The Story of MIRIAMA – part 4 – The Race and The fight against death.
In Lemuria,Miriama bought Stellany a new dress because her old one had been torn apart by the bandits and upon being presented with the gift, Stellany threw her arms around Miriama.
“My prying eyes have transformed you from boy into girl”,she said, “but what is an even stranger miracle, my love for you remains the same in form and greatness”.
Then Miriama told Stellany the whole story of her life and,upon hearing it, Stellany said, “Let us run away together across the world and find a new life in a place where no one will ever know your secret”.
But Miriama felt that the role of prince was an important one that destiny had chosen her for and she was an immensely loyal and dutiful, proper,
principled and loving daughter to her parents and refused to go anywhere until she had cured her mother with the fruit of the mandragon tree.
But where would she find the fabled healing tree? When she enquired among the locals they told her that,because its healing properties made it a profitable commodity,all the Mandragon trees where owned by the greedy ruler of Lemuria,King Godenemy. “He keeps them in his private fruit orchards and sells the fruit only to the wealthy. It is the vile kings law that no one else may be allowed to grow them and that they should never be given away for free to the poor”.
Miriama looked around her and saw just how many poor,sick and starving people there were in Lemuria. Wherever she turned,she would be approached by beggars with starving families. “This cannot be right!”,she thought,angrilly, “Their king has so much wealth and yet his people have been neglected so attrociously. Before I go to see this cruel king”, vowed Miriama, “I must do something to transform the monstrous situation of these poor people ”.
Miriama took off her diamond armour and sold it to a local armour merchant for all that it was worth and then she bought food and medicine and clothes for the poor people aswell as sweets and toys for their children and handed them out,with the help of Stellany, and everyone seemed very grateful,though it was not half enough to satisfy their needs. “Poverty is the largest dragon of them all. The largest killer and consumer of lives and the armies of the poor who have daily to face it must surely be the greatest heroes”, she said.
However, in a corner of one of the streets,an invisible secret policeman employed by King Godenemy was watching and he ordered other invisible policemen to arrest Miriama and Stellany and, though Miriama had the strength of twenty, she could not fight what she could not see, although she managed to gash the air once or twice and saw blood leak from out of nowhere and heard a few men scream but it was a hopeless struggle and soon they were both bound and forcibly put into the back of a police carriage with iron bars on its doors and windows,along with Miriamas faithful bull Nangy which was chained to the back of the carriage,and all were taken to the castle of King Godenemy and locked in his dungeons.
While they were being held in the dungeons the evil king Godenemy went to visit them. “You know why you have been arrested?”,asked the king.
“I do not”,answered Miriama,angrilly.
“Because”,said the king, “The poor of this land serve a purpose. There must be poor so that there can be rich. That is the balance of things in this country and we do not like outsiders interfering and trying to upset that balance”.
“But I was only giving them life’s necessary items,food and clothing; no luxuries”,said Miriama,shocked by the kings attitude, “It is the custom in my own land to look after the poor. God looks favourably upon those who look after the vulnerable of this world”.
“Oh”,said the king, “Then why did God make them poor?”.
“It is the devil that invented poverty and selfishness”, replied Miriama, “And God
that gave kindness and love to the wealthy and the strong”.
“Nevertheless”,said King Godenemy, “The poor of my country are accustomed to their poverty. They have learned to be happy with nothing. When you give them a little, then you destroy that happiness. Soon they will want more, soon there will be riot and revolution and,before you know it,where will I be but poor myself and begging in the streets”.
Miriama was about to disagree but King Godenemy had moved on to another subject
that seemed to make his eyes glow.
“Your bull”,asked Godenemy, “I have never seen a creature like that – not a bull for riding like a horse, I would like to own it but”.
“But what?”,asked Miriama, “Why don’t you just take it by force just as you have arrested us?”.
“Because”,answered King Godenemy, “It will not be ridden by me or by any of my servants or courtiers or soldiers. Every time one tries to mount it, it goes wild and throws them off but you can make it obey me and,if you do, I will allow you and your lady friend to leave my dungeon and my country – I would even give you a horse in exchange for the bull out of respect for your class,since I see that you are a nobleman”.
“Oh”, said Miriama, “but what would I want with a horse,since my Nangy is as fast as a team of horses”, boasted Miriama.
“Oh,but that’s impossible”,said King Godenemy.
“Not at all”,said Miriama,and now a plan formed within her mind, “Infact. I will bet you. For my freedom and a barrel of Mandragon fruit that Nangy can beat a team of your horses,to the gates of your castle and back,and pulling a laden cart behind”
“Alright”, said Godenemy, “But if your bull fails then you will make it obey me and you will remain a prisoner in my dungeons forever”.
