Rated: E · Fiction · Children's · #762921
A fairy-tale of high adventure and magical dreams
The Princess And The Great Rainbow
Far, far away, where rainbows are born beneath a huckleberry sky, there lived a beautiful young Princess named, Rebecca. She had violet eyes, the shade of purple rose petals, and long blond hair that framed a beautiful face where two hiding dimples lived but could only be seen whenever she smiled. She was kind and friendly to everyone she met, and had a special way with people that just made them want to love her and call her their own.
But even as happy as Rebecca was, her father, the King, was very sad. He longed for Rebecca to have a mother to teach her the things that he could not, and prayed for someone to come into his life to help raise the Princess and rule the kingdom by his side.
Rebecca knew what her father wanted, and one night, while deep in sleep, she dreamed of a beautiful young woman with flaming orange hair, and a smile that looked as if it had been painted on a face as white as snow. In the dream, Rebecca saw that the woman lived on the very top of the Great Rainbow that covered all the sky. When the princess awoke, she knew in her heart this beautiful lady of her dreams would be the new Queen.
Being a princess, Rebecca had many wondrous toys, and her favorite was a little red car decorated with precious stones and gems. With it, she drove in and around the castle grounds greeting everyone. The car had no motor because those did not exsist in all the Kingdom, but it did have peddles that she pumped with her little legs to make the car move. People marveled at the toy, and when the sun shone directly onto the diamond studded wheels, blinding flashes of color glittered everywhere.
It was in this car, and on this morning, that the little Princess peddled out of the castle gates in search of the path that led to the magnificent Great Rainbow and the woman that lived there. Rebecca knew she wasn’t suppose to leave the confines of the castle alone, but her desire to make her father happy spurred her on into the surrounding wilderness. The outside castle walls flashed with beams of color from the little red car as the Princess drove over the distant hills disappearing behind a stand of tall pines.
As she drove on, searching for the entrance to the Great Rainbow, Rebecca came across a beautiful young woman pushing a small cart full of delicious home-baked pies. The smell of the scrumptious pastries reminded the Princess that she hadn’t yet eaten breakfast, and she stopped to talk to the gentlewoman.
“Good morning, Baker," she said. "How fair thee, this fine morning?”
The attractive young lady, seeing who it was that addressed her, fell to one knee and bowed her head out of respect. “Oh, Your Majesty! Why are you traveling alone in these dark woods? They are filled with robbers, thieves, and much worse. Have you never heard stories of the evil witch, Sara, that lives in these parts?”
“I thought that was only a story," she said, "told to frighten little children at bedtime. Please, rise, kind baker-woman and tell me your name?”
“I am Carisa, Your Majesty, daughter of William, the King’s own personal baker, and I carry these fresh apple pies to the court of the King himself.”
“Perhaps you can help me then, Carisa, for I am in search of the entrance to the Great Rainbow. Can you tell me where it may be found?”
“Oh, yes, young Princess! Far to the north there sits the Unclimbable Mountain, and stretched across its highest peak are the gates to the Great Rainbow which is said to be beautiful beyond compare. But it is a very dangerous journey, Princess, and would take two whole days to reach it. Where are the King’s soldiers to aid you on your quest?”
Rebecca put her finger to her lips, “Shhh . . .” she whispered. “This is a secret mission, and no one must know where I am going. I am going to find father a Queen, and me, a mother.”
The young woman smiled knowingly, and gave the princess a little wink. "A nobel quest indeed, m'lady." Then, as an after-thought, she offered one of her pies. “It is a very long way, Princess, perhaps this pie will help keep the hunger away. But please, if you must go, remember...beware of the witch!”
Rebecca took the wonderful smelling pie and put it in the seat next to her. Then she removed a diamond from the front wheel and gave it to the baker’s daughter. “I promise to be careful,” she said. “Please accept this diamond as a gift for your kindness.”
Carisa thought the princess was playing, but now she understood that this was not a child’s game, and that the Princess was very serious about what she intended to do. It was then that the baker’s daughter became very worried for the heir to the throne and fell to her knees begging her not to go. “Please, Princess! Come back with me to the castle! Let the King help you in this task.” She grabbed Rebecca’s hand and pressed it to her cheek, pleading with her. “There are very dangerous things that live outside the castle walls. Strange creatures and evil magic that you know nothing about.”
