ROSE AND HYACINTH
By Amanda Pizzolatto (alias Aurora Mandeville)
Word Count: 1,007
Rating: G (suitable for all audiences)
Summary: A retelling of the Story of Rapunzel.
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, lived a king and queen who ruled over their kingdom Florin with wisdom and kindness. Their only problem was that they could not have children. No matter how hard they tried and whoever they went to, they could not conceive a child to later inherit the throne. They, and the whole kingdom, fasted and prayed for nine days that God might send them a child through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
One day, not long after they had finished the novena, a monk appeared at the castle doors, having come from another country. He explained that the Mother of God appeared to him and told him to give King Jasper and Queen Marigold a special rose, a golden rose to be eaten by the queen. The king and queen posed some questions to the monk, and when the monk answered all of them to their satisfaction, they gratefully accepted the rose and followed the instructions given to them. The rose was to be eaten in a salad with radishes, marjoram, rosemary, and wine vinaigrette the night before the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dec 8th. A few weeks later, they found to their surprise that the queen was pregnant. She gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl in late August. She was a beauty, with her dark chocolate brown curls, warm caramel eyes, and rosy cheeks. She was named Rose in honor of the rose given to them by the Queen of Heaven, and was even consecrated to the Blessed Virgin in thanksgiving for the graces received from God.
Unfortunately, their happiness did not last as a witch kidnapped the young princess from under their noses. The witch had placed the curse of childlessness upon the king and queen, paid to do so by a rival king who wanted to inherit Florin to add to his own kingdom of Polaris. She was supposed to kill the child, but she found the princess to be such a delightful creature that she raised her instead. Thus Rose grew in grace and beauty under the witch’s watchful eye, the witch always cautious as to make sure the rival king did not know that Rose was still alive.
One day, not long after Rose turned sixteen, the witch had to lock her up in a tower; the rival king was beginning to suspect that Rose still lived. The witch gave her a magical book made from hyacinth leaves, and whenever the witch’s son Hyacinth stood at the foot of the tower, all Rose had to do was flip a page, and he would turn into a bird. As soon as Rose would flip the page back, he would become human again. This was how the witch got essentials and messages to Rose when she was not around. But Rose did not complain, even though she did miss her garden. She offered up everything to God for the good of souls, especially for those of Hyacinth, his mother, and the rival king. Hyacinth was the first to respond to God’s graces as he spent a lot of time with her and learned more about God. Those were always the happiest of times; the two would talk about the Bible, and would sing either one of the Psalms or a little song of Rose’s own making. The witch could only smile as she watched the petals of their relationship unfurl under the watchful eye of God.
Then came the fateful day; the rival king didn’t want to take any chances and rode by the tower with a squad of his soldiers. They heard the young princess singing with Hyacinth in his bird form. One of the king’s archers shot into the tower as Rose passed the window. They heard a scream and a thud. Thinking the job was done, the group left. But what really happened was that Hyacinth saw the arrow, and flew between it and Rose. Rose screamed at the sight of an arrow sticking out of her dearest friend, and dropped the book with a thud. With the book closed, Hyacinth transformed back into a man, the arrow embedded in his side. Rose got him to the bed as the witch entered, after having heard her scream and returned to the tower as quickly as she could. Between them, they were able to get Hyacinth stabilized, but the arrow had been poisoned by a potion of the witch’s own making. She quickly sent Rose to gather the ingredients needed for the cure while she stayed with her son to keep him alive long enough for Rose to return.
While Rose went off in search of the ingredients, the witch prayed to God, begging Him to spare her son and to accept her conversion instead. Rose returned with the ingredients as quickly as she could, and found mother and son talking about God. It warmed Rose’s heart. God had answered her prayers! Here were two more souls for His kingdom. And while she helped the witch restore Hyacinth to full health, she began to wonder if God had also worked a miracle with the rival king who had tried to kill her.
A week later, the three found themselves in front of the castle doors, and it wasn’t long after that when Rose was reunited happily with her mother. Her father was in a meeting with the king of Polaris, who revealed everything and wished to come to a truce. A party was soon underway, in celebration of the newfound friendship between Florin and Polaris, and the return of Princess Rose. At the party, Hyacinth’s mother presented them each with a present; to Rose she gave back the book that had turned Hyacinth into a bird, and to Hyacinth she gave a staff made of rosewood. For, as she put it, Rose and Hyacinth were meant to be together. They smiled at each other; she was right, they were meant to be together, and they hoped to be married soon.