18 July 2024

I.1. The King's Decree

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, there lived a king who was both kind and wise. He wanted nothing more than to see his son, the prince, happily married. But not to just any lady; she had to be someone special, someone who shone with virtue, kindness, and a beautiful heart. So, one sunny morning, the king announced a decree. He declared, "Let it be known that we seek a true bride for my son, one whose beauty comes not just from her looks but from her actions and her heart."

I.2. The Magical Forest

Word of the king's search spread across lands, over hills, and into the valleys, until it reached a mystical place known as the enchanted forest. This wasn't your ordinary forest. Oh, no! It was a place where magic whispered through the leaves and ancient secrets were hidden beneath moss-covered stones. Here, in a clearing lit by dappled sunlight, bubbled a magical spring, guarded by a wise old crone. This crone was no ordinary woman; she had the power to see right into the heart of anyone who dared approach her domain. She knew who was kind, who was brave, and most importantly, who was true.

I.3. The Brave Maidens

As the news of the king's decree echoed through villages and towns, many maidens felt a stir in their hearts. With dreams glimmering in their eyes, they set off on the journey to the enchanted forest, each hoping to prove herself worthy of the prince's hand. But the path was not easy. Oh, not at all! To reach the crone and the magical spring, they had to cross swift streams where the water was as cold as ice and as quick as arrows. They navigated paths tangled with thorns and faced tricksy forest creatures whose riddles twisted like the paths they guarded. Yet, with hearts full of hope and eyes alight with determination, these brave maidens pressed on, for the chance to find true love and fulfill the king's decree was worth every challenge.

The Test of Patience

Sunrise tinted the sky pink and gold as maidens from all corners gathered by the magical spring. Their task seemed simple: wait. Yet, as hours turned into more hours, impatience began to simmer among them. Some paced back and forth, others sighed heavily, questioning the purpose of such a trial. Little did they realize, the crone observed from the shadows, noting each maiden's demeanor. Those who waited with grace, finding joy in bird songs and the rustle of leaves, sparkled with a gentle glow, a sign they had passed this first test.

The Test of Kindness

With patience proven, next came a challenge of the heart. Forest creatures, large and small, approached the maidens with hopeful eyes and empty bellies. Some maidens shared their provisions willingly, breaking bread with tiny hands and feeding berries to the timid ones. Their acts of kindness did not go unnoticed. Each creature whispered words of thanks, their gratitude a glowing beacon to the wise old crone. Yet, not all were generous. Those who turned away the creatures found themselves wandering, lost, as paths twisted and turned away from them.

The Test of Courage

Now, courage took center stage. Maidens faced trials tailored to their deepest fears. For some, shadows loomed, forming shapes of monstrous beasts. Others found themselves standing at the edge of vast, seemingly bottomless chasms. Hearts raced, palms sweated, but forward they went, each step a testament to their bravery. Those who faced their fears with a steady gaze found the shadows dissipating, revealing hidden paths, while chasms bridged themselves, allowing safe passage. Their courage shone bright, guiding them through darkness and doubt.

III.1. The Final Challenge

After countless trials, only the most steadfast maidens remained. Their final task was not for the faint-hearted. Each maiden was given a simple, yet profound task: to plant a seed in the barren lands beyond the forest. This seed, the crone explained, would bloom only with the care of someone with a pure heart, who loved not for wealth or status but for true connection.

Night and day, through storms and scorching sun, these determined maidens tended to their seeds. Many grew weary, their hopes dwindling as no sprout broke through the hard soil. Yet, they pressed on, their resolve unshaken by the daunting task.

Among them, Rose stood out. With gentle hands and a hopeful heart, she sang to her seed, pouring into it all the love and care she harbored within. Unbeknownst to her, this simple act of unwavering faith and love was about to change her fate forever.

III.2. The True Bride Revealed

As dawn broke one fine morning, a miracle unfolded. From Rose's tenderly cared-for plot of land, a sprout emerged, glowing with an ethereal light. It grew, swiftly and beautifully, into a magnificent rose bush, its flowers unlike any seen before.

The wise old crone, witnessing this marvel, knew at once that Rose was the one true bride for the prince. Her selflessness and capacity for love were unmatched, shining through in her devotion to the tiny seed.

Word of this wondrous event spread like wildfire, reaching the ears of the prince and his father. Overwhelmed with joy and curiosity, they hurried to the forest, eager to meet the maiden who had accomplished the impossible.

Upon their arrival, they found Rose, radiant and humble, surrounded by the vibrant hues of her rose bush. In that moment, the prince knew he had found not just a bride, but a kindred spirit, a true partner in heart and soul.

III.3. The Happily Ever After

With Rose's virtue and love proven beyond doubt, preparations for a grand wedding began. Banners were raised, and musicians practiced day in, day out, their melodies echoing through the kingdom's every nook.

The ceremony was nothing short of magical, attended by all, from the humblest villager to creatures of the enchanted forest. Laughter and joy filled the air, as two hearts, destined for each other, were united in love.

As years passed, the tale of the true bride and her journey of love and sacrifice became legend, inspiring all who heard it to believe in the power of true love and the beauty of a pure heart.

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