Writing a book is like burying a treasure for someone else to find. Until the book is read, it lies dormant like a hidden treasure.
The Enchanted Castle
Like in Edith Nesbit's 1907 book, The Enchanted Castle, a book adhering to my personal tastes would have Yalding-like towers, noted for their carved wall paneling as well as an impressive array of arms and treasures collected therein by that civilization's ruling class.
Magical rings would be passed down to the royal family, having been originally given to that family's first king by a supernatural being centuries earlier. As to be expected, there would be a price to pay for these supernatural rings, one of insight.
At first blush, the young man to whom these rings were bestowed was thrilled at the prospect of heightened awareness and ease of knowing beyond ordinary human perception. That is until he faces the challenges and loneliness associated with the gift of insight, leading to a dark family curse.
The All-Knowing Curse
The All-Knowing Curse is the curse resulting from heightened awareness and knowing. On the 14th-birthday each eldest child in the great lineage of the royal family awakens to an intense morning of nearly blinding visions and deafening sounds.
From this point forward, the sovereign must live in relative seclusion, away from the intensity that is knowing the fate of others instantaneously upon meeting them or hearing their names spoken. The sovereign feels faint at the roar of the sun pulsating and igniting the planet's otherwise cool cosmic breeze. Away from the blinding rays of the sun, away from the swells of energie that flow through and around every being on the planet, the new sovereign spends his day in deep meditation on how to best benefit the kingdom, and how to break the curse, which impedes the most beautiful and natural response to living: HOPE.
Without hope, knowing eventually becomes fruitless. Alone in the burden of insight, the sovereign surrounds himself with painters and writers and master craftsmen and women of all sorts. Every day is a race to create as many objects as that which might convey the insight he inherited on behalf of future generations so that they might learn how to read these objects and use them to protect the kingdom.
The moment the sovereign touches the clay or parchment, the finished object unfolds before him. Relentlessly pulling the sovereign toward its manifestation, the energies of the finished object already exist, demanding to be brought into being.
Reluctantly, the sovereign obeys the strong forces of nature by inviting architects and engineers to design and build the visions that invade the sovereign's being. All objects must be brought to life for the curse to end and release the sovereign from the incessant creation he must endure in response to living with omniscience.
The Great Seclusion
For nearly 250 years, the sovereign and the royal family travel the globe, creating new settlements among the many beautiful forests and secluded mountains. Each settlement might be regarded as a capital. In the great citadel sits the seat of the younger siblings, who are now in charge, having been spared the first-born curse of omniscience. Many of the younger siblings remain loyal to the eldest sovereign and the royal lineage, but some react according to their natural predicament, sometimes rejecting the eldest entirely, in an attempt to forge their own kingdom.
The all-knowing eldest sovereign does not find pleasure in their reactions but understands the limitations of human insight, and in that understanding cannot disparage any of the princes or princesses for responding according to their conscience. As the younger siblings go on to produce grain and breed cattle, or to sheep-farm, life tends to be joyous and prosperous unless bandits invade the region and the younger prince or princess is caught off-guard.
The Girl in the Hamlet
For the very first time in over two centuries of royal lineage, the now-reigning eldest sovereign is born a girl. She grows up on a gentle country estate, traveling with her family to distant lands that are hers to inherit. She is a stubborn, prolific, acutely astute, clear-sighted girl. She is observant and perceptive, quick-witted and ingenious at solving puzzles. Despite her obvious talents, she is discreet, holding the confidences of others out of simple loyalty.
As it has been for centuries, at the age of 14 she awakens. Climbing up the fence to reach the furthermost edge of the roof's awning, she hoists herself up. This is the highest place she can reach to gaze upon the sheer greatness of the world.
Our young sovereign soon realizes she must leave behind her family inheritance and forge her own creations. By nature of her inherited but royal lineage, other royal families feel at ease in her lively and gracious presence. They invite her into their kingdom, where she is admired by the highest sovereign in that land, but rejected by the others who seek his approval. It is of no consequence for she is not designed to remain. As in the tradition of her royal ancestors, she must travel onward to thwart the curse.
After many years of nomadic traveling, she settles in a quiet country estate, where from here she educates her progeny on the many great constitutions of the world. Seeking only the highest gems of understanding, she passes each piece of the torch she fashions for them to hold together. Curse or no curse, she is without a doubt the most stubborn sovereign in her entire lineage. She refuses to be held captive by the universe, by a supernatural being or by a curse, no matter how powerful.
