Akira RisesBy: Nonie Wideman & Robyn Wideman
A raven haired little girl with lips as pink as rosebuds and eyes of sparkling blue captured her mother's heart with her luminous eyes. “Tell me a story, Mamma.”
Lady Shy mother arranged the furs over her daughter, tucking her into her straw ticked bed with tender loving care. She had put a warming stone beneath the blankets and furs to warm her daughter’s bed. Little feet touched the stone tentatively. The stone was not too hot. The little one let her toes rest against its smooth warmth.
“Tell me the story about the evil king who forced the beautiful young princess to marry him.” She clasped her little hands together and placed them above the bed coverings. She looked expectantly at her mother.
“Once upon a time ...” her indulgent mother began. The little girl wiggled down, settling herself into the cozy bedding. Her imagination was carried away by the melodic sound of her mother’s voice. “...there was a handsome but arrogant king who journeyed to far away kingdoms seeking the most beautiful princesses he could find to choose his queen from. In the most distant kingdom he travelled to, he found a beautiful exotic princess. The young king was vain, proud, and boastful. He was like a peacock strutting and preening, thinking himself quite a desirable catch for any young princess intelligent enough to see his worth. The young princess was not impressed, for she was wise to want a husband who had a kind heart, a husband who would be a good father, a king who would rule his kingdom with wisdom. No matter the gifts he offered, the promises he made, the princess turned down his proposals. Unable to win her heart, the cunning and unscrupulous king took the young woman as his wife against her will with trickery and deceit…”
The princess story was the little girl’s favorite. Akira was always mesmerized from start to finish, her emotions pulled in one direction, and then another. The little girl would be so very sad her eyes would mist over, then she would be angry, and she would frown fiercely. Sometimes in parts of the story, the little girl would notice unshed tears in her mother’s eyes. The little girl’s expressive eyes would tear up too. Her mother told the story so convincingly, with so much emotion, her young daughter never failed to feel the sorrow of the young woman in the story. It always tugged at her heartstrings.
Lady Shy would continue with the storytelling, describing how a marriage to salvage family honor was arranged despite the young woman’s tears, protests and denials; denials that she had not willingly wanted to be married to the evil king.
The little girls’ indignation was slightly appeased when her mother assured her the king got his evil way in small measure only. He took her home with him, and tried to make her be his queen, but he did not possess her heart, no matter how hard he tried. Sometimes in the story, the evil king would be killed by an avenging relative of the young woman. Sometimes in the telling, the foul and evil king would be imprisoned for his dastardly deeds. The little girl always started to feel better during this part of the story. It seemed just that the evil king did not get everything he wanted.
As the story progressed her eyelids would get heavier and heavier and by the end of the story she would beam a sleepy smile at her mother and snuggle down deeper into her bed. A smile would tug at the corners of her mouth. The happy endings always lifted her spirits. The princess would escape. The king would die and the princess would not fear him anymore...the king would be imprisoned...a knight would save the princess. The ending with a knight rescuing the princess was her favorite.
Her long lashed eyelids would reluctantly flutter down and she would drift into slumber. The story always had a happy ending. Right triumphed over wrong. Good overcame evil. The beautiful princess would always escape and live happily ever after reunited with her family. Her beautiful mother would lean down and tenderly kiss her little girl’s forehead, pick up her candle and quietly retreat.
The little girl was not told all of the story. For, as her mother knew, little girls do not need to know the true reality of everything of good and evil. Her mother loved her daughter’s innocence. She hoped to preserve it for as long as possible, for the world did not have enough innocence, and it would greedily snatch it away soon enough.