When you have a dream, you must protect it.
"Now you can recognize the signs your angel spoke about," chimed the tears who rocked gently to a melody of the wind.
"My angel?" the little prince was astounded. "But you cannot see my angel."
"There you're right, but with a bit of luck we can hear him," the tears replied.
"I don't believe that." The prince shook smiling his head and asked the wind: "Do you believe the tears?"
"Why not?" granted the wind. "The tears know that you should look out for signs to find your way. So they must have heard something. Why don't you just ask the tears how they were able to hear your angel. Maybe I can learn something in addition," smirked the wind who was always ready to pick up something to spread around.
"Be good enough, my dear tears, and tell me how you can hear my angel," pleaded the prince, eagerly awaiting the answer.
"Well, it's like this," said the tears turned to crystal drops while making a ray shine through their bodies. "It's the energy spheres. They let us know everything that goes on in the outside world."
"So that's what it is, it's the energy spheres on which you eavesdrop?" asked the wind, curious as always.
"Well, we wouldn't put it that way," the tears clinked and chuckled. "But it's true. We hear everything through the energy spheres. Since humans let their dreams and wishes rise into the heavens, all thoughts and memories are mirrored in the memory of our world."
"How come our dreams rise to the heavens? They could also hide because they want to remain secret, couldn't they?" the prince was unable to hold back his curiosity.
But only the sunlight can endow it with a soft green and that's why the seed puts all its energy into gaining the light. Thoughts and ideas too want to grow and flourish. Their lives, too, depend on the sunlight and, like the seed, they strive for the upper reaches. That's why the energy spheres swathe everything you hold dear, and which you call gold dust, in sunlight to protect and nourish it. This is how tears can grow strong and powerful. Believe us," tooted the tears, "your dreams, your gold dust want only one thing: to grow in order to come true. But whether dreams come true and wishes are fulfilled, only heaven knows. But the road to the heavens is arduous. Many sprouts along the way compete with each other for the light. That's why a dream that is ambitious needs, just as a seed, countless sun rays. Some pursue their dreams for a very long time. They never lose faith that the day will come when their dearest wish will be fulfilled. They never give up hope that it will all end well. For this they give all their love to this dream to lift it to the light. For faith, love, and hope are the ingredients that make wishes ripen." Aron was flabbergasted.
"And that's the way it is with all your dreams, with your wishes and ideas, with the good thoughts, the irreplaceable gold dust. The more you send up into heaven, the better. For some of these higher and higher," the wind now made clear his positive side.
The prince had never heard before that gold dust played such an important role in the lives of his people. The wind too blew into his cheeks signaling surprise, only to turn back to listen some more to the tears' account.
"Energy spheres (1) look like gleaming soap bubbles when they fly through the air. Only high up in the sky does eternity breathe in the energy sphere of the humans as they are transformed forever into the great soul of the universe. It's a lot of fun to try and catch them. Even though the energy spheres are very shy, on occasion, with a lot of skill, we do manage to grasp one. We then press it tight against the ear and listen. At first there is a rushing sound as in a seashell. But then one can hear word fragments and voices becoming clearer. And that's how we learn everything about the world. It's a beautiful game," the tears kept on chatting and clinking endlessly.
The little prince was quite impressed. "That's really incredible."
"I've seen these energy spheres flying around on occasion. But it never occurred to me to catch one and to listen to it," the wind conceded. His surprise almost turned into anger about having overlooked such a wonderful pastime. But his air spirits calmed down before they exploded. He didn't want to annoy the tears by any means. For some reason, they seemed to exercise a magic spell over him.
"Where exactly did you see the energy spheres?" the prince, who had never seen a single energy sphere, questioned the wind.
"You can find them in the sky, very high up in the sky. It's probably their protection since they are so shy."
"But there are days when the wind really gives it to his spirits and then everything whirls through the air and the energy spheres are pushed down to earth. That's our opportunity," the tears rubbed their hands. "Then all we have to do is reach for them."
"Who would have thought? My breeze furthers the transport of human wishes and dreams." I'm a good sort after all. With this talent, I have one up on the lilies, he thought, reveling in self-praise.
