Once upon a time there was a princess that lived in a beautiful palace overlooking a simple but worldly village. She lived in the castle with her Father, the King, and a handful of faithful servants. Her Father doted over her, supplying her every need and most all her wants. Over the years, she blossomed into a beautiful teenage girl, quick-witted, full of laughter, and always obedient - but increasingly lonely.
Often, later at night, she would gaze from the window of her room, high in the castle wall, watching the people far away in the streets below. She would lean towards the gaiety, straining past the sounds of music and laughter, to try to pick out the words of the young people. No sad, lonely sounds ever reached her ears, and she began to believe that they must be the happiest people in the kingdom.
"Father?" she asked one evening as they worked together on what he called her preparation. "Do you think that perhaps I might one evening be allowed to attend one of the festivals at the village? Perhaps just for a short time?"
The old, but wise King laid aside the Book of Lessons and looked upon his daughter with compassion and concern. "My child, the village below is a worldly place full of sad people. The sound of merriment that you sometimes hear is their attempt to drown out the emptiness and despair of their lives. It is best that you stay in the castle."
Though she loved her Father, it was not the answer the wished.
"But Father, how will I ever meet...I mean...someday I would like to.....Oh Father, you are so good to me, and I do so love it here, but at times I get so lonely!"
The King sat back in his chair, his eyes suddenly seeing his daughter not as the little girl she would always be to him, but as the young lady she was becoming. He then decided. "It is time that I tell you."
"Tell me what, Father?"
Standing to his feet, he walked to a window overlooking the countryside to the East. His eyes fastened onto the King's Highway, a straight road that passed high above the village and led to the castle gate.
"Shortly after you were born, I foresaw the day when you would need someone special--someone with whom to spend your life. I set out to search; to visit other castles in the Kingdom; to find a Prince for you. Not just anyone, but that special someone."
The King turned to look at his Princess, her eyes full of wonderment.
"I have met him. I know who he is."
"Oh, Father, where does he live? When do I get to meet him?"
"He lives far away, but not so far. In a castle not unlike this one. He, too, is being prepared as you are--both for the other. Come stand beside me, my child."
She walked to where her Father stood by the window.
"See there? That's the King's Highway. When the time is right and not before, he will come on a white steed. You will know him."
Then taking her into his hands, he looked into her tear brimmed eyes.
"Princess. Never forget you are a child of the King. You are Royalty. The one being prepared for you is also of Royal Descent. Be patient. Prepare. And stay in the castle."
She hugged the King, jumping into his arms, happy now and determined to prepare and wait. For many months, at night, she looked out her bedroom window, past the village and it's sounds to the Highway above, watching and dreaming of the one who would someday come.
To be continued...
To be continued...