The Symbol of Her Love
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess. Her beauty was so great, that each day all of the people of her village would bring flowers and lay them on her doorstep. They would come to gaze upon her loveliness and she would sing them beautiful songs, from high up on her balcony. She was the village treasure, and they cherished and loved her, but the people knew that someday her prince would come and take the princess away. He would love her like no other could love her, and they would live happily ever after, in his palace, far away.
One day, just as everyone expected, a handsome prince did come to take the princess away. With stars in her eyes, and love in her precious heart, the beautiful princess accepted her fate, and his proposal of marriage. She pledged her love and life to him, and they went away to live in the prince's palace.
When she arrived at the palace, instead of being loved and adored as all princesses should be, she was abused and humiliated instead. The princess quickly learned that the handsome prince was not a handsome prince at all! He was but a cruel and evil man who spun her love into something she had not intended, and used it in his own selfish way.
This hurt the princess very badly, but even though her pain and suffering was great, she remembered that all princesses, no matter who they were, deserved a kind and gentle prince of their very own. So, on the day before the evil prince was to steal the very last piece of love that the princess had left in her heart, she took it, and wrapped it in a pretty red ribbon. Then she tied it to the leg of a little white dove that sat by her window, and told the dove to find her true prince, and give the love to him.
When the evil prince realized that there was no more love left, in the heart of the princess, he threw her out into the snow, alone and without food, or a coat to keep her warm. She struggled through the night, trying to find a warm place to sleep, and some food to eat, but the snow was heavy and she could not find her way. After many hours and many miles, she fell unconscious, into the snow, and died.
When the people of her village heard what had happen to the princess, they were very sad. They went into the forest to search for her and, when they found her frozen body in the snow, they cried and cried. They buried her at the foot of the tree, where she had fallen, and then went back to the village and cried some more.
Soon afterwards, another prince arrived at the place where she had once lived and told the village people that a little white dove had bought him a tiny piece of love, from the heart of their beautiful princess, wrapped in a tiny ribbon and tied around its leg.
He believed that if he could find the princess, and put the love back into her heart, then it would grow, and she would love him forever and a day. Of course, the people of the village were very happy, and they immediately took the prince to the place where the princess had been buried.
When they opened her grave, she looked exactly the same as she did the day she died - beautiful, but cold and lifeless just as the people of the village had found her. The prince held up the tiny little piece of love, in the palm of his hand, still wrapped inside the pretty red ribbon: just the way that the dove had brought it to him.
"But how do we get the love back into the heart of the princess, so it will grow?" The prince asked.
"Didn't the dove tell you how?" Inquired the oldest member of the village.
The prince shook his head and answered. "No, the dove was silent."
They sat, and they thought, and they thought, and they thought, but no one could think of the answer.
Then a wise old owl happened by, landed in a tall tree beside the prince and the village people, and asked. "Why are you here and why are you so sad?"
The prince replied. "Because a little white dove brought me this tiny piece of love that came from the heart of the princess, but no one knows how to put it back."
"Maybe it is not for you to bring the love back to the princess," the wise old owl said. "Maybe she is truly gone forever. Unwrap the red ribbon from the tiny piece of love and set it free."
"But she wanted me to have it", said the prince."I don't want to let it go."
"But you have to let it go", said the wise old owl. "How else will you know if it is there?"
So, the prince carefully untied the ribbon, and to his dismay, there was nothing there. The prince was very sad, and the people from the village wondered what had become of the tiny piece of love from the heart of the princess.
Again they looked to the wise old owl, and the owl said to the prince: "You received the love of the princess the moment that the dove brought it to you. Love cannot be wrapped in a ribbon. The ribbon was the symbol of her love. It was all she had to leave her prince."
The prince cried and cried when he realized what the princess had given him all of the love she had, in the only way she could and, until the day he died, the prince carried that tiny bit of love, safely hidden, deep within his own heart.