A modern fairy tale.
Thence, beyond this time, in a far away land, on a planet much like ours, lived a vengeful orange coloured king with yellow hair named Oswald who ruled his people with a heavy hand. Laws laid down by his forefathers over many years no longer held sway having been revoked by Oswald and his carefully chosen courtiers. The people were unhappy, but spent their whole time devising ways to make the king happy because in that way he might be persuaded to turn his attention to those from other countries, who were also frightened by him. King Oswald lived in a fortress with his wife Queen Emeralda, his two sons, Prince Victor and Prince Wyn and his daughter, Princess Lusha.Every person in the land secretly hated him but were too scared to do anything about it. Even his wife could not find anything to love about him. Queen Emeralda would always wear a painted smile when ever Oswald looked in her direction, but inside she was sad and almost broken. Prince Victor adopted the same traits as his father, listened to nobody, believed he was as big a genius as King Oswald professed himself to be. Prince Wyn was different. He read books and understood the needs and feelings of the people.One day King Oswald overheard Prince Wyn and Princess Lusha in the garden.’I wish I knew how to make our father behave better. He is so cruel to everybody and everywhere I go people are sad and poor. If I were king I would change things. I have ideas from the old manuscripts I found in the crypt. Lusha, there is a better way, Life was once so much happier.”How do you mean happier?’ asked the princess.’In the days before our grandfather there lived a golden dragon who ruled the world with peace and wisdom, all the peoples of the planet loved each other.”What happened?’ she asked.’The dragon was summoned to another galaxy where there was much trouble and strife. He left our grandfather in charge because he was a kind man and all was well until his death when our father took over and brought cruelty into the role of kingship.’King Oswald, angered at hearing this from his youngest son, turned a deeper shade of orange. He leapt out of a hedge, eyes blazing like hot coals. He shouted at his son,’How dare you speak of me, your father, your one true king, in such a disrespectful manner. I am minded to have you locked away in a cold dark dungeon for the rest of your life.’ He bellowed ‘Guards, guards, come here immediately.’Two royal guards rushed forward. He ordered them to seize the young prince. Princess Lusha began to cry. She loved her brother dearly, with a tremulous voice she said,’Please don’t lock Wyn up father, I beg you, let him free.’The king looked at his daughter, then at the young prince and he said,’This is your punishment, I banish you from this kingdom, you shall be transported to the other side of this world where you must stay, never to return. Guards, take him to the harbour, put him on the next ship with the other deportees.’As the guards took Prince Wyn away, Princess Lusha thanked her father for being merciful.Life continued under King Oswald’s rule in much the same way, The people became more miserable as the King extracted larger taxes than ever. Oswald started wars just for the sake of being able to boast about how powerful he was, but, of course, he was no warrior. He was above combat being so intelligent and clever and, therefore, could not be put into harms way because the people could not do without him. He organised bigger and bigger displays of his might and power with grand parades and colourful tournaments in his honour that everyone in the land were ordered to attend.After six months Prince Wyn arrived in the most inhospitable land in his fathers territory. He had only the clothes he stood up in and no money. His only possession was a gold ring in the shape of a winged dragon given to him by his grandmother. Eventually he found poorly paid work as a stable lad and boarded with the horses. This suited him as he loved animals. By day he worked hard looking after large horses used for dragging logs out of the forest. By night he sat in a corner of the stable, writing poems for his sister and mother. One night as he slept on a straw pally-ass he dreamed a golden dragon appeared and said to him,’Prince Wyn, you must go into the world and let the people know that I am returning. I am a long way away at present  and I need a good person to prepare for my homecoming. Nearby you will find a boat builder called James Butt. Seek him out and ask him to build a special boat to take you home. Show him the ring I gave your grandmother that sits on your finger, he will be expecting such a sign. He will build you the finest dragon boat ever seen and you must sail straight home and stand in the square outside the fortress and read out a prophecy that you shall have written whilst Mr Butt builds the boat.”Will you be there?’ The Prince asked.’No but I will send a sign and all will start to change for the better before I arrive.’With that the dream ended and Prince Wyn awoke with sweat on his brow. The next morning he set off to seek out the boat builder. After two days he came to a small bay where he saw a single whitewashed stone cottage with a pile of lobster pots at one end and and a large open sided barn with a slipway down to the sea at the other. Inside the barn he spied a wooden bench covered with wood working tools and paint brushes and large hunks of pungent oakum. Nailed above the door of the Cottage a sign read James Butt, Master Shipwright. As he stood looking at the sign a broad man emerged from behind the lobster pots and said,’Who are you?”I am Prince Wyn and I have been asked to command that you build me a boat.”Asked to command have you? Well I don’t take a lot of notice of commands, I only build what I wants to build and when I wants to build. Why should I build for you?’The Prince was about to reply when the man’s eyes fell upon the glinting golden dragon ring as the Prince held his hand out to explain. He immediately took the young Prince and clasped him in a powerful embrace and said,’I have been expecting you for some considerable time, at last we’re going to get back to where we belong, away from the madness. Come inside, I’ve crab and lobster and fresh made bread a plenty, we’ve much to talk about before we start the work.’ The shipwright worked diligently for three months and Prince Wyn helped where he was needed, and in between times he set about writing the prophecy. Eventually the boat was ready and James Butt and Prince Wyn stood admiring their work. The  clinker built boat stood proud and sleek made from the finest juniper and cedar woods, and at the prow James had carved a magnificent dragon’s head and neck covered in sheets of gold leaf. Two giant rubies were placed in the eye sockets and they seemed to radiate a bright red light.  