Stellany thought that Miriama had made a terrible error of judgement but Miriama assured her that she had a plan.
Just as the sun was setting they prepared to race. Miriama lifted the barrel of Mandragon fruit and Stellany onto the back of a farmers cart that was fastened to Nangy and then she climbed onto the bulls back and took hold of its reigns while,next to her, King Godenemy stood on a lavish silver chariot that
was pulled by six of his swiftest black stallions.
A horn was sounded and the race began, Nangy, amazingly, taking the lead at an incredible pace.
King Godenemy could not believe his eyes as he saw the bull zoom off ahead of his team of horses but King Godenemy was not deterred and he used a whip to beat his horses so that they would race faster.
Soon they were both nearing the finish line and it looked as if they were neck and neck, with the evil king starting to take the lead,
“Hahahaha”,laughed the evil King, “Soon, both bull and rider will be mine”.
But Miriama had a surprise strategy because, rather than stopping at the kings wooden gates, Miriama told Nangy to keep running and Nangy ran all the way to the kings gates and,with its enormous bull strength and Miriamas combined,went crashing through the gates,escaping with Stellany and a barrel of mandragon fruit behind.
After escaping from the castle of King Godenemy, Miriama rode for an hour until She and Stellany again reached the centre of the city of Lemuria. Nangy was getting tired now and Miriama knew that soon the King would be sending out his invisible police men to capture them.
Luckilly, the poor people who Miriama had helped remembered her and so helped to hide their Bull Nangy and the cart with the Mandragon fruit.
They took Miriama to a colony where there were sick people saying, “These people have an illness which the Mandragon fruit would cure if the king would share it with them.” So Miriama and Stellany handed out the healing fruit that she had among the sick people,keeping only enough for her own mother.
When the police arrived in the centre of Lemuria they conducted a search of all the areas where they thought Miriama could be hiding. Stellany,who was accomplished in the magical arts had offered to transform them into pidgeons
so that they could go unnoticed in the city streets but it was not necessary because
the poor people of Lemuria hid them well, dressing them in rags and making them look like beggars and when the Policemen of King Godenemy asked the locals if they had seen Miriama or Stellany or the Bull,Nangy or the cart loaded with Mandragon fruit, they were told that they had been seen riding through but that they had not stopped.
After resting,Miriama and Stellany,leaving the cart behind but carrying what fruit they had left in a sack,rode at top speed out of Lemuria in the direction of their homeland of Glacia, there was little room for them both upon Nangys back but
Stellany held on tightly to Miriamas waist so that she would not fall off.
While on the road, Stellany talked to Miriama about how they would be married.The only problem,she thought,was that they could not have a child. “Do not worry”, said Miriama, “My parents were unable to have children until they appealed to God and I was God’s answer to them. I know that God will provide us with children too.”
So, at every milestone along the way, Miriama said a prayer to her God,the God who is all,and she prayed that God give her and Stellany children to raise as their own.
After many miles,when it had grown dark,Miriama and Stellany stopped to rest in
an empty open field. While they slept, both began to dream and both had the same
strange,frightening but ultimately wonderful dream. In the dream they were both
fighting against the legions of the dead,back to back, with swords held in their right hands and shields strapped to their left but every time they struck
down one of the marching dead its fallen body would simply get back up again but then
a question occurred to Miriama,
“What kind of sword is it that kills death?”, she thought.
And then suddenly, looking at the sword in her hand, Miriama realised what it was she had to do and, turning round to face Stellany she thrust her sword deep into her,
“Why?”, asked Stellany, sobbing, looking into Miriama’s eyes, “Why? I thought you loved me”.
But then, looking down at where Miriama had plunged the sword, Stellany saw to her wonder and astonishment that the sword had vanished and that, instead of a sword wound in her belly, instead she was pregnant.
But then, looking round about her, with equal astonishment, Miriama saw each of the undead soldiers they had been battling against transform into a fruit bearing tree until, eventually, they were no longer surrounded by an army of corpses but by a flourishing
forest and all the fruits upon the trees were hope and birth and in the trees they heard
the twittering of birds and out of that birdsong came the voice of God, The Mother and Father Of
All Things and,speaking to them both,it said: “With the sword of life you have killed death. All who do this fight in the heroic battle against the legions of death. You are both heroes, my limbs upon this earth and servants of life and unto you shall come life’s greatest reward, the blessing of children”.