There was once a kingdom in which, lived a princess and a prince. Like any other story, they were to be married. Prince Ferdinand and Princess Joy. Joy was a powerful sorceress as well as her sister. The magic being well trapped within the bloodline of every female in their family. Joy never abused her powers at all. In fact, Ferdinand and Joy were a kind, young couple, generous and polite to all who passed their way.
Although they did live in a grande palace, it was often that they would spend their summers exactly as they did when they were children growing up together. They would always take a few weeks off, leaving the Prince's younger sister (Lilly) to rule, and they would go to a farm house and spend their days there.
Ferdinand would hunt small game while Joy would go to the neighbors and buy fresh vegetables from their garden. On the edge of the forest this house lay. The to be weds would whistle and laugh in the sunlight, eating picnics by the north creek.Spending the evenings cuddled in the home in front of the fireplace. Joy would sweep the floors and clean the little house while Ferdinand would whittle another doll for their collection.
Every year he would take a block of wood and carve a small beautiful women out of it and place it on the mantel. Even though he had done this since he was a boy, he never told Joy he was always carving the statuets to look just like her. The couple would run around and play games much like small children and tell stories they heard from Joy's father when they were little. Growing up together like this, the two people were each other's best friends and they knew everything about each other.
Of course, these summers reminded them of their childhood and when their two families, rulers of the friendly neighboring, kindoms would meet here. Every summer when they were young there would be one story told. It was always told at the same time the exact same way. Every year when they arrived at the farm house in the evening, Joy's father would ask everyone to gather around him. He would take his two daughters And sit them each on one knee. Starting his favorite story again. It was the story of how Joy's mother, the queen, died. Everyone, at this time, assumed it was a fable made by the king to be able to talk about his descesssed love.
So the king would tell the story, "Once upon a time, there was a peaceful prosperous kingdom with great magic hidden in the roots. It is said that the royal women still have the rare gift of sorcery." He would always say tickling his daughters in turn." well once there was a beautiful young princess, next in line to be queen, who had just married a young prince. This queen's name was Eve. When she came to rule she was as wise and kind as she was gorgeous. Every summer her and the new king would come to a farm house on the edge of the woods next to a creek." Speaking these words the king would gesture to the house around him." the beautiful Eve would always go into the woods and gather fresh berries to bake with. Every day they were here, every year they came.
She would head out at dawn and be back at noon baking delicious muffins to perfection. One summer however she went in the evening to get her berries every day and came home at dusk to bake. Now the king found this rather odd, but said nothing. She began to have a sorrowful smile sometimes for no reason at all. It was if she wanted to say something, however words were not enough to tell the king.
One afternoon she set out even later in the day, when the sun was nearly half-down. The king noticed at sunset when she didn't return, she also never took her basket. Now this king wasn't one to worry, but his well-witted Eve would never forget something so simple. So taking the basket the king would set out to finds his beloved.
He came across the north creek (the one that flowed through the fields and meadows into the woods) and followed it east. Deeper and deeper into the forest he crept slowly as night was setting and he could not see. No sooner then the king started to give up did he find the fairies.
They were the small, glowing, winged creatures who lived deep within the forest. They ranged in beautiful colors, they were far more intelligent than we knew and had their own language and magic. As the king approached the fairies they turned their weary heads and the king heard a soft chanting. It sounded something like English, but there were hardly any consonants.
One of the smaller fairies laned on his sleeve and tried to pull the young man in a certain direction. Even though the creature was hardly as big as the king's pinkie, the fairy had managed to move him several inches and the king then followed where there fairy led. She brought him to and old and slightly worn book.
They used different characters, but knowing what he did about his wife and sorcery he could make out the title reading: Everlasting oak, one mistake, forget the past now for those whose sin not last. 'You killed her?' The king asked with tears in his eyes, but already knowing the answer. 'No, of course you wouldn't she was going to die, but you saved her face, her beautiful face so I could see her whenever I wished. Thank you!' The faires nodded and finished the spell turning the beutiful Queen Eve into an Everlasting Oak. The king stood up and slowly hugged the tree before turning back and following the North Creek back to the house. He stayed in the farm house one more day before returning to the castle to deliver the awful news to his two little girls."
At this point everyone in the room would wear a forlorn look. Everyone remembering the moment when then king returned. All but Joys little sister, Lilly, who was just an infant what it happened.
Joy, just finishing telling the story herself would turn to Ferdinand and ask," Do you- Do you believe the story? Of my mother's death?"
"Do you believe it?" Ferdinand replied. Not knowing what would be the best way to answer.
"I wanted to. I was a child when it happened , but I was't stupid. However father always seemed so sincere when he told us. Each time it would be like it was happening all over again for him even though it was just a story." Joy said, thinking aloud.
"Well I believe it." Ferdinand said with his growing confidence.
"You do then? Well let's go!" Joy said jumping up buttoning her shawl.
"Now? where might we go now? It's the wee hours!"
"Where else might we go? To the faires!", Joy said with sparkling eyes, answering her own question.
Not bothering to ask another question Ferdinand went to get the horses from the stables. They rode off into then night following the North Creek just as the story went. When they came into the thicker parts of the woods it was obvious the horses could go no further.
" I'll tie the horses here. They have fresh water and grass to eat they should bet fine for a few hours.", Ferdinand said quickly.
" No. I must go alone." replied Joy.
" please let me come with you...for protection. You don't know what you'll find."
" I'm not sure why, but I know I need to go alone it's hardly two-hundred paces. If I'm not back in an hour's time you may come for me." Joy said firmly ending the conversation by kissing Ferdinand on the cheek.
" One hour, my love. I will come for you!", Ferdinand yelled after here.
But Joy was already ensnared in the deep forest. The young king got far too restless sitting there. After unattaching and reattaching the horses' saddle three times Ferdinand decided to go look for Joy. Forgetting to tie the horses, he left quickly following the creek into the woods just as the sky horizon turned from dark blue to gray. In the growing light the woods weren't quite so dark and mysterious. He moved quickly counting his paces in his head. Knowing that Joy was normally very accurate with directions Ferdinand wasn't surprised when at pace one-hundred and eighty-nine he spotted a huddle of fairies over an old worn book (like the one from then story)and all too quickly he knew what was going on.
"Where is she? Please don't kill her she's so young!" Ferdinand said finding Joy's body laying feet from an old oak tree. Then realizing what he saw Ferdinand looked up at the oak tree again and saw the soft face of Joy's mother etched into the trunk. The face started to move, the mouth then curled into a warm smile as the old queen saw her daughter's fiancé.
The tree holding the soul of Eve whispered " Let go", softly into the wind barely reaching Ferdinand's ears. With that her old kind face shook her head and was still once again. Ferdinand stood up almost angry at this kind woman,
"No! Don't take her from me! Stop the faires, do something you're a sorceress or a soul of one. PLEASE! I can't live if Joy's not with me!"
With in that moment there was small pain in Ferdinand's body and he fell to the ground. The last thing he saw through his own eyes was his wife turning into an Everlasting Oak, and the faires surrounded Ferdinand, chanting once again.
By: Juliet McKaig