"I had no idea about the service I'm doing you," the wind fawned over the jingling crystal bodies, eager to extract a word of praise from them.
"With your volatile temperament we don't have to wait long for you to push one or the other energy sphere our way," the tears scorned. This time the wind didn't complain for he liked the idea of being volatile. Thus it didn't come to a quarrel and the prince, accompanied by the wind, got ready to return to the sun palace.
The sun coat of arms beamed at Aron already from far away. It was thanks to a whim of his father to have the sun palace built in such a way that from a certain angle the sun rays would reproduce the image of the sun on the shiny, royal blue wall. As the prince, the sun coat of arms in view, reached the palace, which he entered through the golden blue marble blocks of the entrance portal, he first took off his well-traveled boots. His feet were hurting him. Even though the journey had been long, it had paid off. For the first time in a long time, Aron felt untroubled. No longer was his heart stuck in his chest like a stone. As if it had grown wings, it leapt with glee because it no longer felt melancholic.
The official for velvet and silk greeted him with pursed lips. Sometimes he was so urbane that he even had trouble speaking. The official took the boots and handed the prince his black velvet shoes, decorated with tiny suns.
Aron snapped the shoes from his hand and ran to the castle pond to soothe his feet in the cool water.
"What do you know, seeing you around," the prince greeted his cat. "Where have you been keeping yourself all this time?"
"I lost my way," Miss Monti tried an excuse.
"At least you did remember where your home is. I'm glad," Prince Aron teased the cat. "What's his name?" he enraged his cat. Of course, he knew his cat all too well. There were times when she'd rather hang out with the village alley cats than live at the castle.
"Why don't you leave me alone and cool your feet," the cat said irritated.
When Aron immersed his feet in the water, it sizzled.
"That feels good," moaned the sun prince. The cat sat next to him at the edge and furrowed her brow. "How can you like water," she asked as a water spray hit her. Aron had purposely been splashing around with his feet to douse Miss Monti. Water shy as cats are, she shook herself vigorously. Aron laughed: "You are really water shy."
"Just like you," Miss Monti retorted. "Just think of your cat's licks in the morning."
"Come on, I didn't mean it that way," Aron made up with his cat. He held out his hand which she accepted with a touch of her paw.
"Lie down next to me. The sun will dry your fur." No need to tell Miss Monti twice.
Aron blinked into the sun and lovingly stroked the sun amulet on his left wrist. He thought of his father and missed him terribly. Aron would have like to talk with him.
Just then, a swan (1) (2) (3) (4) family swam, proud and charming, over the calm surface of the castle pond. The mother was leading the fleet. At the center were five cygnets, protected by the father who made up the rear of the column. Aron watched the swan family with fascination. Suddenly, the little feather balls crawled onto their swan mama's back because their little legs were tired from all the paddling, and they nestled in her wing feathers as in a warm muff.
"Look at this, Monti, the swan chicks have it made."
But the cat just purred blithely in the sun. Swans left her cold.
"How are you?" the prince called out to the swans.
"You can see for yourself. We have parents who help and shield us, who introduce us to the world and teach us how to survive," the cygnets tweeted all at once, full of praise to be blessed with such good parents.
"And we have children we love to see grow up. We keep together as a family all our lives," replied the proud mama swan. "We are lucky."
"This is a sign," Aron burst forth. Finally, something had appeared from inside of him that had been hidden all this time. An overwhelming thought took hold. "These swans are a sign," he said to Miss Monti, who was still asleep. At this moment, the prince knew that he wished for nothing more in this world than a real family. Now that he had roused his cat, Miss Monti gave him a sly look from the corner of her eyes. Then she said: "I wouldn't want to be in your skin."
"What balderdash!" replied Aron who felt torn from his thoughts.
"Why don't we change places. You sweat in my fur coat while I sunbathe in your skin."
"Are you suffering from sunstroke?" Aron asked Miss Monti.
