The Two Princes – Part Three
The prince returned home to his palace then to tell his wife and his courtiers that he had to depart upon a long journey to a foreign land.
His court ministers were not happy when they heard this, “Now is not the time for your highness to be thinking of taking trips abroad”, said his royal treasurer, “Not when the royal purse is so empty; not unless it is an expedition in search of wealth”.
“Where I am bound”, said the king laughing, “All gold is fools gold; for it is a land where all, except for the feelings of the soul, is an illusion. But I will try to bring you back some dream gold if it does not run like sunshine through my fingers”.
The treasurer and the rest of his ministers merely looked at the king as if he had gone mad which only made him laugh even more but, then, he saw his wife again and his laughter got stuck within his throat, for she had become suddenly paler like the colour of polished white marble and her eyes were far distant like two ships sailing near to a far off horizon that might, at any time, disappear over the edge of the world.
“I am knee deep in the land of dreams”, said his wife in a strange, airy whisper, “And you are
becoming like a ghost to me”.
The prince, quaking with sadness, kissed her upon her cheek that felt as cold as a frozen lake in december , “Then wade no further “, he said as he wept, “Come back to the shore, my darling, for there is no air to breathe in the world of dreams and the grim hand of death might pull you under”.
But his wife said nothing or, if she did, he could not hear her speak and so he swore to her, “Whether you love me or hate me, I shall vanquish this villain who has enchanted you and bring you back home to reason; I vow it, with the marrow of my every bone, with every tear and drop of my blood, I vow it”.
Then the prince roared to lord Halsome to get himself prepared for travel as soon as able.
“I am ready to serve you, always and forever, my prince”, said the loyal Lord Halsome placing a steady hand upon the weeping prince’s trembling shoulder.
Then the blind man and the fool entered too, for they both longed to see or hear the land of dreams; the blind man with his wooden walking stick and the fool with an empty hessian sack that he had packed full of dream things to take with him.