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The sea fairy

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High on a forested mountain there was a beautiful stone castle long ago. Perched on top of its towers were merry flags, and, protecting its walls, a deep crocodile-filled moat completely surrounded the castle.

  There lived His Majesty Dilemo I and his daughter Rosalva.

  The queen had died many years ago and since then the king had raised his daughter with all affection.

  From a very young age, the princess had enjoyed a reputation for beauty, thanks to her beautiful blond hair and beautiful face, in which her honey-colored eyes shone like stars.

  The princess grew more and more beautiful and over the years became a delightful intelligent and kind young girl.

  She looks like her mother, the king thought as he walked her through the garden.

  Dilemo I, who adored the princess, saw with sadness the day when she turned eighteen, the age when, according to court demands, the king’s daughter was to marry.

  Throughout the corners of the kingdom, a herald announced the news to the four winds, and soon the first suitors began to arrive at the castle gates.

  Attracted by her kindness and beauty, nobles, princes, and some kings rushed to visit the palace to offer the young woman the most valuable gifts and to propose to her.

  When the king and princess saw before them that multitude of elegant and presumptuous princes and kings so proud, they found it difficult to choose one that would make Rosalva happy.

  But it came to pass that a tall, dark-skinned young man with large black eyes and a shrewd appearance also arrived at the castle, who was brought, like the others, to the presence of the monarch and his daughter.

  Narkin, so called the newcomer, had heard of the beautiful princess and, upon seeing her, decided to ask her hand.

  But at that moment King Dilemo I said:

  – Gentlemen. My daughter will be to him who brings the little pearl that weighs as much as a mountain.

  – Oh! Exclaimed the suitors in unison. Everyone believed that the king wanted to have fun with them and, angry, left the throne room, commenting on the monarch’s decision.

  “There is no such pearl,” said a superb prince.

  “Dilemo I wanted to mock us,” commented a nobleman.

  – I don’t think so, and I’m looking for the pearl. It’s all a matter of luck, ”Narkin replied.

  – Do you really think about finding it? Asked a dude prince mockingly.

  “At least I’ll try,” said Narkin.

  And leaving the indignant suitors arguing heatedly in front of the palace gates, Narkin turned away, willing to seek the precious pearl.

  He thought of going towards the sea, for it was undoubtedly the most suitable place for a pearl. Though he had to cross thick woods and towering mountains, some reputed to be enchanted and inhabited by mysterious goblins, he did not stop.

  He walked for many hours until he found himself in a beautiful, flowered grove where a multitude of birds fluttered among the trees, chirping happily.

  At that moment he heard, in a dense thicket nearby, a sad pipilar. She went to see what it was and found a beautiful little bird, with feathers of rare beauty, caught between the thorns.

  “Don’t move, little friend,” Narkin said, approaching the captive. – I’ll get you out of there.

  Very carefully he picked up the small bird and, pulling the thorny branches apart, managed to remove it without any injury. The little bird looked at its savior and said to him:

  – Thank you. I was joking, I fell there and couldn’t get out.

  “Tell me, bird,” Narkin asked, “do you know where I can find the little pearl that weighs more than a mountain?”

  “Of course I do,” replied the bird. “We birds know everything.” You will no longer have to reach the sea, where you will see a boat. Enter it, but be very careful not to say a word all the way.

  “I will not forget,” said the young man. – Goodbye, little friend!

  They said goodbye, and the young man hurried on.

  He heard the rustle of the sea and then spotted it from a high cliff, at the bottom of which the calm waves were slowly moving to the shore.

  Clinging tightly to the small ledges, the brave young man slowly descended. After several hours of hard work, his feet sank into the sand. With a shout of joy, he found himself on the beach.

  – Finally!

  But soon he began to search carefully in the green waters of the sea for the barge that the bird had told him about, which soon appeared.

  It was a nacre boat with beautiful coral adornments. Inside was a beautiful mermaid with big shiny golden hair. Her body, covered in silver mesh, flickered in the sunlight and ended in a large fish tail.

