Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess.
She lived in a castle where the King and Queen loved her very much. Her brothers and sisters, the princes and princesses all played together with her.
One day, the Princess grew up. She got married and had seven children.
The Princess stared at the mountain of laundry that never seemed to shrink no matter how many loads were washed, dried, and put away. She sighed at refrigerator and pantry full of food that would be empty in a week's time. She gagged a little at the sink full of dishes, thinking how it seemed to be a magical sink with a curse on it, that it would never be empty.
She thought back to her growing up years, remembering that she had felt like the King and Queen held her in slavery, like her good friends, Cinderella and Snow White.
Now, the Princess was very glad that the King and Queen had taught her life skills in order to run her household, raise her children, and to do it with joy.
Sometimes, though, the Princess wished she could rest like Sleeping Beauty, but only sometimes.
The Princess knew that she didn't really want to miss the life happening around her. She knew that life was a gift, and circumstances around us can change, but she could choose how to respond to the circumstances.
"Today," the Princess mused, "I will be glad of clothes to wear, and food for another meal, and dishes to eat from. Today, I will teach the children to wash their clothes, prepare their food, and clean their dishes. Today," she said, "I will remind my children that there is joy ready to fill their hearts, and they can choose to live with joy, or they can choose to be filled with venom."
The Princess had chosen, for a little while, to replace her joy with venom, because she didn't recognize the joy. It was invisible to her eye. She couldn't find it anywhere.
She searched and searched for it, for she knew it existed, she had seen it in others. Why, she'd even had it herself!
The joy was elusive. The Princess was certain that the joy was hiding from her, that it was resisting her calls, and would never come to her again.
That's when she met the venom. It didn't look like venom. It looked friendly, and comforting. The venom promised the Princess that if she took it up, she would feel better. Things would go her way. She would be powerful, and people would admire her.
The Princess decided that those things sounded pretty good, so she took up the venom. She did feel powerful. She demanded her way, and she often got it. She noticed, though, that people were not offering service with a smile. They were grimacing and grumbling. She decided that it was because they hadn't yet experience the venom, and had no idea how freeing it could be.
The Princess became arrogant. She began taking things because she felt she deserved them. She worked hard, and was certain that these things would be given to her anyway.
She began to feel as though the world and everyone in it owed her something. After all, she was the Princess!
Pretty soon, the venom didn't feel like such a good thing. It was certainly powerful. It seemed to grown until the Princess was almost nothing but venom inside. It was beginning to grow out of her. It crept up and made ugly marks on her skin and distorted her face.
Her nose became huge and bulbous. Her eyes became squished too close together, and her mouth became far too wide.
She was become hideously ugly. People began to recognize the venom as it became noticeable. They would stay away from the Princess. She began to feel lonely, and the things she took because she deserved them no longer made her happy.
One day, the Princess was lounging around with the venom, because by now it was her only friend.  She felt as though the venom no longer wanted to be her friend, either. It was taunting her, telling her she wasn't good enough for anything. It told her that she was ugly and unfriendly. That she was useless and untalented. The venom began hissing and laughing at the Princess. It dared her to find something better. It had her under it's thumb.
The princess listened to these things, and believed them, for there was no one left to tell her otherwise. She became tired of listening to the insults of the venom and fell asleep.
In her sleep, she heard a whisper. It was very faint, and difficult to hear because the venom was still blathering on. It never stopped talking. The princess woke up, and listened very hard for the whisper.
She became sad when she couldn't hear it, and she began to cry.  The venom's laugh was loud, and long as it was sure she was crying in response to it's abuse.
She told the venom to shut up. "What?" cried the venom. "How can you treat me like that? I am your only friend! I am the only one that has stood by you! I encourage you! I soothe you! I make you comfortable!"
"No!" Shouted the Princess. "No! I said shut up! You have become something grotesque inside of me! You have convinced me to be ugly and hateful. You have been the reason that I have driven people away! I heard a whisper last night."
"Ha! A whisper. You are so stupid. Who would whisper to you? You are too ugly for anyone to want to get close enough to whisper." the venom snarled.
She knew, then. She knew that the venom had to go. That she had to find the whisper. That the shouting of the venom over everything else had to stop.
But it wouldn't stop. The princess looked over at the venom. She saw it shouting. She saw it's rage, but somehow, she could hear other things, now, too.
The whisper. She could hear the whisper.
"You are patient. You are kind. You are gentle." it said.
"What? I am what?" She asked. She needed to hear it again, to be sure.
"You are patient. You are kind. You are gentle." it said, again.
She asked, "How can I hear you? Why is the venom quiet now? And how do you know me, to describe me this way? The venom says otherwise."
"I know you." The whisper said. "I knew you before the venom did. You can hear me now because you choose to listen. I have been calling you always. You used to listen for me, then you allowed the voice of the venom to drown me out. I never stopped speaking to you."
"I chose." the Princess said. "I chose. Do I have a voice? Can I make the venom stop?"
"Yes," the whisper said, "You may use my voice. You can tell the venom to stop. You should know that it will listen for a little while, then it will creep up on you over and over and over again. You will always have to tell it to stop. It will shout when you don't notice it is near. You will be tempted to let it soothe you again and again. But you can choose."
So, the Princess borrowed the voice of the whisper. She told the venom to "Stop talking! Leave me alone! I don't need you! You aren't good, and you aren't helpful! Go back to where you came from!" the Princess was startled by the force and volume of her voice. It had been just a whisper, but when she claimed the voice for her own, it reverberated. It had power, and it drove the venom away.  Her skin was clear again, and her features slid back into their places, being pleasing to look upon once again.
The Princess often sees the venom slinking around. Though she doesn't ever invite it back, it hangs out, waiting for moments to be by the side of the princess. It noticed how the whisper worked, and copied it's ways, but it didn't sound the same. the venom's attempt at whispering was raspy and papery and cold.
Sometimes, the venom plays with the Princess's children. She recognizes it, and teaches the children to hear the whisper.
"Thank you." The Princess whispers back, as she watches the venom slink away in defeat, again and again.

Sometimes fairytales are just fun. I hope you enjoyed this one. Make it a great day, and remember to listen for the whisper. 

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