“You have been very helpful, Carisa,” Rebecca said, looking deep into the woman’s eyes. “I believe that you would make an excellent queen yourself. Your beauty is beyond compare and you have a heart as pure as gold. But I had a dream last night about a woman who would become the next Queen, and I must search her out. Please, promise me this . . . .”
“Yes, Your Highness?”
“Promise me, you will not tell my father that you have seen me. Or where it is I have gone.”
Carisa bowed her head. “Please m'lady, do not make me promise this! Come with me. It is much too dangerous for you."
"Promise!" Rebecca demanded.
Slowly, she nodded her head. "I promise, Princess,” she said, reluctantly. “And I thank you for the diamond! It is enough to buy 500 pies and more! Bless you, and may God keep you safe from harm.”
The Princess then said good-bye and followed the road north for several hours until its winding path finally came to a halt at the edge of the forest. Just ahead, beyond the woods stood the mountains, and jagged rocks and boulders appeared to stand guard over their bigger relatives above. It would be impossible for Rebecca to continue any further in her car.
The night was approaching quickly, but Rebecca did not feel alone. She looked up toward the Unclimbable Mountain, reaching so high into the sky, and could just make out a large rainbow draped over its tallest peak like a warm colorful blanket extending down from heaven.
She lay down within a soft green meadow, watching the rainbow begin to fade in the darkening sky and eating some of her pie. The princess didn’t know when she had finally fallen asleep, but she did remember a most vivid dream about the lady with the flaming orange hair. In the dream, the woman was comforting her, rocking her gently in her arms, and singing a song that Rebecca remembered her mother used to sing.
“Hush a-bye, don’t you cry,
Go to sleep my little baby.
When you wake, you shall find,
All the pretty little ponies.”
She slept peacefully throughout the night.
When she awoke, she was surrounded by a small circle of stones that had not been there the night before.
“Halt! We ‘ave you surrounded!” said the tallest stone with a terrible French accent. “Geeve us your pie and we shall let you pass.”
The princess was startled. “Excuse me? Why, whatever do you mean? Rocks do not eat pie, nor do they have French accents!”
“We du too!” said the rock, defensively. “We are ze French Stones and we speak as well as any ‘uman! You have but to leesen carefully and you can hear us speak. Besides, eef the apple trees would grow close enough to us, we would have no need of your fragrant pie. But alas, zare roots do not like ze hard rocky earth, and ze trees stay far, far away from us, preferring to live in ze lush valleys and meadows. Last night we smelled your pie and decided we would take eet from you!”
“But you are no more than six-inches tall,” replied the Princess. “I am much bigger than you and can easily get away.” Rebecca sat up, and the circle of stones quickly rolled backwards.
“Hah-hah! I see we ‘ave made a minor oversight. You did not look so big a moment ago,” said the rock, sounding a bit less threatening. “But we still ‘ave you trapped wizzin our cir-kle. Zere eez no escape for you. Geeve us your pie!”
Rebecca smiled. “Perhaps we can come to some sort of an agreement.”
“Agreement? What du you mean? Are you suggesting le peace-treaty?”
“I am trying to reach the entrance to the Great Rainbow at the top of the mountain. If you help me, I will gladly give you my pie.”
“Hmmm . . .” thought the French rock. “How can we help you? It is very slow and tedious for us to roll up ze mountain. We much prefer to roll down at very high speeds.” The other stones agree wholeheartedly.
“I only require that you roll...out of the way,” said the Princess. “Then I may be able to drive my little red car up the Unclimbable Mountain.”
“First, geeve us your pie.”
Rebecca gave them what was left of her pie. The stones immediately jumped into the pie and rolled around within it until they were completely covered with the sticky, gooey filling. Then after large belches and burps of satisfaction, their leader rolled to the larger rocks and boulders that stood guard over the mountain and said something to them. Rebecca climbed inside her little red car just as the rocks began to slowly move out of the way. All the way up the mountainside, the boulders moved creating a small but passable road for the princess to travel upon.
“Thank you, my friends,” she hollered to them as she sped up the hill.
“No-no, zank you, you little ‘uman person,” shouted the French Stone. “Au revoir! Au revoir!”
