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    The Princess and the Cave

    The following is a parable and story written by a close friend of mine to his little sister, who is going through some tough times.  The author wishes to remain anonymous, but gave me permission to share his piece here.

            I'm going to tell you a story... a story of a kind heart, big enough for elvish world, sometimes too big for a world of mortals which can often be heartless.

           She was born in a little town on a river, in a troubled land, torn by war. Yet, she was raised to believe in light, love and peace. As a child, she used to watch plants grow in her grandfather's garden, she used to chase turkeys and geese at other grandpa's farm, and every time her and her brother slept over at their grandparent's house they were laughing for hours at silly fairy tales of princesses saved from castles by helicopters and princes without horses – tales that their grandfather used to make up right before bedtime. Sometimes her older cousins and brother used to make fun of her and another younger cousin for their silliness, but mostly because they were younger and older kids wanted to feel special and demonstrate their "maturity" which really stemmed from their own insecurities. (Children often behave in such ignorant ways to establish themselves as important in a group.)  Although this hurt her feelings, she has always had a positive outlook on life and once her older brother grew out of this stage, in the end he was always there to protect her and look out for her. She looked up to him and although he was sometimes too pushy for certain ideas that she would have disagree with, in the end their core values were one and the same – as their parents planted the right seeds in their young hearts. Her brother was proud of her, but would rarely utter those words because he perceived the world around as challenges and this tough way of guidance was all he knew then.

           Her mother, a wise, strong and hard working woman was always preaching those same values to the entire family. She was an alchemist, carrying books of world's knowledge in her mind like a philosopher's stone, a beacon of light when the nights gotten dark, she would always show the right way. And this elvish princess has grown up having these same traits herself. However, she was different. Unlike her older brother who was always more in touch with his books and brain than his heart, she was a free spirit, never afraid to blindly follow her heart, even if it meant climbing the tallest mountain cliffs without a rope, harness or a safety net. 

           Her father, the king of songs, the master of merry times, was a gentle soul and a man who lived his life bravely showing love for all beings, and possessing powers to transform frowns into smiles with just a few words. All the children, women and men loved him for he had the same effect on them as the elixir of youth, nowadays considered a mythical potion. Our princess' soul was of the same cloth, and she inherited those same powers and possessed the same brave heart, never afraid to show love, never afraid to get hurt along the way.

          While growing up in the shadow of her older brother, that little girl kept looking up to him and wishing to match him, to fill the same shoes, to do the same things... However, no matter how hard she tried, she was never satisfied with the results when she tried to make a philosopher's stone, and the world around her often seemed to misunderstand and judge decisions of her heart. As if she was the elixir of youth herself, too potent for the old world, yet welcomed by all green, living and innocent creatures. 

           And so the girl grew up to be a beautiful princess with big blue eyes, seeping light of her souls' greatness and purity, and golden hair glowing with magic of creation she possessed. The time has come for her to venture out into the world and find her destiny. She was often misunderstood in the world of small-hearted men, and often forced to hide her powers and to pretend she is someone else. Often times she would escape to her elvish worlds where forests talk, rivers sing, and all creatures shine with light as pure as freshly fallen snow on mountain tops. And each return to the barren world of stones and sand, where wind cry would be the only music her ears could hear, got her more confused, lost and scared, until one day she found a cave. The cave would protect her from the winds, it would echo her songs, it had walls she could draw on with charcoal sticks of fires that were put out long ago. She felt safe in the cave. The cave enjoyed her songs, her drawings and admired them. 

           As the time passed on by, she became lonely and the emptiness of the cave grew on her. She wondered about continuing the journey but each time she conjured up the courage to leave her safe-haven sooner or later a sandstorm would make her run back for shelter. As the months turned into years, she stopped wondering about the road she has yet to travel and realized that she likes her painted walls that echoed the songs she sung and reflected her inner light. She was getting ready to stay there for good. But with time, the songs of forests, rivers and birds that echoed in her head made her realize that she would never be happy in the shelter of the cave... She realized that she was destined for more, she clenched her teeth and walked on into the cold barren world again...

            Life is a journey that never stops and it is important to have the right company for all hardships and all celebrations along the way. Each elixir of youth needs a philosopher's stone and each philosopher's stone needs the elixir of youth in order to create gold. We must never give up the search but the only way to find what we're looking for is to stop searching, show who we truly are and be ourselves. The universe will always align the stars when time is right, we just need to clear the skies from all clouds of doubt, fear, insecurity and pretending in order to see them.

           So don't worry my princess, you haven't met your prince yet... Just leave the cave behind and he will find you and save you with his helicopter and take you to the magical elvish world of trees, rivers and wild horses :)
    Ilya Repin, Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom

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