The Daughter of the Gold-Rich King
Laura Beasley | Terri Kelleher
This is the story of the daughter of the Gold-Rich King who created the Kingdom of Apples where no one is hungry or poor or cries themselves to sleep. The daughter of the Gold-Rich King stepped on the public road. She was leaving the Golden Castle for the first time. Golden bracelets hung from her arms covering her wrists to her elbows, golden rings covered her fingers and toes. Golden anklets wound around her legs from ankles to knees. Compelled by her dream she left on a moonless night.
As a young child, her dreams had been dictated. The Royal Storyteller lulled her to sleep with legends of her father’s conquests and military campaigns, terror tales of trolls, giants and boogey monsters, myths of destruction and chaos. When she entered her teens, the Gold-Rich King had isolated her from any men including the Royal Storyteller. When the princess could not sleep, her handmaidens fetched the Old Weaver from a distant village. The teenaged princess was comforted by the twisted tales and convoluted fables. When the Old Weaver was too old to travel, the princess could not fall asleep alone. She drank cocoa, played cards, Balderdash, Apples to Apples and gossiped with her handmaidens. When her stepmother, the queen, discovered these all-night festivities, she banned the servants from entering the princess’ chamber after bedtime except in emergencies.
“You’re too old to listen to stories. Fall asleep by yourself,” said the queen.
The princess pounded on the locked door, “I can’t sleep and I’m alone, this is an emergency.”
The princess was left alone. On the first night of isolation she ran from corner to corner screaming! On the second night, she lost her voice. She saw trolls, giants and boogey monsters in every folded length of fabric, in every crack on marble wall. On the third night she cried wetting her handkerchiefs, her nightgown, her night-sheets. For nine and twenty nights, she cried herself to sleep and did not dream.
When she fell asleep dried-eyed, she had her first dream not stimulated by a bedtime story. The dream was in black and white except for a single pop of color. The princess imagined herself walking in a forest. She heard chattering in the trees and saw a green monkey. The monkey gestured and dropped seeds in her open hand. The princess put the seeds in the pocket of her apron. She climbed on the back of a unicorn and rode over seven hills and across seven valleys until she reached the barren plain with dirt and rocks without a single blade of grass. The dream ended when she woke. After experiencing the same dream for seven nights, she decided to seek the forest and find the green monkey.
As inhabitants of the Kingdom of Apples, we know the stories of her lifetime adventures. The Quest of the Daughter of the Gold-Rich King is told at our all-night seasonal festivals. The Seven Golden Anklets is shared in the spring and The Eight Golden Toe-Rings is recounted in the summer. Even the younglings will listen on the nine nights of harvest festival to The Nine Golden Bracelets. The elders join the rest of the community staying up for ten nights in midwinter to share The Ten Golden Rings. We know that these are more than mere stories. The history of the world confirms the generous distribution of the wealth of the princess ended sickness, poverty, hunger and want. As you close your eyes, I’ll remind you how she ended bad dreams for all time. No child cries to sleep without a story.
The princess was riding her unicorn. After dozens of adventures and decades of traveling, she had kept the seeds from the green monkey in her right apron pocket. She had given away the last of her golden jewelry. Her flat face had folded and her hair had faded from golden to silver to pale ivory. She climbed down from her mount to survey the barren plain.
The princess scooped up soil and planted a seed. She took a handkerchief stained with tears from the third sleepless night from her left apron pocket and wrung it out. Watered with her tears, the seed burst into sprout and grew within moments to be a towering tree with apples of every color you can imagine as well as colors you cannot imagine. Green monkeys jumped from limb to limb. A big orange tomcat curled up at the base of the tree to tell the princess stories.
For the first time in decades, the daughter of the Gold-Rich King fell asleep listening to stories. After hearing the tales of the tomcat, the princess dreamed in color. She rode through the barren plain planting seeds and creating our Kingdom of Apples. As a child in the Kingdom of Apples, you can listen to bedtime stories every night because of the daughter of the Gold-Rich King, her unicorn and the green monkeys. Every tree she planted has a tomcat willing to tell stories. If your mother or father, auntie or uncle, grandmother or grandfather is too tired to tell stories, put a piece of fish on your pillow. An orange tomcat will leave the base of his tree and come to your room. The stories will help you dream in color for the rest of your life.