"Who knows. At any rate, I could pale with envy. Your skin gleams in the sun as if it had been powdered with gold dust. You give the impression of being the sun yourself," the cat fawned over her master.
"Thanks, I know that myself," was the prince's derisive answer. "But do you know the meaning of genuine gold dust?"
The cat shrugged indifferently.
"Having a real family that's the genuine gold dust no matter whether you are born a prince or a shepherd," retorted Aron, whose thoughts were still with his parents. "And besides, dear lady, I've never seen a naked cat."
Miss Monti stretched and arched her back before rolling up in a ball and mumbling in a huff: "Can't one make a joke around here?" The prince made no reply.
"Why don't you tell me more about the genuine gold dust," begged Monti. All she wanted was go back to sleep more quickly.
"In the valley of tears I heard about the energy spheres," the prince began by reaching further back.
"What do you mean by energy spheres and what do they have to do with genuine gold dust?" the cat raised her head annoyed. All she really wanted was being rocked to sleep but not with so much effort.
"Don't be so impatient. The tears told me that all our dreams, wishes, and hopes turn into energy spheres, which float through the air like soap bubbles," the prince aroused the cat's curiosity.
"That sounds good. Go on." The cat placed herself obediently next to the prince and rolled her tail over her front paws. "The energy spheres are the vessels in which we preserve our gold dust."
"Gold dust draws its energy from the sunlight. This energy is the basic force of all existing things. It gives our dreams the strength to come true. That's why energy spheres are like treasure chests which, filled with our most secret wishes, sail through the heavens. In them can be stored anything that seems so important and precious to us as gold dust. Every human being has his own gold dust, (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) a hope, a dream, or a wish that only has meaning for him. Every little piece of gold dust is part of the cosmos and worthy of being added to the great memory."
Miss Monti was astounded. "Then, the genuine gold dust inhabits the energy spheres. Or better yet-the energy spheres are the genuine gold dust."
"Not bad for a kitty cat," the prince pretended admiration for his cat. Monti ignored the irony. Her nap was long forgotten. Much too exciting was this story of energy spheres filled with gold dust and she pondered over how she might catch one. Her last trophy, a dead rat, was stored in Aron's toy chest. Now she wanted to place an energy sphere at his feet. It would go better with his toys than this rotten rat. The prince too was engrossed in his thoughts.
"Why, oh why, did my parents leave me alone?" he kept asking the same question and followed the swan family with his eyes. He too wanted to be held in his mother's arms. She should tell him the most beautiful fairy tales and love him very much.
From his father he wanted to learn horseback riding and fencing and everything he needed to know in life to become a good king.
But in reality he had always been alone even when his parents still lived in the castle. Never was their son of any importance to them. "Do you think my parents loved me?"
"The questions you ask! All parents love their children."
"Then they were really good at hiding their love from me."
"What's more important than to love one's child?" Aron questioned his cat. Miss Monti purred so loudly the swan father turned around to make sure no danger was threatening from the land.
"Do you remember last Christmas?" the prince asked his cat.
"Was it the Christmas when you asked your father for time," asked Miss Monti.
The cat laughed. "That was too funny."
As every year, Aron's father asked him for his wish list. But Aron didn't want the usual gifts. He always got what he wanted. But that wasn't what was on his mind. He told his father: "My wish list isn't ready yet. Do you know how to draw a picture of time?"
"What made you think of that?" asked his father.
"Because this year I have a very special wish. My wish from you is time. Time which we spend together."
"But my boy," his father replied. "Time is an invisible eternity that trickles away ceaselessly. Time is not like a rocking horse. A rocking horse can be a gift, not so time."
"And yet, you could give me more time if you only wanted to," protested the son. "My wish is to get time, time to be with you."
"Aron, don't be ungrateful," his father reprimanded him. "The nannies and the teacher take care of your education. If you want to, you can speak with us if we are not occupied with more urgent business."
Then he received the usual mountains of Christmas gifts and a rocking horse, but no time with his parents.
While the sun prince ruminated thus, he thought: "What wouldn't I give in this world to hear the sound of their voices once more." He wanted to preserve the memory of his parents. Just then he suddenly heard the voice of his angel: "Draw a picture of your parents as you carry it in your heart, and you will never forget them."
