The Handmaiden and the Princess - Pryde Foltz
There was once a beautiful princess, living in a land of spice and honey. In all the centuries that had come before and each that would come after, none would shine brighter. Her eyes were deep azure, her hair ebony lace, her complexion silk upon ivory; but most beautiful of all were her graceful curves and supple long limbs. She was a moving temple to love that is romantic.
People travelled from near and far to see her perform the sacred dance. They offered rings set with precious gems to adorn her long fingers and bangles of silver and gold to lay upon her elegant wrists; so when she wove her hands in the air, the very cosmos came alive and sparked about her grip. Such was her grace, even the Gods were transported and they heaped upon the land added richness.
The princess was not overly vain or greedy. She had but two arms and ten fingers; what did she need with so much? To the other maidens of the kingdom, she shared her treasure. No land would ever boast so many finely-decorated beauties. Most loved the princess for her generosity, all but one handmaiden: a beauty in her own right but lacking inner grace. Her splendid bone-structure stood strong but no spirit shone in her eyes. Really, she was a handmaiden of her own making. Even though each of her ten fingers was weighted down with a gem and she wore bangles to her elbows, she did not think it fair that one princess should have so much. She would set things right.
The moon was full when the handmaiden stole into the royal sleeping chamber. Her knife glinted silver. With two slicing blows, she severed the arms of the princess and left her to bleed red into a sliver of white moonlight. The Gods intervened in the only way they could. They turned the princess to stone just as her last breath departed its earthly shrine. She would be forever beautiful but never dance again.
The Gods then left this land that would slay its own grace. With their departure, the spices stopped growing and the honey would not flow. The kingdom fell to poverty and squalor. The people still came to look upon the stone princess, but her hands and arms were gone and they brought no more offerings. One by one, each and every bangle and ring would be sold to pay for grain, to fill empty bellies, and coal, to warm cold hearths.
In time, even the arms and fingers of the handmaiden were bare, but still she felt no regret as her teeth wore down upon her daily meal of gritty bread. She knew; she had wrought justice. It was not right that one should have so much.
Pryde was born in Winnipeg and attended high school in Calgary. She obtained a B.A. in theatre and later a B.Ed. She has taught both in Vancouver and Japan and traveled extensively. Currently, she is a stay-at-home mom and a frequent denizen of Vancouver Starbucks. In addition to Strays, a collection of short stories and philosophical love poems, she has published the Wisp, a paranormal thriller. Both are available for purchase on Amazon.