The Prince and the fire.

Once upon a time there was a prince that dearly loved a princess that loved him too until one day she died.

The prince was inconsolable. His sorrow was so great that in his presence no fire would burn any more.
When he would sit with one of the big fires in the castle, it would extinguish. In his presence no banquet could be enjoyed anymore in the merry light of candles.
Of course, in the beginning everybody felt sorrow for him, but soon his presence started to annoy his company, especially at night when there was a need for the light and the warmth of fire.

Thus, on a day, the prince decided to leave in search for a new beloved. He ordered a golden medallion to be made, with in it the portrait of the princess drawn by one of the best artists of the country.
He hired a large suite, and bought a caravan with horses, carriages and tents. His journey took many years and he met many beautiful young women, some very rich, some very poor, that felt great love for him. But his sorrow stayed; and it stayed so strong that even the fires he lit in these women extinguished very fast. Moreover, his suite started to decay. The food in the caravan was often cold, sometimes horses had to be sold because the smith couldn't forge new shoes for them. The day came that the last of his suite left him and some time after that he finally had to leave his own horse because it went limp.

On foot he arrived at the see, where he sat on a cliff for a long time, the medallion in his hand, staring at the waves. There laid his sorrow: uncountable salt tears, in waves as he felt them inside. The see seemed to ask him something, as it came towards him , yet at the same time pointed to the far horizon and he decided to follow her.
In a port he took ship. To pay the fare he had to part with the gold medallion, the last bit of richness that he had left. The portrait he took out, he pressed it against his lips, and to prevent himself from losing it, he ate it.

On the ship he was given a hammock, on the front deck near the bow, as far away as possible from the steam engine that drove the ship. After some months of navigation that hardly seemed to bring them closer to the horizon, the ship was caught in a storm and the prince was in danger to be flushed off the deck. The captain had him brought in, but immediately the fire under the engine started to die. The prince understood that there was no other way for him then to abandon ship although the captain was terrified by the idea and insisted that he would take back the medallion if he did so.
The prince was set overboard in a small sloop, that filled quickly by the stormy sea and sunk.

Not long after this he was washed ashore on an island that did not consist of much more than an active volcano. The locals that found him had great admiration for the medallion and gave him shelter and care.

Life was hard on the island. Every once in a while streams of red-hot lava would come down the slope which forced one to leave homes and farmland to move to another part of the island that had just cooled.
Because of the outbursts of the volcano, there was nearly always storm around the island, preventing any ship from landing to take the inhabitants away and nearly everybody on the island therefore was in some way descendent of some castaway.

Not long after the prince washed ashore, for the first time within living memory the sun broke through the clouds around the top of the volcano. Filled with awe they beheld the pillar of fire that erupted from the top and the streams of red-hot stone along the mountain slopes. As usual, they started to pack their house-holds for leaving, but the lava congealed and came to a standstill. Then they saw how the prince climbed to the top, to the edge of the volcano, and how the pillar of fire slowly shrunk and disappeared.

In the following months the island totally changed appearance. The sun remained in the days, in the night it would rain. Grass started to grow all over the mountain, and countless flowers colored the slopes. When the first birds arrived and proved ready to make their nests as well, only then the inhabitants dared to climb the mountain to look for the strange young man. But they found nothing, besides the gold medallion. They brought it down from the mountainside and gave it a place in a small chapel, where it is until this day.

M.J. Trapman,

Index Writing