The Garden of the Sun and Moon

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    As is often the case in the kingdoms of Long times ago, a Prince and a Princess were engaged to be married. The princes name was Harold, and the princesses name was Amelia, and as you can imagine, neither of them were tremendously happy about their betrothal, especially when they were only all of 18 years old at the time. Nevertheless, on the day on which they would meet for the first time, they were brought together by their parents in the court of Princess Amelia’s father the king, and they found each other so handsome and beautiful respectively, that any and all of their fears of an unhappy marriage immediately disappeared. Indeed, one might say that they fell in love upon first sight of one another. However, as is also the custom of these kingdoms of long times ago, before the Prince could even be considered a worthy husband, Amelia’s father the king encouraged his daughter to put her new fiance to the test.
    “Make him find the perfect gift for you, my daughter,” commanded the king, “that will show us whether he is worthy.”
    “Yes my daughter, yes my daughter,” commanded the princesses mother the Queen. “Send him on a quest to find the perfect gift for you. Make it a good and hard quest, so that he will have to be brave and determined to even think about accomplishing it. The braver and more determined he is, the more he is in love with you.” It took her all night to help her figure out what she wanted, but finally she came up with the perfect idea. That perfect gift that he could give her to show how much he truly loved her. The next day, at the banquet where all of courtiers and nobles of the kingdom were invited to eat breakfast. The Princess presented her quest to Prince Harold.
    “It has come to my attention, my prince” said Princess Amelia “that there is a garden that grows in the place where the sun and moon go when the day is over. In this garden there sits a fountain, and the water of this fountain has , when drunk or poured upon anyone, the power to cure any disease, curse, or malady that ails the person to which the water has been given. Go to the garden of the sun and moon, and collect for Me two bottles of this miraculous water. If you do that, You and I will drink this water together on our wedding day, and who knows but that we might indeed be cured from the curse of death (which befalls all people everywhere) and perhaps we may live forever.”

    The Prince agreed to undertake this arduous journey to the Garden of the sun and moon, for he was so in love with Princess Amelia that he would have done anything for her. But as soon as he left the palace that afternoon to start his quest, he suddenly realised how difficult the adventure ahead of him actually was.
    “Oh no!” The Prince said to himself upon leaving the gates of the kingdom behind him, “what have I got myself into? I don’t know where the garden of the sun and moon is, because I have never been there before (what man has?). Oh! Whatever will become of me if I cannot marry my beloved Princess?”
    Not knowing what else to do and not from the grass and began to weep, certain that he would fail the test and lose the chance to marry Princess Amelia forever.
    As luck would have it (or could it have been destiny?), an old woman, who had stood by the gates of the kingdom for longer than anyone could remember, happened upon the Prince in his sorry state and overheard his sobbing cries of “oh!” And “no!” And “whatever will become of me if I cannot marry my beloved Princess?”
    “Pray, good Prince of faraway land,” said the old woman to the unhappy Prince, “which Princess are you talking about? What is her name?”
    “Oh, dear grandmother,” Prince Harold said as he wiped the tears from his eyes with his hair and hands, “I speak, of course, of the Princess Amelia. She has set a quest before me to get the miraculous water from the fountain in the Garden of the sun and moon. But I do not know where it is, because I have never been there. Now here I sit, alone and unhappy, because if I cannot get the water, the Princess will not marry me.”
    “Do not be sad, my prince,” said the old woman, “for I will help you.” As she said this, her oldness melted away to reveal a rather beautiful fairy enchantress.
    “If you are a fairy,” said the now excited Prince Harold, “can you take me to the garden of the sun and moon?”