  How beautiful is the barque! Narkin thought with astonishment, but she said nothing because she could not speak.

  The barge was stranded in the sand and the boy jumped in, settling in front of the beautiful mermaid, who was smiling at him.

  – Are you dumb, passenger? She asked.

  Narkin only dared to make an affirmative movement with his head, looking with great interest at the green seawater.

  The mermaid went on asking questions and asking more questions, trying to get the passenger talking, but Narkin remained silent the whole time.

  Then appeared on the water the most charming and wonderful palace the young man had ever seen. As if from an eastern tale, the tall golden towers cast reflections of fire and their high walls of white marble glittered majestically.

  A stairway adorned with many coral sea shells rose from the green waters to a gilded door in the rail.

  Two beautiful, boat-like mermaids came out of the water and secured the boat for the handsome young man to come down.

  “Everything looks like a dream,” said the boy to himself, starting to climb the stairs.

  Upon arriving at the door, it opened, and Narkin entered the castle. He found himself in a luxuriously decorated room.

  One of the curtains opened to give way to a beautiful woman dressed as a queen who approached Narkin, smiling.

  “I’m the Sea Fairy,” he said.

  But Narkin, remembering what the bird had told him, did not answer, but made a deep and gentle bow.

  The fairy clapped her hands and charming mermaids appeared, walking gracefully over their silver tails. One of them carried a tiny oyster on a velvet cushion.

  Taking her into his hands, the Sea Fairy held it out to Narkin while saying:

  – Here you have the pearl, Narkin.

  “I will not answer you, Queen,” said one of the mermaids. – It’s quiet like an oyster.

  “That was the deal,” replied the Sea Fairy. “You can go back now, and then you will talk as you please, Narkin.”

  The boy opened his hand to take the small case but when he touched it … everything around him darkened as he felt a cold air that did not know where it came from.

  When light came back on, Narkin found that the castle, the mermaids, and the sea itself were gone.

  His bird friend flew to meet him and, resting on his hand, said:

  – I’m glad you behaved so well.

  “It was an exciting adventure,” the boy replied. – And I have the pearl! Look!

  “Well, you can go back to the palace now and win your prize,” said the little bird.

  – Thanks to you, little bird friend.

  The boy started to leave, but the bird said to him:

  – It’s not long before nightfall. There is a cave nearby. Stay and tomorrow you will travel rested.

  – Accordingly.

  He woke up very early and with great appetite, and as he left the cave he heard the birds singing happily.

  – Hello, Narkin, good morning! Greeted his little friend.

  “Good morning,” the young man answered him.

  – We prepared something to eat. Comes.

  Narkin saw that the nice little birds had laboriously gathered a considerable mound of beautiful ripe fruit, which the young man ate to his satisfaction with great appetite.

  – And now goodbye, friends! – I said when I finished. – I still have a long way to go.

  At dusk he stopped in front of the palace doors where, with great surprise, he saw that the suitors were still discussing and commenting on the king’s condition.

  – Look over there! Exclaimed a superb prince, the princess’s suitor. – Here comes Narkin with something in hand.

  – How about, guys? – greeted the newcomer to see that they were waiting for him.

  – Did you come back so fast? Asked the prince, intrigued.

  – As you argue I shut up and work – Narkin replied.

  – You’ll have to hurry. Today is the last day of the deadline, ”replied a somewhat hostile young man.

  “Wait and see, little prince, how the princess will be mine,” Narkin said mockingly.

  At that moment a servant with a solemn gesture and severe physiognomy presents himself, clapping the attention of the beckoning claimants:

  – Your Majesty Dilemo I will welcome you right now! He said thickly.

  All the claimants advanced silently through the decked halls of the palace to the throne.

  Narkin saw the king Rosalva, the prettiest princess ever, in her evening dress and who, seeing him enter the hall, smiled at him happily.

