Manatita is an esteemed author living in London, UK. He writes spiritual books, flash fiction and esoteric poetry, his favourite genre.
I was a newborn babe when the wicked Queen placed me in a basket, allowing the raging current to decide my fate. My mother said she bawled and bawled, running after me down the river bank, a nervous wreck, desperately pleading for anyone, or anything, to save her only child.
My father, the King, had longed for a boy and the Court’s Astrologer had told him, that a star had flown by, which suggested that I was ear-marked for greatness. These were all good omens in the Period or Dynasty in which I was born and the King, who loved boy children, did not stop to think of the possibility that I could be a girl.
In those days, status meant everything and my mother was a lowly concubine. Although endowed with many virtues, she was chosen only for her beauty. Hair flowing back, youthful and alluring, she was blessed with a charming smile, kind and sympathetic face and the King fell for her at first sight. Yet the Queen was his favourite, as she bore the child that they both wanted to be the future King.
Knowing that the King was fond of the Astrologer and that the stars were usually correct, the Queen became jealous and did all within her power to destroy the unborn child. However, unlike the King who was blinded by his love for her, another concubine was wise to her tricks and saved the child’s life, until birth, when a girl was delivered, instead of a boy. This altered the picture considerably.
My mother told me all this, ever since I was old enough to listen … and of how I was saved by a goddess on the river bank … of how she lost all hope, with pain tugging at her life-energy, when she saw the broken basket in the waterfall below.
Then it happened. The Royals all heard a loud scream followed by a child’s crying, not unlike my own and followed the sound, only to find me wrapped in the same royal clothing, lying on the lap of the goddess on the river bank. The King took this as a sign of good fortune and saved my life.
I’m now four years old and know only so much. Yet I know that my mother stands at the door daily and looks across the courtyard to the palatial suite. She has a solemn but longing look on her face and sometimes she cries.
One day I asked her why she was crying and without saying much, she pointed to the direction of the Palace, a mere 100 yards away, saying: “This is where your father lives.” One morning, I was to do the impossible and visit the King, which changed our lives forever.
Bright and early I set out, walked straight into the courtyard and into the inner sanctum, where my father was sitting on his throne. I saw many palatial guards in their uniforms and other ceremonial gear, but none stopped me, except at the very entrance to the throne, where I was then challenged.
They must have been intrigued by this harmless and innocent-looking toddler, seemingly unconcerned and assumingly playing in the courtyard. Not that this was ever done. So who knows why they did not hinder my passing?
However, I was stopped at the entrance to my father’s chamber and made a fuss -as any 4-yr old would - stating that I was here to see my father, the King. My father heard the commotion outside and asked for me to be brought in. Thereon was exchanged a series of conversations between my father and I, at the end of which he became extremely fond of me.
I told him who I was, that he hadn’t visited my mother for 4 years - in fact since my birth - and that she was lonely, afraid and insecure. I think he must have felt me bemusing for a 4-yr old, but proud of me at the same time.
“How do you know all this?” He enquired. So I told him of the many long hours my mother spent looking across the courtyard of the Palace … the tears in her eyes … of how she would hold me tightly, when all she wanted was her own comfort - the desire to be loved and made to feel important - to recover her self-esteem. The King listened and marveled at the wisdom of one so young.
That very night my father paid his concubine a visit. My mother opened the door and was overjoyed to see him. Tears flowed from her eyes copiously. He asked her what was wrong, but, ever the woman, she apologized for not knowing that he was coming, and felt sorry that she did not have time to get properly dressed for his arrival. She said that her tears were tears of joy … that she felt like a mother receiving her lost husband, whom she dearly loved and who had just come home.
The king was extremely touched … so touched in fact, that he embraced her, told her that she was lovelier than he had ever seen and apologized for his mistakes. He then kissed her cheeks softly and sweetly. Looking over her shoulders, he saw her maids, all with happy smiles on their faces. With a knowing nod, they all left the room and the King gently closed the door behind him.
It is now Christmas time and many years later. I am the Empress and the Kingdom is united. The Astrologer was right. My father has died and the old Queen is dying. She sends for me and apologizes on her death-bed. I smile, pick up her hands and kiss them both. Our eyes meet and I gaze into hers lovingly … kiss her again on the cheeks and forehead. She smiles, closes her eyes and enters peacefully, into the world beyond.
“The age-old ancient wisdom: forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness, is the only way, to a lasting happiness.” -Sri Chinmoy. Merry Christmas, guys and girls.
Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 6th December, 2019
Time of forgiveness and renewal
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