    “I’m afraid I cannot, my prince, because I have never been there (No one indeed has). However, I do know the way to someone who knows the way (which is probably just as good as knowing it myself).” With that, the Fairy Benefactor reached into her cloak and presented a pigeon to the Prince. “Follow this bird West until it lands on the ground. Then, at the stroke of midnight, the bird will become a horse with a Saddle on its back. Ride this stallion until you can ride no further on its back, and soon enough you will find the place Where you are meant to be. Make absolutely certain that you talk to nobody else on your way, no, not unless they say your name. Furthermore, if you ever want the horse to turn back into a bird again, simply say to it ‘remember that you were once a bird, and be a bird again,’ and and when you do that, the stallion should oblige you and change back into the pigeon Just as you remembered it.” The Prince thanked the good fairy for her advice and set off forth after the pigeon. He walked, he ran, and he jogged after the pigeon, trying his very hardest not to let the bird out of his sight For even a moment. Luckily, the pigeon never wanted to fly too far away, and By the time the night had come, it Had landed in the field where an apple tree stood. The tree had 12 Branches, and on each branch was A golden Apple. The bird landed at the trunk of the tree and the stroke of midnight, the pigeon was transformed into a handsome grey stallion, and proceeded to eat each one of the Apples one by one. After it had quite finished eating, the Prince simply launched himself onto the horses back and proceeded to ride him all night. He continued to ride his horse for many days, choosing to obey the fairy woman’s instructions and continue to ride until the horse got tired. He lost count of the amount of days he rode for, and the distance he had covered, but he made absolutely certain not to talk to anyone on the way, for none of them knew his name. Eventually the horse began to slow down, and collapsed from exhaustion falling asleep under the weight of his saddle and rider. The Prince got off the horse and found himself next to a small house with a beautiful garden. When he entered this garden through the gate, he saw that the garden was filled with all kinds of flowers and the door was open, as if someone was waiting for him. Finding A pot of honey and a pitcher Of rosewater inside, Prince Harold ate and drank his fill and then fell asleep upon a bed of flowers in the corner, satisfied and refreshed. When the Prince woke up, he rubbed his eyes open to see that a young Girl was standing over him. The Child wore a dress that seemed to be made almost entirely out of the prettiest and most vibrant flowers, and a wreath of flowers adorned her hair. The young girl kissed him upon the head and said “Good morning Prince Harold.” The Prince was very confused being greeted in this manner. “How is it that you know my name, young sister?” He asked of her.”I’m surprised you do not recognise me,” answered the girl, “because you have spent many happy years smelling my flowers. I am sister springtime, and you must stay with me for a season.” So he stayed with her for a season, eating the sweetest honey, and drinking the most fragrant rosewater, and sleeping on an aromatic bed of flowers until his strength revived. When he was quite ready to continue his journey, he asked his host “sister springtime, sister springtime. Will you help me to find the fountain in the garden of the sun and moon? I must bring 2 bottles of its magic water to my truest love, and only you can tell me the way.”
    Sister springtime looked rather sad at the news. “Nobody ever stays with me for more than a season, and I was hoping that you would stay with me forever. I will tell you what. If you can put something new and interesting in my garden by the end of today, I will show you the path to the garden of the sun and moon. But, if not then you must forget all about the princess that you love and stay with me forever.” Prince Howard agreed to this, and Began to think of something that he could give sister springtime to put in her garden, in exchange for his freedom. He racked his mind all day, trying to find something that he had that system springtime had never seen before. Just when it looked like he would run out of time, and be forced to stay with springtime forever, he suddenly remembered the gift of the fairy godmother. He went out into the garden of sister springtime and came back in with his horse. He simply said the magic words “horse, horse. Remember that you were once a bird and be a bird again.” When he said that, his stallion immediately turned back into a pigeon just as He remembered it.
    “Well, bless me for eternity,” said Sister springtime. “I have lived in the world since ancient days, and never have I seen a horse that can turn into a bird.” True to her word, Sister springtime directed Prince Harold to a path made entirely of flowers, and gave him a horse with a hide as yellow as a Marigold flower.
    “Follow this path to the end astride your horse, And soon You will find the place where you are meant to be. Take this gift of an April Shower with you, and make sure that you show it to no one, or tell anyone that you have it. In fact, talk to nobody upon your journey. No, not unless they say your name.” The prince thanked Sister springtime for her generosity and got on his new, marigold coloured horse, and set off on the next part of his journey. He rode on for many days, only stopping when he had to, and he made sure not to talk to anyone, for nobody in this part of the world knew his name, or even who he was. Eventually the path led him to a place where nobody else seemed to live, And what was worse, the weather got hotter and hotter, until his horse collapsed from the heat and caught on fire. The Prince walked a little way further, and before too long he saw a Small house of fiery red bricks. When he entered this garden through the gate, he saw that it contained an orchard of shady fruit trees, a pool of fresh drinking water, and vineyard thick with grapes. Finding a bowl of Fruit and a flagon of Wine inside the house, Prince Harold ate and drank his fill and then fell asleep on a bed of straw, satisfied and refreshed. When the prince woke up, he rubbed his eyes open to see that a young lady was standing over him. The woman wore garments of the warmest colours of green and red, And she wore a crown of gold as radiant as the sun. The young lady kissed him upon the head and said “Good morning Prince Harold.”
