A Story by Peter Rogerson

A strange little tale that lies somewhere between fairy stories and the works of Eros....


Here, brethren, is a truly salutary tale. Mark it well and maybe you will become all the wiser.

Once there was a tall tower, a round edifice that rose hugely into the sky and was topped by a gigantic dome through which the night sky and the patterns of its stars could be seen.

At the top of that tower stood the Prince.

He was regent of the lands all around, But he was unhappy because far off, down a long, long road, he had heard that a Princess dwelt in great richness, and although he couldn't see her he was sure that he loved her with all of his heart.

They couldn't meet, not in the flesh, but by a trick of the acoustics that governed the conditions in that place, they could talk together.

He would stand at the top of his gigantic tower beneath its mighty dome and stare out across the lands. There was the Endless Road that led to her lands, and it became dwarfed by the distance until it was gone altogether. It passed through countryside and towns and villages, over and under bridges, past forests of mighty oak and gentle willows.

Then, in the unseeable distance, was the Princess. The trouble to him was that she was truly unseeable. Everything, her whole land, her palaces, the fabled forests that she told him all about, the mountains and the valleys, the mighty caves, all were dwarfed to nothing by the distance.

And he would never have any chance of exploring them.

"Come," she would say, and her voice came to him, despite the distance, almost undiminished, "come and wander in my mighty forests, and we can talk. Come and explore my mighty mountains, for we could hold hands together; come and trespass in my precious caves and we will be able to whisper of our love to each other, and all will be true happiness until the end of time."

But he could not go. The distance was too great and the Endless Road was not meant for royal blood like his.

Then he had an idea.

It was a brilliant spark of an idea.

It was a gigantic roller-coaster of an idea.

It swamped him with its immensity until he shivered.

He went to the topmost part of his high tower and stood under its translucent dome."I will send my thoughts to you," he said, and she blushed.

So a fragment of his thoughts broke free of his mind and tumbled down from the Round Tower and down to the start of the Endless Road. It was an insubstantial thing but it contained his essence in much the same way as a droplet of honey contains the essence of a hive.

It raced like a wild thing until it came to a village. It rushed through it, past guardians and hedgehogs and tiny mice, not pausing to greet them or wish any of them well.

It reached the first town, and slowed down. Even fragments of thought can get weary with the distance even though they lack substance. But it continued bravely on its way along the Endless Road, past old men and small children and a great albatross with a wingspan bigger than the world itself.

The thought hardly paused. On it went, through a windy city where it rolled along like tumbleweed, past crumbling factories and broken skyscrapers, tossing and twisting as it struggled along.

Once back into the countryside a rabbit asked it if all was well and it smiled grimly and said yes, all was well.

A scarecrow asked it if it would like a lift in a handcart left there by a lazy farmer and it said, no thank you, I will manage under my own steam.

Then it arrived at the borders of the Princess's Queendom. It came upon a cleft in the countryside, and slowed down to a humble walk. It was truly weary, more so than any thought had ever been before. Weariness gripped its every fibre, and sleep threatened to steal over it. But it persevered. It had to. Its prize would be huge.

Then it came upon a waving forest, fragrant with the musk of a strange new land, and quivering where it walked.

"This is a wonderful portal," it thought. "For my Princess to be mistress of such a wonderful place is more wonderful than all the stars in the sky. I must tread carefully, out of respect."

It wandered on and came to a cave.

"I am so tired I will tarry here awhile," it thought. "For when I meet my Princess I will need all my strength, and more!"

So it wandered into the cave - and what a cave! The thought had never dreamed that such a Paradise could exist anywhere under the sun.

It had warm pulsing walls, moist with a dew that had about it the fragrance of the Heavens themselves. And all around were living cushions that invited the thought to tarry and close its eyes.

"This is a wonderful place," it marvelled, "I will lie here awhile, and I will close my eyes, and soak in the wonders of a place like no other."

And he pushed one hand against the cave's wall, and it yielded. He heard his Princess's voice, close now and not distant like it had been when he'd heard it from his High Tower.

"That was nice," she breathed. "I like that. You can do it again if you like"

He pushed his hand there again, and smiled to himself. His Princess might like it but then, so did he. The Prince of whom he was no more than the least of thoughts liked all things gentle and soft: he always had since he had been a child.

The fragment wandered further into the cave."You are my Prince, truly you are," sighed the Princess in its ear. Her voice was all around him and the thought shuddered.

"I will lie down in here," it announced. "I will regain my strength and then continue to the Palaces of my Princess."

So it lay down and rested its metaphoric head on the soft warm walls of the cave, and closed its eyes.

It shuffled itself around for greater comfort, and every time it moved the least bit the Princess's voice shivered and he could almost hear her smile as she said, "Ah, but that is so good! Again, my love, again!"

But the thought was weary, and it slept. In his sleep it became a mighty warrior and dreamed a triumphant dream in which he triumphed over adversity, waving his sword about him and leaping from boulder to boulder slaying dragons and being the greatest swordsman ever.

And as the thought fought in its dreams, and tossed and turned, a river flowed past its resting place, gushing and mighty, with surging streams and steams and all manner of fragrances. Its aroma washed over the sleeping thought, which smiled and shook.

Then in its sleep the thought became calm, the river ceased its flowing like magic, all became still - and it woke up.

"That was so good," whispered his Princess. "But you must go now. Your time is up. Maybe you'll come back again one day? Maybe you'll bring all of you and not be such an insubstantial fragment of thought? We could do great things together, you and I!"

"Maybe I will," he vowed, and obediently set about his return journey.

The air was heavy with musk and he thought the very aroma of it would transport him to Heaven if he tarried any longer. It wandered onto the Endless Road, and started on its way.

"You weren't so long," remarked the Scarecrow, "But you certainly hit the spot, if that torrent had anything to say about it!"

"What torrent?" it asked, and the Scarecrow nudged him, and winked, and said that he understood, mum was most certainly the word.

The weary thought passed the rabbit, and the rabbit also winked hugely at him and said that rabbits everywhere understood what he'd been through, didn't all rabbits everywhere know all about such things?

The thought shook his head, deciding that Scarecrows and Rabbits were all completely mad.

The journey back to the High Tower seemed to take forever, but eventually, and very weary, it arrived back. Gratefully, it nestled back inside the Prince's head, and then slept. The journey had all but been the death of him.

The Prince went to the top of his High Tower and stood under the great dome."Is all well?" he asked the Princess across the rolling miles."All is so very well, and you were soooo good," came the reply. "We must do it more often!"

The Prince, still weary in his head, replied. "Maybe," but his voice was uncertain."If that's going to be your attitude!" snapped the Princess "There are more where you came from, you know!"

"I didn't mean anything!" he stammered. But she was silent in response, a silence that bit deep into his being, and he bowed his head and made his way to the very edge of the highest point of his high tower, just beneath its dome.

"All is ill," he muttered.

And in despair he dived from the very top, into the deep unknown. He landed in a fire, a roaring endless fire, and was totally consumed, all, that is, but a mote of him, the least significant of specks of black ash.

A wind from nowhere blew it high into the sky and for a big age it wandered hither and thither according to the wiles of the winds until, eventually, it landed on a windowsill of the Princess's palace.

"What filth is this" she snapped, and ordered a maid to clean it with a cloth, any old cloth, the older the better, and burn it, and be quick about it!

© 2015 Peter Rogerson

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A wonderful wry tale for innocent adults and sophisticated children

Posted 7 Years Ago

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Added on November 13, 2015
Last Updated on November 13, 2015
Tags: fairy story, Princem Princess, distance, echoes, thoughts


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 79 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..