All was ready, they toasted each other’s fine work with cups of mead, and launched the craft into the sea. Prince Wyn carefully rolled up the vellum scroll on which he had written the prophecy and tucked it into his shoulder bag.’Will you come with me to my homeland James? I may need help with navigation, and besides I like your company very well.’ said Prince Wyn.”No I’ve much to do do here and besides, you will not need me now, the boat has magic properties, the Dragon Eyes will guide you home, all you need to do is let it lead you over the waves. Tarry no more young man, you’ve important work to do.’Once more the two men embraced and the Prince clambered aboard the boat. No sooner had he sat down on the bench at the stern when a strong wind blew up and the boat began to sail across the bay. Prince Wyn turned and waved at the shipwright on the jetty.The boat ploughed through the waves at an incredible speed and the Prince arrived home after only three and half months. A few merchants and sailors stood on the quayside as the dragon boat sailed majestically into the harbour and drew up alongside King Oswald’s Royal mooring. The small crowd immediately gathered alongside the magnificent craft and began talking about the strange light shining from the eyes. Prince Wyn threw a rope to one of the sailors and then pushed a gangplank out and sprang ashore. He spoke to the crowd in a steady voice, ‘I  am Prince Wyn, I have a message to deliver to the people, follow me to the square outside the main gate to the royal fortress.’A buzz of conversation spread amongst the gathering crowd as Prince Wyn headed purposefully from the harbour. A few young sailors ran ahead spreading the word that something important was about to happen. By the time he arrived a large crowd had gathered and there was quite a lot of noise as more came running to hear what he had to say.King Oswald sat in his counting room with a cup of coffee as his Chancellor read out the latest figures from the treasury. Suddenly he heard a large cheer from outside his window and he turned to look down into the square. When he saw the large crowd he immediately ordered the royal guards to go down and disperse the unauthorised gathering. He dismissed the Chancellor and hurried to his main chamber where a balcony overlooked the square.Prince Wyn stood on the steps outside the Fortress with a crowd of more than three hundred gathered at his feet. The royal guard marched out and stood looking as the Prince unfurled his scroll. The crowd fell silent and he began to read,’Herewith find the prophecy of the return of the Golden Dragon. At first there will appear in the distance afar, a small twinkling bright shining golden star. No one will recognise this portentous sign, nor realise just how blindingly bright it will shine. As it gets closer there will be panic and fear and nobody will know what’s about to appear. Flying serenely on high, way, way up above, shimmering, sun like, with peace and with love. The richest, deepest, darkest, crimson most red is found at the very centre point of the heart. This is what makes it the true colour of love.The flickering flames tinged with the colour of love spilling with a terrifying sound from the Dragons golden lips will sweep majestically across the green swards of the land bringing the return of the very sweetest form of peace, where all the varied flags and pennants across the world will bow down in obeisance before the highest golden standard flying.  When all the women and children in the world will stop weeping and crying, when all men will lay their weapons down and all people shall join together hand in hand in hand, when all endeavour shall be turned towards the purification of the oceans, the cleansing of the air and the healing of the land. Then shall we know that the new age of the Golden Dragon has arrived and the beginning of the end of the misunderstood days of mistake has started and the making of true civilisation will, at last, have begun. Thus will be that great magical day when we behold that mystical beast imbued triumphantly with the strongest powers of peace and of love. Then shall we behold the true magnificence of The Golden Dragon. Thus prophesy I, Prince Wyn, true servant and devotee of the bringer of happiness, peace and love.’The crowd cheered mightily whilst at the same time King Oswald became angrier by the second, so angry that his skin had turned the colour of a tangerine. He rushed to the sill of the balcony and screamed at the Guards,’Arrest him, arrest him, he is a traitor and a false prophet, it’s all lies, there is no truth in what he says, the words he uses are fake, it’s all fake.’ The guards looked at him and then back at the crowds, many of whom they knew as their friends and family. They stood their ground not moving and clearly disobeying the Kings orders. King Oswald was apoplectic with rage, and he shouted again,’I am your king, you must obey, seize the traitor and bring him in to me now.’At that moment there began a total eclipse where the planet’s largest moon moved in front of the sun. The crowd became silent, King Oswald was dumbfounded, this was a significant omen. At the moment of totality the people looked up into the dark sky and there they could clearly see a twinkling speck of gold and they knew that the horrible years of austerity were finally coming to an end.  King Oswald was no fool, he ran inside the fortress, tried to persuade his wife that they had to leave now or else something terrible would befall them, but she refused and told him that if he left now he would have to go alone, Prince Victor was the only person who stood by him and together they rode out of the servants entrance of the fortress never to be seen again. Rumour had it that they lived in deep, impenetrable, forest where they raised pigs for the rest of their lives. Queen Emeralda and Princess Lusha came to the square as the moon moved across from the sun and the light flooded back into the world. Prince Wyn called them up onto the steps and the people cheered as he embraced them both. The Golden Dragon duly arrived one month later, to a forest of ancient flags and pennants that the people had saved for just such a day. Prince Wyn was appointed president after it was decided that there would never be a royal family ever again, and, as far as is known, there never has been since. The whole world lived forever and a day in perfect harmony.

Harry Rogers, In the writing hut, Aberbanc, revised 23rd September 2020.


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