    “How is it that you know my name, dear sister?” The Prince asked of the woman. “I’m surprised you Do not recognise me.” She answered. “because you have spent many happy years dancing in my shade, and eating my fruit. I am sister Summertime, and you must stay with me for a season.” So he stayed with her for a season, eating the sweetest and most delectable fruit, and drinking the Summer wine, and sleeping on a comfortable bed of straw Until his strength revived. When he found himself quite ready to continue his journey, he asked his host “sister Summertime, I am ready to go now. Will you help me to find the fountain in the garden of the sun and moon? I must bring 2 bottles of its magic water to my truest love, and only you can tell me the way.”
    “I will tell you what.” Said sister Summertime, “If you can cool the burning tar that paves my garden path, Then I will show you the way to the garden of the sun and moon. But, if not then you must forget all about the princess that you love and stay with me forever.” Prince Harold agreed to this, and Made his way to Sister Summertime’s back garden. Alas, the tar was so burning hot, that the Prince couldn’t even get his feet on it to step outside to do anything. Just as the Prince had all but completely given up on ever completing his task, he remembered the gift that Sister springtime had given him. He pulled the April shower out of his cloak and made it rain on top of the burning hot tar, cooling it right down until it was comfortable and good to walk upon. “Well, bless me for eternity,” said Sister Summertime , as soon as she saw what the Prince had done. “I have lived in the world since ancient days, and never have I seen An April shower.” True to her word, Sister Summertime directed Prince Harold to a path made entirely of burnt grass, and gave him a horse called Flame, with a hide as Red as a forest fire.
    “Follow this path to the end astride your horse, And soon You will find the place where you are meant to be. Take this gift, a Ray of Summer Sunshine with you, and make sure that you show it to no one, or tell anyone that you have it. In fact, talk to nobody upon your journey. No, not unless they say your name.” The prince thanked Sister Summertime for her generosity and leaped onto his new, red coloured horse, and set off on the next part of his journey. He rode on for many days, only stopping when he had to, and he made sure not to talk to anyone, for nobody in this part of the world knew his name, or even who he was. Eventually the path led him to a place where nobody else seemed to live, And what was worse, There was no where to find food and shelter, until his horse collapsed Dead from hunger and cold. The Prince walked a little way further, and before too long he saw a Small house of wood with a thatched roof. When he entered this garden through the gate, he saw that it contained The most beautiful frogs and vegetables, that seemed to go all around the farmhouse in all directions. Finding a delicious bowl of vegetable stew and a plate of roast pheasant On the table inside, Prince Harold ate and drank his fill and then fell asleep on a bed With a mattress stuffed with the feathers of migrating geese, satisfied and refreshed. When the prince woke up, he rubbed his eyes open to see that An old woman was standing over him. The woman wore garments of Brown with a red apron, And she wore a Hat with radish leaves on One side of the brim. The Old woman kissed him upon the head and said “Good morning Prince Harold.”
    “How is it that you know my name, Old sister?” The Prince asked of the woman. “I’m surprised you Do not recognise me.” She answered. “because you have spent many happy years Eating my harvest. I am sister Autumn, and you must stay with me for a season.” So he stayed with her for a season, eating the Best crops and game, And bringing in the harvest every day Until his strength revived. When he found himself quite ready to continue his journey, he asked his host “sister Autumn, I am ready to go now. Will you help me to find the fountain in the garden of the sun and moon? I must bring 2 bottles of its magic water to my truest love, and only you can tell me the way.”