She ignores her knowing, challenging fate to a dual at every possible instance. The curse fights back with a formidable resistance. She does not retreat. She stands her ground, determined to end the curse once and for all.
Getting through the gates to the sovereign is no easy task. A traveler will first come upon a thick mist which clears at an altitude of about three thousand metres; visible above it is a mountain range with incandescent smoke rising from its volcanic craters.
Visitors are advised that upon reaching the grounds of the sovereign's Hamlet their watches will stop; this is normal and complaints should not be made to the manufacturers.
The first view of the Hamlet is a phosphorescent plateau stretching out at the foot of the mountains, blue and white, with lakes and pools linked by meandering canals and streams. The mountains are steep, their broken slopes revealing caves, excavations, and water-filled craters. Grey sand lines the water's edge. The porous rock is luminous, throwing a brightish light all around, except for upon the Hamlet itself which is nestled under the protective shade of thousand-year-old Oak trees. The pools are rather like water gardens, holding dense, warm (38ºC.) water. Its density makes it difficult to plunge one's arm into it, as it runs off the skin like mercury.
The mercury serves as a natural barrier where the sovereign might live in relative harmony with her environment, despite her heightened sensibilities. There is no wind, no dust, and no odors. The flora is peculiar - bushes, fruit trees, and succubus plants thrive. Near the path where she takes her morning walks are coral-like plants, white and luminous, and taller trees like spun glass, with round, opaque leaves and round, transparent fruits, which she savors and shares with the many creatures who travel freely without fence among the lavish grounds.
The Hamlet is the land of this era's sovereign. The local inhabitants have no knowledge of the family's royal heritage, nor of the curse. Nothing changes in this immobile present tense; nothing has a future; everything is clear. There are no mysteries, no concealment, no lies, no fatigue, no pain. The only activity that is known to have taken place in the Hamlet is described in the chronicles of HTTP's account of a journey to this magical place.
When the light began to fade during the last complete solar eclipse, the sovereign created a very special object, indeed. A painting of a Dragon Panda holding a bamboo rod. The Dragon Panda painting the eclipse with just a sliver of light.
In one symbolic gesture, the sovereign breaks the curse by capturing it on the canvas. In this moment, a white crane appears. In reward for breaking the curse, the sovereign and her family are rewarded with longevity and the lovely trappings of not-knowing.
Hope fills the halls of the Hamlet, which is under renovation. The creation continues. But now, instead of creating to free energies into being, creation occurs to harness energie in a direction that will benefit all of the princes and princesses of the land.
The Hamlet holds many treasures, which retain their memories of the many sovereigns who came before them. Those graceful and gentle creatures whose favorite pastime was to swim and play in the pools. They produced little to no ripples and had no true needs; they slept early and fast and lived mostly on air. They communicated in a soft musical language and yet did not listen to music. They had none of the vices known to men.
Visitors and historians who learned of these sovereigns and their first-born curse came to the conclusion that while they disappeared from sight long, long ago, their essence lived on, in the many tales of what we now call correct behavior and sound judgment, and especially in the many acts of seemingly innocent kindness, the type of kindness one might express without desire for recognition or gratitude, but simply because it feels good and natural.
Where are the many treasures collected by this royal family? Who knows, you may be in possession of one of these objects in your own home. If you are uncertain, ask yourself if you truly know the origin of where the objects in your possession were fabricated. Could it be that one of these treasures has already found its way to your family?
Then ask yourself, if you are in possession of any treasure, object, insight or otherwise, what will you do with it?
To be continued ... maybe.
*Note to reader:
Thank you for visiting HTTP (Happy Thoughts Travel Fast). This short story was written on a foggy, Sunday morning from inside my personal library. Sipping coffee from my favorite travel cup, surrounded by books, by the many great authors of history, past and present, I bow in appreciation to Raymond Roussel, Impressions d'Afrique, 1910; Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three, 1964; and many others too numerous to mention.
The beauty of writing is the juxtaposition of earthy thoughts with earthy imaginings, the combination of which produces mystical lands in far-off imaginary places that can be visited time and time again, simply for the pleasure of it.
I hope you enjoyed this little tale, which is inspired by the lives of the world's past sovereigns and their progeny, and by life's many twists and turns. And in honor of "not knowing" what may come - an absolutely beautiful state of being in which hope flourishes, filling our hearts with joy and wonder.