queen remained barren, and the king began to fall into despair. For the first time in their lives, both of them felt unimaginable terror. What would happen if they both perished with no heir? The answer was unclear, and yet the living relatives of both monarchs would surely go to war over who would inherit the throne! Was there absolutely no hope in this situation? Many a kingdom, the Fairhearts knew, had been brought to ruin that way.
Their salvation came in the form of a tiny foundling child, Elven by birth but entirely mortal by nature. The king and his men were out hunting one fine summer day, when they heard the sound of wailing coming from a nearby cavern. Startled, the king's squire and best huntsmen debated amongst themselves: Stay or investigate?
"'Tis not an animal," one huntsman said. "No beast's youngling ever cries like that."
"Bah!" scoffed the squire. "'Tis nothing. Let us continue our hunt, and carry on."
"My heart quakes," announced the king, "for I fear 'tis the sound of a human babe..."
Thus, they entered the mouth of the cavern and found an abandoned baby Elf in a sopping wet blanket. She was incredibly tiny and weak, and the king suspected that her kindred had left her at the mercy of Nature because she was not strong enough to survive. Taking pity on the poor young thing, the monarch known as Fairheart brought her home to his wife, who received the Elven child with great joy and lovingly deemed her Mor'righain, meaning "great queen". "For, surely," she thought, "this wee lass will grow up to rule wisely and justly, as we have. She will bear our name with pride!"
Indeed, Mor'righain did. All was well until five years after the young Elven princess was rescued from her freezing cavern. Her foster mother, the queen, conceived at last and became great with child. Miracle of miracles! Their newborn baby was also a daughter whom they named Charis, meaning "grace". Without a doubt, their creator had blessed them with divine favor, and utterly unearned at that! Feasts and celebrations were held throughout the land, especially on the day of the new princess' birth. As for Mor'righain, she was quickly forgotten. After all, she was an Elf, and an adopted foundling child. that. Everyone else knew who the real
princess was, and who would ascend to the throne after their king and queen had passed into the netherworld beyond.
However, in order to keep little Mor'righain from hating her half-sister, the king and queen known as Fairheart decided not to tell their foster daughter what would happen when she came of age. The throne would be denied her. "It breaks our hearts to make this decision," they said, "but Charis is our own flesh and blood. The duty to rule is rightfully hers. As for Mor'righain, she will have to be content with her position as a lady of the court. She will have honors and titles galore, but shall never be queen."
When the fateful day came, and Charis was given a crown to symbolize her glory as the future queen, her half-sister flew into a tearful rage. Why had she been forsaken?
Held tight in both of her adoptive parents' arms, Mor'righain wept bitterly. Had she not been a good, kind, and obedient child? Had she not tried to consider what would be best for the kingdom in all of her actions and words? In an instant, Mor'righain's life unraveled before her very eyes. Her hopes and dreams for the future were utterly dashed. She would never rule, whether wisely or not. Instead, Charis would.
The king and queen, naturally, did not know what to say to console Mor'righain. They could not fathom why she was being so selfish instead of happy for her half-sister. Thus, they tried to convince her that what they had done had been perfectly fair:
"My dearest foster daughter," cried the king with heavy heart, "do you not understand that blood is always thicker than water? We have to give Charis the throne, because your half-sister was born of my wife's very womb. You were not. You shall certainly be a noble lady of the court, grand in your own right, but our true child shall reign."
With her heart crying out for redress, Mor'righain fled the palace, presumably never to be seen again. She retreated into the forest, some said, to worship nature's illusory gods as her Elven kindred always had. However, was the "great queen" truly gone?
The king shook his head sadly. "How hard is the heart that lacks love for one's family, adopted or no! Such is a path to death, and death awaits that one far before her time!"
His queen remained utterly silent, as did their conflicted daughter. Nevertheless, her father's word stood firm, for it was law. Princess Charis took her place upon the throne when her parents succumbed to their deaths, and bore her own daughter in due time.
Never in that household was the word "revenge" ever to be spoken, or "vengeance". The newborn princess would know only love and peace, joy and kindness, justice and righteousness. She would never know her of family's dark and tumultuous past.
Nor would she know that her true aunt was a reclusive Elf, one mysterious Mor'righain...