    “I will tell you what.” Said sister Autumn, “If you can Put a fire in the hearth without using Any kind of match or tinderbox, Then I will show you the way to the garden of the sun and moon. But, if not then you must forget all about the princess that you love and stay with me forever.” Prince Harold agreed to this, and not by the fireplace, trying to figure out how to light it without the use of a match. Just as the Prince had all but completely given up on ever completing his task, he remembered the gift that Sister Summertime had given him. He pulled the ray of summer sunshine out of his cloak and Through it upon the fire, making it burn in a comfortable Flame. “Well, bless me for eternity,” said Sister Autumn, as soon as she saw what the Prince had done. “I have lived in the world since ancient days, and never have I seen a ray of summer Sunshine.”
    True to her word, Sister Autumn directed Prince Harold to a path made entirely of fallen leaves, and gave him a horse called Chestnut, with a hide as Brown as a chestnut tree.
    “Follow this path to the end astride your horse, And soon You will find the place where you are meant to be. Take this strong breeze with you as a gift, and make sure that you show it to no one, or tell anyone that you have it. In fact, talk to nobody upon your journey. No, not unless they say your name.” The prince thanked Sister Autumn for her generosity and leaped onto his new, rusty coloured horse, and set off on the next part of his journey. He rode on for many days, only stopping when he had to, and he made sure not to talk to anyone, for nobody in this part of the world knew his name, or even who he was.
    Eventually the path lead him to a place where no one seemed to live and what was worse, the weather became unbearably cold, until his horse collapsed frozen stiff any him. The Prince walked a little way further, and before too long he saw a Small house of cold white stone with snow on the roof. When he entered this garden through the gate, he found himself waist deep in snow bank after snowbank, that seemed to get harder to walk through the more he tried. Finding a delicious plate of roasted pork and warm milk On the table inside, Prince Harold ate and drank his fill and then fell asleep on a bed With a blanket of bearskin, satisfied and refreshed. When the prince woke up, he rubbed his eyes open to see that An ancient woman was standing over him. The woman wore garments as white as the clouds, And she wore a crown of snowflakes. The ancient woman kissed him upon the head and said “Good morning Prince Harold.”
    “How is it that you know my name, ancient sister?” The Prince asked of the woman. “I’m surprised you Do not recognise me.” She answered. “because you have spent many happy years playing in my snow and snuggling with loved ones for war on my cold nights. I am sister wintertime, and you must stay with me for a season.” So he stayed with her for a season, playing in the snow and sleeping in bed with bearskin covers Until his strength revived. When he found himself quite ready to continue his journey, he asked his host “sister Wintertime, I am ready to go now. Will you help me to find the fountain in the garden of the sun and moon? I must bring 2 bottles of its magic water to my truest love, and only you can tell me the way.”
    “I will tell you what.” Said sister Wintertime, “If you can clear away all of the snowflakes on my carpet, Then I will show you the way to the garden of the sun and moon. But if not, then you must forget all about the princess that you love and stay with me forever.” Prince Harold agreed to this, and for it to work trying to clear the snowflakes off of sister wintertime’s carpet. Just as the Prince had all but completely given up on ever completing his task, he remembered the gift that Sister Autumn had given him. He pulled the strong breeze out of his cloak and caused it to blow all over the floor. In almost no time at all, all of the snowflakes had been blown away. “Well, bless me for eternity,” said Sister wintertime, as soon as she saw what the Prince had done. “I have lived in the world since ancient days, and never have I seen them and use a strong breeze to blow snowflakes off of a carpet.”
    True to her word, Sister Wintertime directed Prince Harold to a path made entirely of ice, and gave him a horse called snowfall, with a hide as white as fresh fallen snow.
    “Follow this path to the end astride your horse, And soon You will find the place where you are meant to be. At the end of this path you will find a river called time, which flows in only one direction and no one can get back from when the current has taken them. But be of good courage, because on the other side of this river, you will finally find the garden of the sun and moon. Take this Frost with you as a gift, and make sure that you show it to no one, or tell anyone that you have it. In fact, talk to nobody upon your journey. No, not unless they say your name.” The prince thanked Sister Wintertime for her generosity and leaped onto his new, snowy coloured horse, and set off on the next part of his journey. He rode on for many days, only stopping when he had to, and he made sure not to talk to anyone, for nobody in this part of the world knew his name, or even who he was.
