Mary painted, paused and looked through a binocular, and then she was painting again. She stared through the window of the loft, only from where she could see the church as misty but lonely, surrounded by heights.
– Mary, come down for dinner. What are you doing all day in the attic room? – Asked Mary’s mom.
With a quick thump, Mary showed up, and Lisa looked at her daughter and laughed. Her father stroked her over her head and said:
– We already know. What did you do all day, your nose is blue, and your pinkish-yellow cheeks are charming, why did you masquerade like this? -Her father Samuel snapped her mockingly. Mary passed a drawing to her father. Samuel’s face brightened, he put the drawing close to his eyes, then moved it away and said:
– Mary, dear, you are talented. How did you manage to see all the details of the old church you painted here from such a distance, fog covers part of the church?
– Father, I was looking through your big binoculars- Mary said.
– Yes, but even if you were looking through the binoculars, you’ve still managed to see things that most people would have missed. I’ll take you with your mother tomorrow morning to the Great Church.
The morning was bright, the mist had risen, and dew had fallen. The roads were damp, but Samuel drove gently and managed to get the car into the mountain, near the church. Mary’s eyes opened wide as a massive stone wall appeared. That wall was the back of the church. The car stopped, Mary opened the door of the car and shouted:
– Follow me; I am rushing to see this stone beauty in daylight.
– Mary, do not run, it is slippery and uneven here, you may fall, wait for us – Lisa warned her daughter.
But the excited teenager did not take any advice, and moved towards her goal, slipped, and went directly down the hill to a stone fountain with a tap.
She paused, took a breath and raised her head up to look at the sculpture above the tap. At first, she saw strange letters, impossible for her to read, but her gaze focused on the sculpture-head of a young and gorgeous face of a woman. Her beautiful features conquered Mary, and she intuitively stretched out her hand, but she could not reach the sculpture.
An unheard miracle – drops as tears flowed from the stone face, from the stone eyes. Mary was following what had happened, and she could not believe it. A light noise caught her gaze down to the basin of the tap, and little glow, illuminations made her bend. The tears turned into crystals. Astonished, frightened, Mary looked up at the stone face, but eyes of the stone face were already shut.
– Mary, Mary– the girl heard her mom calling her -come to the church.
Mary grabbed the crystal pebbles, stuck them in her pocket and felt her heart beating, bursting with wonder. They all went into the church, which was sunk into dust and ruins. Lisa stood in front of an altar, crossing herself, and Mary was looking at the walls where faded drawings were still visible.
– Where are you going Mary, be careful, it’s pretty ruined – Lisa’s singing voice was carried as if a wall on a wall struck it and she was chanting.
Mary was startled, looked for a moment at her mother and reached out to the wall. The wall was cold, but Mary approached it with both her hands as if she was embracing the face of a beautiful young girl.
The image of the drawing was the same as the face of the sculpture above the fountain tap, outside behind the church.
– Thank you for the warmth! – a thin voice spread into the air in the church.
Lisa turned and asked her daughter:
– Mary, have you spoken these words in such a mysterious voice?
– No Mom, it’s not me, it is awkward where this strange voice comes from.
Samuel approached his wife and daughter, and said to them:
– Lisa, Mary, do not move, stay where you are. Who are you? Show up – Samuel said firmly.
Then a big white falcon passed in front of everyone, who was circling and not landing.
– Who are you, where are you coming from? – Mary asked the white bird nervously.
– I am the royal Falcon who lives here in this cloister – the Falcon gently sang – I am a friend of Princess Marian, she was the most beautiful and noble princess, the most beloved in the old Armenian Kingdom.
Mary waited until the echo repeated the words of the Falcon, and eagerly asked:
– Tell us, tell us about the princess!
The Falcon landed on the altar. He (the Falcon) was beautiful, white, with distinguished strong black eyes.
– When the enemy invaders attacked us – the thin voice of the bird-dispersed in the air- the little princess watched how they were destroying and killing, but she was fragile and powerless to help. Then her father, Arthur the great Armenian King ordered to hide with the Princess in this church and protect her. We hid with Princess Marian here, and we were saved from the invaders, but the little princess’s heart was breaking with grief. One day, an old and ragged person came into the church and began to pray, right here in front of this altar on which I had landed. In his prayer he mentioned the name of the queen and the name of the beautiful princess Marian – the Falcon stopped, but the words still spread in the air. He passed the altar twice and landed again as if he needed to take his breath as people did.