Rebecca felt glad to once again be on her way toward the Great Rainbow. She could see its bright colors painted high across the morning sky.
As she peddled uphill, her legs began to tire, so she stopped to rest awhile. From the corner of her eye she thought she glimpsed someone hiding behind a large boulder just above her.
“Hello? Is someone there?”
A giant stone teetered, and then suddenly careened down the mountainside toward her. Rebecca moved out of the way as the large rock went thundering past. Small stones pelted her body as they chased their bigger brother down the hill. Rebecca, coughing and rubbing her eyes, tried to clear away the dirt and dust. She had received a small cut just at her hairline and a thin trail of blood dripped down onto her cheek.
“Oh, no, my poor car! My poor, poor car!”
Rebecca’s little red car was turned over on its side, and the front end had been dented by the boulder. She would have to walk the rest of the way.
The French Stones still kept a trail clear for her, but now the going was rough. She fell twice scraping her knees and dirtying her expensive clothes, but she did not cry. She looked up into the sky and saw the Great Rainbow. She was almost there.
“Who are you?” someone shouted. “Turn around and go back, before it is too late.” The voice echoed up and down the mountainside.
“I am the Princess Rebecca, and I am trying to reach the entrance to the Great Rainbow. Show yourself!”
A small figure dressed completely in black stepped out from the shadows. Then, darting in and out of the large boulders, the stranger danced down the hill. Rebecca noticed the person was amazingly agile, performing flips and somersaults easily from one rock to the next, and then executed a series of flying leaps, landing directly in front of the Princess. It was a girl. A dark hood covered the lower part of her face so that just her blue-green eyes were visible. Slowly, she removed the hood, revealing a full head of curly brown hair.
“Hello, Your Majesty!” she said, bowing. “I am Amelia. Guardian of the Great Rainbow. And I warn you now, turn back from your quest, before it is too late.”
“But, you’re a girl! How can you be a guard? I thought that was a man’s job. Please, won’t you help me? I am looking for a woman with flaming orange hair and a face that always smiles.”
“You do not understand, Princess. I may appear as a young girl but I am very old and only stay young as long as I remain upon the Unclimbable Mountain. You believe you are searching for this woman, but in truth, she is seeking you. And that is why I pushed the large stone down upon you. I wanted to scare you off. I tried, but failed. You must listen to me! You do not want to meet this person. She is dangerous!”
“What do you mean? You say she is seeking me? She must know who I am!” Rebecca became very excited. It was all coming true, just like her dream. She felt so close to the end of her journey.
“She knows you well, Your Highness. Even now, she awaits you.”
“She awaits me? How wonderful! Please, tell me how do I reach the top of the rainbow?”
“It is my duty to protect the entrance to the Great Rainbow. You may not pass unless you can answer the three riddles.”
“Riddles? Oh, I am not very good at riddles.”
“That could bode badly for you, Princess. Follow me if you dare.”
Rebecca followed, but the girl in black was so light on her feet that the Princess had trouble keeping up. Finally, they approached a large iron gate, and on the other side was the entrance to the Great Rainbow.
“My advice to you, Princess, is to turn around and go back. For now I must ask you the three riddles. If you can not answer them, I will be forced to throw you off the mountain. I have no wish to harm you, but that is my charge and task. Do you still desire to pass?”
“I have come so far, Amelia. I cannot stop now.”
“So be it. Here is the first riddle then --
I am always hungry,
I must always be fed,
The finger I lick
Will soon turn red.
What am I?”
“I’ve heard that one before,” said the princess. “The answer is...fire!”
“Correct! Good for you. Now here is the second riddle. Think hard, because the wrong answer could mean your death.”
Rebecca swallowed. “I am ready.”
“I hope so, Princess --
It is all about you, but cannot be seen
It can be captured, but never held,
No throat to speak, but can be heard.
What am I?”
“I remember my mother telling me that one once,” Rebecca said. “Oh, but it was so long ago. What was it now...oh, yes...the wind!”
“Correct again, Princess! You have but one more to answer. But you still have time to withdraw. Please consider forfeiting. There is no shame in yielding, Princess. What lies beyond this gate could be far worse than any riddle I may ask.”
“Ask me the riddle, so that I may see my quest to its end.”
“Very well, then --
If you break me, I do not stop working.