"Thank you, my dear angel," Aron called after the fainting little bell.
"What's up?" Miss Monti looked at the prince with her lamp-like eyes. "Are you all right?"
Aron jumped up with joy. "Wish official!" he called out. "I wish a canvas and paints." And there they were with the blink of an eye: the easel with a canvas, paints, and a brush. The sun was shining. Before the prince's eyes lay the castle pond and the cat next to him. Aron was very happy. "I'll tell you about my angel some other time. Right now I'm very busy. Go back to sleep, Monti."
The cat didn't have to be told twice. The prince painted a picture of his parents the way he had always wished them to be: his father courageous and resolute, teaching him to fight, riding on horseback, and fencing with a sword; his mother with a kindly mien, telling him the most adventurous tales in which elves, fairies, and goblins from the great book of fairy tales come alive and float through the room. The prince glowed with excitement from the effort as he beheld the picture.
"It's a masterpiece," he heard the angel's voice. "Now you will carry the image of your parents in your heart forever just as they carry your picture in their heart. You belong together always. Your parents are in you and you are in them. And now go and follow your heart." Aron rejoiced. Once again he was filled with joy and he sensed exactly what needed to be done.
"Up on your feet," he ordered Miss Monti. "There's loads of work to be done and you can help me."
The cat dozed in the searing heat of the sun. "Just go ahead, if you have that much to do. I'll catch up with you later," Miss Monti tried to persuade the prince.
"No excuses, you lazy little bum. We'll go together."
Miss Monti sighed, jumped up, and scampered after Aron. Back at the palace, Aron immediately called his wish official.
"I've heard about these energy spheres, which are supposed to be as light as air bubbles. I'd like to have this picture," he said, unrolling the canvas, "safeguarded in an energy sphere."
At this very instant, the king, the queen, the horse, the sword, the book of fairy tales, the elves, the fairies, and the hobgoblins, all flowed off the canvas and into an energy sphere. The wish official stretched out his hand and presented him with the sphere containing everything that was most important (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) to the prince. Aron held the memory of his parents toward the sunlight. Now he would never forget them.
"Isn't a happy family for us all as rare as the finest gold dust?" the prince asked his wish official.
"That's outside the realm of my responsibilities. I fulfill wishes and that twenty-five hours a day." The irony in his voice was clearly audible. "Ask the official for good thoughts."
"Never mind," the prince said dismissively. He had achieved everything he wanted. His most ardent wish was clearly visibly stored in the energy sphere. Now all would be well.
"Wonderful!" Miss Monti's eyes sparkled with excitement. The cat was thrilled. "I've never seen anything like this," she said, turning the sphere over on all sides. The sunlight was refracted on the protective casing of the energy sphere and sparkled in the colors of the rainbow. Overcome with emotion, the cat put the little miracle back into the hands of the prince.
Aron, for his part filled with joy, pressed the translucent sphere against his ear. A rushing sound was heard. The tears were right. Then the voices came closer, ever closer. And suddenly he heard his mother. It was really her voice. The prince was startled. She called out: "Solino, help us, my little sun. Rescue us." Then he heard his father: "Ozelot keeps us imprisoned. Don't come here. The black forces will defeat you. You are no match for them. The realm of darkness is replete with black thoughts. It is too dangerous for you. The evil one will lead you into temptation every step of the way. You might break the rules. Then you will never see us again. Please don't come here, I beg you."
It seemed to Aron that his mother was crying bitter tears. "It's so cold and dark. I miss you. . ." His mother's voice broke off in pain and fell completely silent. But in reality the prince heard his parents' thoughts, not their voices. Aron was beside himself. Anger and relief rose in him simultaneously. He had finally received a sign of life from his parents. So they hadn't abandoned him after all. The treacherous Ozelot had abducted the rulers of Nubia. For the first time in his life, the sun prince knew what he want and that with all his heart: to bring his parents back home at any cost. His father's warning went unheeded. next