– I came out of my hiding place – the Falcon continued – and the man exclaimed: “You my friend, my falcon, where is the little princess?” – Who are you old man and how do you know me and why are you asking about the little princess? “I am your King, King Arthur; I managed to escape from the tower and promised the guard diamonds, so to release my Queen.” – Having heard the King’s voice, her father, Princess Marian jumped out of her hiding place behind the curtain, gently hugged the ragged King. A miracle happened, the princess cried with great tears that rolled on her gentle face. A loud noise broke into the silence. The king looked; caressing Marian’s satin face, and saw little glowing pebbles on the floor. He leaned over and saw that his daughter’s tears had become diamonds. The king gathered the diamonds, kissed his daughter and rushed to the tower to save, to release the queen.
The Falcon spread its wings again and flew, but Mary did not give in.
– Tell us, tell us what happened next! Was the queen saved?
The Falcon approached Mary, looked at her with his big black eyes, and landed again on the altar.
– Yes, the royal family was rescued and lived here in this majestic church, unidentified by all. Years passed, and the princess turned into a young, beautiful girl. Her father, the King, was worried about whom to marry her so that no one ever knew who she was.
Mary looked at the Falcon’s teary eyes as she saw herself in a black marble mirror.
– One day – continued the Falcon with a soft voice – a young man stopped by the river, not far from the church, so his horse can drink some water from the river. At that time, Princess Marian gathered flowers near the river and contemplated the beautiful horse. The horsemen saw her and could not take his eyes off her. He went to Marian and congratulated her and asked who she was, where she lived. Marian modestly replied that she was a rural girl and lived in the neighbourhood with her parents, and she runs. But the young man followed her and entered the church after her. He reached for her hand and said to her: “Please come with me to introduce you to my parents, you are the one I’ve been seeking for so long to become my bride.” Princess Marian looked at the King and the Queen who watched astonished but gladly encouraged her “Yes, go, little beauty, and we will be here waiting for an invitation from this young man’s parents to get to the wedding.”
The beautiful princess sat down on the exquisite horse, and the young man held the reins and walked the horse. Days and weeks passed, but there was no news from Marian and the unknown charming man. Then the King charged me to seek her.
I flew from house to house, landed from tree to tree; out of the yard to yard, but could not find our princess. The last place I have checked was the Palace – I approached it, and from the window, I saw the sad face of the young man. I rushed through the open window. I asked him where is the beauty he wanted to marry; I asked him who he was and why he was in the Palace.
He looked at me with pain in his heart and said, “I am the son of the Great Sultan who took over this kingdom and wanted to make my worthy princess a princess and live here in the Palace. The night we arrived here, she asked me to release her and forget her. Then I refused -the young man continued desperately – and she became petrified, she turned into stone – into stone not only her heart but her tender face too. I took the petrified beauty and took her to the church, placing her high above a fountain. I could not go into the church and tell about what happened. ”
The Falcon stopped again, crossed twice from one end of the church to the other, and continued his story:
– I was flying, and I did not want all that to be true, but I saw the tap, and over it the stone face (the sculpture) of Princess Marian. Her eyes opened, and a tear rolled down and dropped into the basin of the tap and became a diamond. I took the diamond with my beak and brought it to my lords – the King and the Queen. The King immediately recognized the diamond tear.
The Falcon stopped again, crossed twice from one end of the church to the other, and continued his story – I told them about what happened. They were devastated, then they went and cleaned the old fountain/tap and wrote in ancient Armenian language: “Here lives the noblest princess of the Great Armenian kingdom, whose tears are even diamonds. Amen.”
Mary approached the Falcon, pulled the two small diamonds out of her pocket, and showed them to the big raptor.
The Falcon began nervously to circle and scream like a bird. Mary grabbed her mother’s hand; her father patted her shoulder and left the church. Mary noticed that the Falcon followed them.
– Mom, I’m the Falcon’s Princess.