If you touch me, I may be snared.
If you lose me, nothing else will matter.
What am I?”
Rebecca thought of her father. How quiet he had become after the death of the Queen. It was as if nothing mattered to him anymore. His heart was broken forever.
“You must answer, Princess. Time is short.”
“A heart! The answer is a heart!”
Rebecca heard the iron gate noisily swing open.
“You have done it, Princess! You may now pass.”
Rebecca felt her spirits lift and a new energy coursed through her body. She stepped forward and set her feet onto the rainbow path. It shimmered as though it were nothing more than sunlight, but it’s texture turned solid with each step she took.
“Remember, Princess, beyond this gate is a whole new land. And like the world we live in now, there is good, and there is bad. Listen to your heart, Princess, and trust no one.”
“Thank you, Amelia. You have been more than kind to me. I wish there were something I could give you in return.”
“Just come back safe, Your Highness, that will be reward enough. Good luck to you now. And may all your dreams come true.”
Rebecca said her farewells, then began her climb to the top of the rainbow.
The rainbow road broadened as she walked along and there were many multi-colored flowers and trees stretched along either side of the path. She noticed what appeared to be an apple tree, but it had apples the like of which Rebecca had never seen before; every color imaginable swirled across its ever-changing skin. She picked one and bit into it. Never had she tasted anything to compare to such a wondrous flavor. She picked another and put it in her pocket for later.
She could see blue sky above and below as she neared the top and puffy white clouds that floated all around as if dangling from invivsible strands. Some she walked through, but others looked solid enough to sit upon. Rebecca did not try it though, because the clouds kept moving across the sky and she did not want to be carried off into the heavens.
The rainbow itself was like something from out of a dream. Whatever band of color that she walked upon, turned her that color. If she stood upon the red band, her skin and clothes would also be red. And when she walked across the road, she changed into every color of the rainbow that she stepped upon. The effect was like seeing a kaleidoscopic dance of light from a perfectly cut diamond.
“Everything is so beautiful here. I wish that I could stay forever.”
“Perhaps you can, Princess Rebecca.”
Startled, the princess spun around to see the woman of her dreams. But she was not as beautiful as Rebecca had dreamed she’d be; in fact, she was old and haggard looking. She wore the costume of a court jester; one half green, and the other a bright purple. Her face looked overly white because it was completely caked with white make-up; and her smile too was painted on with the reddest of red lipsticks. A single blue tear had been added to her left cheek, giving her face the impression of an unhappy clown. Her orange hair flew all about her as the wind blew past, but it now looked more like a bad wig than her actual hair.
“Oh! Hello...you frightened me,” said said. “Are you who I think you are?”
“Yes, child. I am the woman you have dreamt about these past few days. The lady of your dreams who will take her rightful place as the new Queen. I have been expecting you, Your Majesty.” She lifted her arms out toward Rebecca. “Come! Give your new mother a great big hug.”
Rebecca felt sickened, and refused to approach the ugly old woman. “No! You can’t be!” she yelled, backing away. “My dreams were of a beautiful young lady. Not an old crone like you dressed for a masquerade ball. Who are you?”
“You have not guessed?” she asked, coming forward. “I gave you those dreams with my magic. It was an easy thing to do since your innocent mind and heart were already so open and so easily deceived. I know what you so dearly desire, Princess. You long for your mother, the Queen. You wish to bring happiness back into your father’s life. I know all these things, and more. A young child like yourself, is easily tricked by someone like me.” The hag waved her arm in a circular motion and Rebecca’s feet felt frozen in place. “I will be Queen! You’re father and everyone around him, will see me as a lovely young woman. I will take control of the entire Kingdom and there will be no one to stop me -- for I am the witch Sara!” She cackled like a chicken that has just lain an egg, then quickly swept the princess up into her arms and magically slid down the rainbow toward the gated entrance.
Rebecca wanted to scream, but could not. She desperately tried to move, but her body was paralyzed. She could do nothing but watch as the witch swiftly carried her down the rainbow with her flaming orange hair flowing behind her like a wicked flag heralding the coming of great evil.
The princess saw the iron gate as they approached, and standing motionless in the middle of the road was Amelia, the Guardian of the Great Rainbow. She held a long staff in both hands and from the look upon her face, Rebecca knew she meant to hold her ground and do battle with the witch.
