Ishaisms, Short Story

THE PRINCESS AND THE DOVE

Ishaisms

Today I heard the cooing of a dove… in the same melodious sing-song way as that blessed hour when I had heard one three years ago in that Winter’s morn…

    The chilly mists rose up the towers, with a vague warning, signaling ‘twere better one kept the windows shut; for one’s submission unto the damp morning mist was a welcome invitation to illness; but the bird cooed, and I, lured by it into the gardens outside my abode, the four-towered castle, (whose feet were home to moss since the rains, nourished by the perpetual damp in my part of the world), ran among the fields, panting, the heat rising within my being despite the chill; running, running for fear that I, the Princess, would be caught by some vacant wanderer among the corridors, peering through the long, floor-length, marble-framed windows of the solitary castle, and brought back to the monotonous, fully furnished, yet empty, full of servants, yet isolated, bed-chamber; to be lonesome again; submitting my reluctant ears and day-dreaming self to the handmaid’s incessant gossiping….

And thus I, ignored the morning mist’s warning, and without looking back, without turning, fluttered like a sportive butterfly among the beautiful bushes and flowers and trees- the smart landscape giving way to the vast meadows- listening to that little dove’s melodious cooing…

The silk gown I wore was now a little muddy round the edges, the silk hat, damp, and for the first time that morn, my half-giggling, half-surprised self noticed my little feet, bare but brave.

And so I ran along, bounding with joy over the hills like the innocent deer who escapes death; looking at the mighty firmament- the cooing of the dove enveloping all my senses, healing, haunting, growing stronger, articulate, distinct… But oh! Cursed is a Princess’ luck! The gardener came rushing, calling me, confirming my worst fears, followed by the bewildered and alarmed kitchen maids, all in a haste to fetch me back to the Castle…my home…my prison, to keep the deer in captivity once more!

And I, like a thief, heart pounding and heals in panic, running from the authority I dreaded, paced like a wild, wild animal; gown held in gloved hands, hair flying, and hat lost somewhere in the meandering path of the garden of my royal household…

The cooing was loud and clear as crystal now. I noticed a sparkling halo of winter sunshine gleaming in the waters of the little lake that ran down the hill, spread all over the meadows and the fields and the groves and the shrubs and everything in its magnificent path; and then a little further… the King, my father, with his dandy nobles, engrossed in and laughing over a game of shooting…

The nobles bowed on having spotted me, and I, never ashamed of how I looked in my muddy gown, bare feet and hatless head, looked wildly around and above, entranced, in search of the dove whose mesmerizing song had completely taken over me now.

My father commanded the flushed maids to retrieve me to the castle lest I take to sickness. And just when the two sweating, frightened maids, with the breathless gardener following them (my rescued hat in hand), caught hold of my hands as delicately as if I were a china doll, that would smash and break into pieces any moment; I beheld the most beautiful white dove, circling about that same halo of winter sunshine, ignoring the mists as I had done, its white feathers soaring in a tranquil trance- the trance of its own melody; cooing, cooing with all its heart, cooing with all its might; its voice pouring into my ears and poring into my soul.

Free, free bird… what did she not have? She claimed the very skies, owned the glorious heavens beyond, just as she owned her listeners for eternity! Free, free bird….

I did not need anything else now.

I was spent, satiated and sublime, ready to tread back to the castle, for the cooing of the dove had pleased my senses beyond all delight, had soothed and moulded me into a person at peace, happy and calm, despite every vexation that surrounded her person.

And so I ran, once more, back to the castle; the maids and the gardener repeating the performance of panting, sweating, calling me to slip my feet into the shoes they had brought along, running behind my gleeful, mirthful self…

But I stopped short, and so did everybody else- for a great booming, firing sound had blazed into my ears. The explosion seemed to shake the trees from their very roots. The maid clutched my hand to calm my frightened self.

The sound was that of a gun, shot right across the sky, tearing open the clouds; and to my great horror, the cooing stopped

The gardener and the maids crossed themselves for fear; and I, with a hazy view from my tear-glossed eyes, saw the snow-white dove, lying on the ground, bearing a crimson stain in the heart, lifeless, immobile, dead at His Majesty, the King’s feet, while the obsequious , fawning dandies showered him with applause for the “Great shot!”; the “Oh-so-praiseworthy shot!”- lost in celebration and cheer…

 

And today

Today, I heard the cooing of a dove… in the same melodious sing-song way, as that blessed hour, when I had heard one three years ago in that Winter’s morn.

© Isha Garg

Doodle by Isha Garg 

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58 thoughts on “THE PRINCESS AND THE DOVE”

      1. That’s sweet of you to say 😊 And as for Absolutely Bunkum, it’s going to take a long while to read all of it’s treasures, but I’m looking forward… You’ll find that I’ve set camp there, warmed by the fire of words 🌌

        Liked by 1 person

  1. So much more to this than meets the eye, at least in how I perceive it. Your captivating words certainly fire the imagination of a bygone era – and I can feel the hard, winter’s ground beneath my feet as I read (as I run) breathlessly. The crimson stain may be on the dove’s breast, yet the fight to take flight, to be free, can never be extinguished in the princess’s heart. And I take flight with her!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Then let’s fly dear Isha!
        ☁️ 🦅 💕
        Your words incite two hearts to soar above the pure white clouded tufts. Thank you for your sublime imagery here … 😌❤️
        Have

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, when so much can weigh us or introduce chilling fear into our veins. We are not supposed to be cloistered in this way… 😊
        I enjoy your work so very much and love the warmth I feel telling you so 🌹
        Have a gentle sojourn into dreamland sweet lady 😌 💤

        Liked by 1 person

      3. And I enjoy and love the way you express your warmth 💟 🙏 With your words, I’m sure to have not only a gentle but also a lovely sojourn into dreamland! Yet before that let me wish you a wonderful day 🙌

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It always is a wonderful day when our paths cross … in emotive word tumbles – whether composition or phrases of warm connection. 🌹❤️ for the sleepy Princess …

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I know that you are an exceptional poet, and now I see the full range of your abilities. You are a Wordsmith, crafting each and every word into things of power and beauty. Do you fully realize how talented you are Isha? This story captured me, moved me, created wonderful images in my mind, worried me, made me smile, made me cheer for her, and in the end, made me feel her sadness and grief. There are very few writers here that can capture my attention like that. You, my dear friend, are a treasure. You are a Writer, a Poet, an Artist and a Creator. ☺💛

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m swept away with emotion and can imagine you going through a vast range of your own while reading this. You call me a creator, Walt… I don’t think anyone has ever said that before. I’m overpowered with gratitude for this feedback coming from a writer of your caliber… and don’t know what to say, but thank-you… 💛🙏🌸

    Like

  4. I loved the vivid descriptions and imagery here. I could feel her pain so clearly, it was almost like I am right beside her. This is a great one ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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