Sonepur In lieu of our 24th wedding Anniversary, I thought I’d share something my husband wrote a few years ago.
Once upon a time, there was a mighty King who had dominion over a vast estate. This King was most terrible and handsome and had little need for armor in battle, because of his great strength and strength of his purpose.
As time went by, he became lonely. He realized he needed a companion. The Great King reviewed all the creatures of his estate and while he tried out different creatures for a companion, none were found to be adequate. While he was in this miserable condition, the Emperor beyond the sea, beyond the mountains, beyond space and time, who made the Great King, saw the sadness of the great king and decided to make a companion of the truest metal that could be found. Not hammered from dirt and steel as he did with the King, but fashioned and shaped from precise ingredients. The Emperor caused the Great King to fall into a deep sleep. Once the king was asleep, the Emperor reached across space and time, mountain and seas, and pierced the great king’s solid breast and brought from it a single rib and attached to this singe rib, was soft tissue from the inside of the Great King’s steel breast. From this soft tissue, the Emperor fashioned a queen, a high queen. Beautiful in form, ingenious in functionality, endowed with intelligence equal to the Great King, but soft to the touch, to compliment the Great King’s strength and mass.
Time passed and the Great King awoke from his deep sleep. Lying on his back, he stared into the sky and felt his great loneliness; he also felt an ache in his side. He now knew the ache of loneliness. The Great King arose from his repose and went to his house. As he approached, all the creatures were lined before him, watching with knowing looks, and hidden smiles upon their faces. But because of the ache of loneliness of a true companion, the great king did not notice. As the great king entered his hall, the creatures crowded after him so that all could see as he entered his throne room. And there, to the right of his throne, stood a creature so fair, so beautiful of form, with a look of high intelligence in her eyes. She looked to be chiseled from stone, but no, this was no stone, this was much softer, and from the area in his great breast, where there was once the ache of loneliness, his heart gave a great leap. And from beyond time and space, from beyond the mountains and seas, came the voice of the Emperor to the Great King.
“I knew your loneliness, because I understand it. And from your breast I took a rib and fashioned for you a Queen. But as I tore the rib loose, with it came a piece of your heart. And because the Queen I made for you were made of softer stuff, that piece of heart grew. And because your Queen’s breast does not have the strength out of sinews, as yours does, her heart has grown large, and with it, she feels deeply and understands. She understands love, compassion, and care. She sees beyond the exterior and instinctly looks to your heart. My son, love her, understand her, protect her. Cherish her, hold her in high esteem, and seek her best. Although you are her king, she is not your servant. And although you are her king, she is your equal. I have already charged her to love you and obey you; to be dignified, quiet, and respectful. She has a full share in my kingdom beyond the sea, beyond the mountains, beyond time and space, for all eternity. And to this I will hold you account.”
And when the Emperor, the great king’s father, had left, the queen came before him and knelt with her face looking to his feet. The great king reached down with his battle-scarred hand, hands that had done great things, and within it, the power to do great things, he gently, lightly, touched the new Queen’s chin and gently lifted it until he could see into her eyes. He saw the love and adoration shining in her eyes and then she spoke aloud in a quiet, beautiful voice.
“My lord, my king, command me.” And with wonder and pride on his face, the Great King, before all the creatures, rose her up and said, “You are my Queen. Stand beside me.” And as they turned to face the creatures, he put his arm around her, and he realized the ache and the loneliness was gone. And because she stood beside him, he was now made whole and complete: And better than that, what was missing from him had grown more in his Queen than it could contain in his breast of steel. The creatures, for their part, were struck with awe. For their King, who before this was quite noble, now looked satisfied and complete; and if it were possible, even more noble.
And the Great King and his Queen went out, and ruled with steel and velvet and the Great King never tired of learning the complex nature and character of his Queen. For this he knew, his Queen was not a conquest to be won easily, but a companion to be won again and again.
By Dennis McLean, 2002