  After several protocol ceremonies, Her Majesty Dilemo I declared that she was starting the hearing to grant the princess’s hand.

  – Does anyone bring the little pearl I asked for? Asked the king.

  The suitors looked at each other in displeasure, for they finally understood that the monarch’s demand was no joke, and that none of them had taken her seriously to go looking for what she had requested. Only one had made up his mind.

  Narkin, taking a few steps, said respectfully:

  – I bring you what you asked for.

  A murmur of wonder and surprise circulated among them, and the very interested princess smiled at the young man.

  The king, rising from the throne, followed by Rosalva, approached Narkin.

  “Let’s see this wonder,” he said, somewhat puzzled.

  The boy handed him the oyster that had given him the Sea Fairy in the beautiful Water Palace.

  The king looked long and hard at the closed shell and suddenly asked in the midst of great silence:

  – Why didn’t you open the shell, young man? What if the pearl is not here?

  Narkin was thoughtful, for he really didn’t know if there was anything in the small case. Trust the Sea Fairy.

  – Come on, silly! Said some jealous suitors, laughing.

  But the impatient Princess Rosalva took the little oyster from her father’s hands and opened it resolutely. From within, and to the astonishment of all, the Sea Fairy appeared radiantly beautiful, as Narkin had seen her in her palace.

  – Oh! … – they all exclaimed in unison.

  But they were even more surprised to hear the beautiful apparition saying:

  – Better than a pearl is to shut up in time. Marry young Narkin, princess, and you will be happy!

  “I like him very much,” Rosalva said very pleased.

  “And I love you too, princess,” Narkin said softly.

  Minutes later, King Dilemo I solemnly declared that his daughter, the princess, would marry young Narkin.

  The other suitors, running and ashamed, hurried out of the throne room so as not to see the happiness of the boy and the beautiful Rosalva.

  – Let the wedding preparations begin! Ordered the king.

  Soon came out of the palace heralds dressed in their brightly colored garb and their cheerful bugles, casting the good news. In every corner of the kingdom the royal marriage was heard and the news was received with great sympathy.

  A few days before the wedding, and in a simple ceremony, King Dilemo I awarded Narkin, as a prize for his constancy and bravery, the title of royal prince.

  One day before the ceremony the great halls were set up and all afternoon the guests began to arrive.

  Kings, princes, nobles, and other royals met in the magnificent halls of the palace, where the young bride and groom Narkin and Rosalva were honoring. Everyone was very happy.

  And among much joy came the radiant wedding day.

  Princess Rosalva, in her elegant dress, prettier than ever, stepped forward to the handsome, handsome Prince Narkin, who wore a velvet coat with several decorations.

  – Long live the newlyweds! Shouted the guests.

  – Long live the king! – said others.

  After the engagement, a large banquet was held in the gardens, attended by over a thousand guests.

  Along with the king and princes was the Fairy of the Sea, very beautiful and content.

  “I am very happy that you were the winner,” Princess Rosalva told her husband.

  “I am too, my son-in-law,” the monarch added, smiling. “I sent you to seek the impossible to challenge your worth.”

  The Sea Fairy, with its harmonious voice, intervened in the conversation:

  – I helped him because I knew how valuable Narkin was. He knew how to be charitable, how to shut up and persevere in his intent. You do not have a jewel impossible to find, but you have found a man …

  The festivities were splendid and lasted seven days. Tournaments, games and balls were held. When the guests began to leave, the spouses set out on a trip to get to know their subjects and their country closely.

  Everyone was very happy. And when King Dilemo I had to retire from his work because he was too old, it was young Narkin who took his place, ruling for many years with prudence and equity.

  Princess Rosalva’s other suitors will always remember what the king had actually asked of them when he had sent them to seek the impossible.

  I wanted them to demonstrate their value.

  And nothing more, dear little friends …

  Demonstrating what one can do is worth more than treasure.

  Heidi Collection
  The King Midas
  Bertrand Bookstore
  Adapted text

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