    Eventually the path lead him to a great valley where the river of time was, and what was worse, the current in the waters look impossible to get through. The Prince, however, wasn’t deterred at all. He pulled the frost from his pocket and tossed it into the river of time, making a bridge of ice on the surface of the water, which allowed him to cross the river easily. At long last the Prince had reached the garden of the sun and moon. The path through the garden shone with the beauty of 1,000,000 crystals and specs of gold, and Stars blossomed on every tree like flowers. The glittering pathways spiralled and swirled into a centre point, and at the very centre was the prized fountain, in which flowed the coveted water. When the prince approached the fountain, he saw that sitting at the edge of it was a gardener of impossibly ancient aspect. The prince tried to hide from the gardener, but then he heard him call his name. “Prince Harold, Prince Harold. Why do you try to hide from me?”
    “Because,” said Prince Harold, “I was told to nobody unless they knew my name. But now that you have called me by name, I may speak to you and would ask who you are.”
    “I am the gardener of the heavens,” said the ancient gardener “and in this garden, we know every name and see everything that happens in the heavens and on earth also. However, you should know that the water that I give you will flow for eternal life, and for this reason it cannot be given to just anybody. Prove your worthiness, and then I shall give you some water from this fountain to take to your truest love.”
    “I have journeyed from one side of the world to the other and have ridden upon the backs of 4 different horses, each one giving their lives for me to finally reach this garden. I have visited all 4 seasons and earned my freedom each one of them. Have I not proven my worth a hundred times over already?” “You indeed proven yourself to be brave,” the gardener said, “but you must be more than simply courageous enough to come here to be worthy of this water. Tell me, out of all of the seasons that you have visited on your journey, which one do you consider to be the greatest one of all?”
    The prince thought hard about this, trying desperately to remember all the things he did with all the seasons. Finally, he answered “In the abode of springtime, there were flowers, birds, and animals of all descriptions. I drank water scented with rose petals, and I dined upon honey. Indeed, it was only through magic that I was able to show Sister springtime anything that could match the beauty of her land and be permitted to leave. In the abode of summertime, fruit was plentiful and water was refreshing. However, it was only through the use of an April shower that I was able to give relief from the scorching heat that came upon the land every day and be allowed to leave there also. In the abode of autumn, I found a plentiful harvest, and also reaped the benefits of it. However, not for the ray of summer sunshine that was given to me by Sister summertime, I would never have been able to light the fire in Sister autumn is fireplace, and for all I know would be harvesting in the land of autumn still. The man reached the land of wintertime, I found it a cold and desolate place, yet there I found much needed rest from all the work and toil that had laboured me in the land of Sister autumn, and played in the snow thereof. However, if not for the strong breeze that was given to me by Sister autumn, I could never have cleared Sister wintertimes cottage of each and every Snowflake that was scattered on her floor. In short, I can find no greatest of the seasons among all of them, for every season is good in its time and has a purpose under heaven.”
    The gardener of the heavens leaned upon his pitchfork and nodded his head approvingly. “You have answered wisely,” he said and as he did so he can do both. Depth of them into the fountain of, collecting not enough water for the Prince and Princess. “But before I give you the water from this fountain, you should know that the moon is fast approaching, and with that in a time of rest and relaxation, and folding hands the closing of eyes into slumber. You have stayed with each of the sisters for a season, stay in this garden for the night.” As excited as he was that he had finally acquired the water from the fountain in the garden of the sun and moon, that was impatient he was to go home. However he saw that the gardener of the heavens was looking out for his best interests, and so, exhausted after his long journey, the Prince fell asleep. When he awoke the next morning, he found himself not in the garden of the sun and moon, but in a familiar part of the world. This was the place where his quest got started all of those seasons ago. Worriedly, he felt his pockets and found the bottles of the precious water from the fountain in the garden of the sun and moon were with him, so this had not been a dream. He quickly ran back to the palace where his truest love, Princess Amelia sat waiting for him. He gave her the water from the fountain of the garden of the sun and moon, and they will read the following day. Both Prince Harold, and Princess Amelia lived happily ever after, and even better than this, because thanks to the miraculous properties of the water that they drank at their wedding, they lived happily together for all eternity. Throughout the entire kingdom, Prince Harold’s story was told for many seasons. However, one cannot help but wonder if in the seasons to come, anyone will ever remember Prince Harold’s name, or even who he was, or if he ever went to the garden of the sun and moon.

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