“Out of my way, girl! You’re no match for me!” But as she barreled down upon the guardian, thinking to run her over, Amelia did a quick flying leap at the very last instant, and smacked her staff down upon the witch’s hand.
Witch Sara shrieked out in pain and dropped the Princess upon the rainbow path.
Rebecca tumbled down the mountainside, no longer frozen from Sara’s spell, faster and faster she rolled, until finally coming to a stop near her little red car.
Rebecca instinctively jumped to her feet. Above her, she saw the witch and Amelia in a fight to the death. Bolts of energy shot out from the Sara's fingertips, only to explode upon empty ground where Amelia had once stood. Rebecca stood and stared, transfixed by the battle. In a forward somersault, Amelia, landed next to the witch and struck her a vicious blow to the head with her staff, but it shattered into little pieces as the sorceress suddenly reached out and grabbed the guardians arm. Then in one swift movement, she lifted the guardian, and threw her off the face of a cliff.
“No!” Rebecca screamed, but it was too late. The witch turned toward Rebecca now, and in a maddening frenzy charged down the hillside toward her.
The Princess frantically searched the ground in front of her for some type of weapon she could use. She grabbed a rock and was about to throw it...
“Wait! Do not throw me you silly ‘uman gerl!” It was the French Stone. “We ‘ave fixed ze car. Get in! Get in! Flee for your life!”
Rebecca looked at her car. It was sitting upright and in perfect condition.
“Hurry, you fooel!”
The princess jumped into the front seat of the car with the rock still in her hand and started peddling.
"She iz gaining on us! Hurry! Hurry!”
Rebecca was too afraid to turn around and look. She pumped her little legs for all they were worth. The rocks moved out of the way for her; clearing a smooth path to the bottom of the mountain, and even as she passed them, they closed in again, making it hard for the witch to follow.
She could see the edge of the forest, and waiting at the foot of the mountain on a stallion of pure white, was the King with all his soldiers.
Rebecca felt her heart would leap from her chest. “Daddy! Daddy!” she screamed. The little red car shot down the mountainside.
“She eez almost upon us! Du something! Quick!”
“I’m going as fast as I can!”
Suddenly, the front tire made a loud pop and the car spun out of control. It twirled down the mountain finally coming to a stop with the front of the car facing uphill. Rebecca saw the witch almost upon her.
“Throw me! Throw me at her!”
As hard as she could, Rebecca threw the rock at the witch. The French Stone miraculously hit the Sara right between the eyes, and she stumbled
At that moment, every stone, rock and boulder on the mountain, rolled toward her. They piled themselves, one on top of the other, until they had buried the witch under a ton of solid rock.
The witch was never seen, nor heard from again.
Rebecca was joyously greeted by her father and the triumphant cheers of his men. The King quickly swooped her up into his arms and hugged and kissed her until she thought she would burst from happiness.
“Oh, father, what a fool I was. I followed a false dream that nearly cost me my life.” She sadly looked at the pile of stones, a fitting monument, she thought, and a reminder of everyone that had risked their lives to save hers.
“It is over now,” said the King. “You are safe with me, and that is all that matters.”
Rebecca reached into her pocket and pulled out the apple she had picked upon the Great Rainbow. Digging a hole with the toe of her dirty shoe, she placed the apple inside and covered it again.
Rebecca thought of Amelia, who had made the ultimate sacrifice. “May God bless this place with an orchard of rainbow apple trees. So that all who see it, will know of the great sacrifice and deeds done here today.”
She sadly looked up toward the top of the mountain and caught a glimpse of a figure clad in black waving at her. Rebecca waved back, tears pooling in her eyes, and felt overjoyed that the guardian still lived. She watched as the girl turned and limped back up the mountainside.
The King grabbed his daughter around her small waist and set her atop his white stallion. Carisa, the beautiful baker’s daughter, rode up to her astride the late Queen’s favorite horse. The King gently squeezed her hand and look upon her adoringly.
“I’m sorry I broke my promise to you, Princess,” Carisa said. “But when someone's life is in danger, some promises have to be broken, and I told the King where you had gone." She smiled then. "But I will never break another promise to you again for as long as we both shall live, happily-ever after.”