THE MELANCHOLY PRINCE (XIX - XXI)
What unimaginably changes the Prince has found on the Wonderful Island and with who met him at the top of the mountain.
Once arrived around the island, the Prince and the Dragon didn't stop wondering that, almost nothing hat remained from marvels which welcomed them once; the lofty trees were now only some stumps blackened by fire and waters; instead of the silky grass which he loved so much, a layer of dried and cracked mud stretched out before him as far as his eyes could see; in the sky, a dry and cold wind was driving here and there heavy clouds of ash and only seldom you saw a scrap of clear sky or a bit of sun ray; the springs dried or transformed into dirty marshes full of miasmas and, here and there, from deep cracks like some sorrowful wounds the poisoned stems from depths bounced in the air, like a heavy breathing.
With great hardness, Prince found the Creek where he sobbing tears for his lost friend had hoarded. It remained only a thin trickle of string, and with its water hardly quenched the thirst of the few deers and birdies still living. They were weak, lean and fearful, and Prince and Princess diddn't cease to wonder what would had happened on the island that was once so beautiful.
Near that Creek, with sadness and anger in the soul, the Prince made a promise to revenge his friend and to punish those because of whom he had lost him.
Then he the Princess went along together the Dragon, which carried them over island into all parts, and everywhere they didn't meet but distressing ruins, crashing and dying.
Only up, near the top of a mountain, they saw a patch of greenery and a cluster of trees hidden behind some huge cliffs. They went there to ponder what to do and, while they were sitting and figured what and how to do, here's that from under the shadow of an old tree an snow-white old man came out approaching them. After welcoming them, the old man asked how did they arrived there, for since a long time there was no man living on that island.
Prince storied him how he had come first time here, driven only by the love and good thoughts, how the Apparitions received and cursed him and how he had lost his friend on that land. Then she said also how much he wandered and experienced , until he had escaped of the curse and that he returned here to fight the evil malformations.
In turn the White Old Man storied with grief about what it had happened on this island, when the Prince wondered where are forests and nights with moonlit and nightingales, where are tranquility and peace of the Earth.
And here's what our three friends found out.
The Hoary Man recounts through what dreadful stories have gone the People on the island and how they got under the Hain Emperor.
Since long time, on the island lived multitude of beautiful, honest and good people. And lived in peace and good understanding, seeing each of its business: which plowed the land, which grazed the cattle, which built hoses, you see, all things aimed at making the life easier, more beautiful, and more prosperous. And many centuries they lived so in happiness and peace. One day, however, from depth of some distant swamps untouched by human foot, came out on earth a bad and ugly Pixy, pair-less witchcraft. And along with her, also her germ, a malformation of child, feeble at body, big at head, and evil and cunning, that only his mother outwitted him. She, this deformed and soulless, sorcery, littered only by venom, hatred, hatred and guile, wanted to put the ugliness of his son as Emperor over the wonderful Island.
First they hidden in the depths of the forest in a cave; from here, the crone, turned into beggar, was going to the homes of people to get, ostensibly, a crust of bread, but really, to see how she would be able to reach the goal. And she walked day after day, ever spying here and there, and met all kinds of people. Most of them, full of kindness and sympathy, gave her food and a cloth to defend her body of cold. Moreover, some told her that she can remain attached to their houses, for where they were eating it was place also for her at the table, and they would take care of her hoary age in order not to miss anything. But the crone knew what she missed! As more the people shown themselves to be compassionate and open-handed, the more the witch hated them in her black heart.
But forest without dry wood never existed! Sometimes, it's right that very rare, she came also to homes where she was not received; owners of one chased her with dogs and with the club, fearing not to prig something from the yard; other, as soon would see her coming, would start to swallow quickly all dainties from the table, being greedy and regretting even a crumb of bread to give to one more needy. And the crone met also some monstrously stupid but who boasted their cleverness, other, pretended, liars, and flatters; others were loquacious and breezed up out of nothing, having never peace with their neighbors.
I must say, however, that such people were very few at that time. Nor were even so sinful in their own kind. But as they approached the crone, all the evil hidden in their souls, which some still mastered, became stronger and came at surface. Besides, some of them hadn't even themselves know what was laying in their souls.
The witch remembered these and increasingly went on and on at their gates, until those people no longer could master their wrong impulses, moreover, with the time became worse and worse.
At night, the crone went into her, when her malformed son was ever asking her when will put him emperor and how long will still keep him hidden in that underground cave. His mother ran on spells and charms and the next day went right to those who were on her liking leaving on gate of each a few drops of venom boiled and charmed overnight in the darkness of the cave.
And as today so tomorrow, those people with defects felt more and more attracted by this crone and were seeking to enter her will, for the spells seized them in their power from now on. And they began to go after the squaw, one day – one, other day – another, until the old plague gathered all of them in her cave. Women and men went after her, now one worse and wicked than other, leaving their children, houses, not wanting any more to know of anything else but deceptions of the crone, who promised to each everything: to one – power, to other – food and beverage, and to others – measureless richness, flurrying to all their minds, that no one came any more out of her word. When she brought also the last rascal in the cave, the witch has invited all at the table, telling them that now they will know that who will fulfill all their desires and will take care not to miss anything from what they wanted.
I forgot to say that the crone had prepared previously a charmed drink which she poured it over the food and, when they were seated at the table and began feasting, just they turned into kind and kind of apparitions, each according to defect in one's soul: to some, instead of heads, it appeared fists as big as clubs, from others it remained only the bellies, to others, who believed cleverer than their fellows, she put a leg in stead of head. What more, not even one looked any longer like a man! And at once what of kindness and honor had remained any more in them disappeared and over their souls remained master only the Evil!
Then, when the witch have brought her son telling them that since now this is their Emperor, and them, his most obedient domestics, all fall on knees in front of him and no eve one recalled that they were once free people, who didn't know other master outside of their own free will. On the contrary, they competed, one more than other, in flattering and buttering, hoping thus to obtain more even then their mean minds wanted.
"The Emperor" was in the peak of happiness! Immediately he aligned them in columns of four by four, and began to order, playing on the general. He wanted to leave with his "army" just then, to destroy everything which remained alive and to rule over the whole island. The crone charmed them all once more as always to come out conquerors, and all to listen on her son, after which they have gone out of the cave to conquer the Wonderful Island.
They met a wonderful field of wheat thick as the brush, which swayed its heavy grains in the beating wind, and only what the hag stammered something and the gold field turned into a wilderness full of stones, among which even snakes didn't move any more.
Here, the fresh "Emperor" put his servants to build for him a large palace, and around it, more stately – the homes of dignitaries, and more wretched – those of the lay servants. They enclosed everything with a stone wall, and, around the city, all has been turned into ash and powder.
Once installed between his servants, the Emperor began to learn from his mom all spells and charms bringing calamities, drought, pest, all the evils of the world.
And he learned and learned, until the crone said that's all, now he knows everything she knows and she no longer has what to teach him more. Then her son spied until she got asleep and, with his malefic power, splashed her with a venom which, on the spot, transformed her into a small heap of black and stinking ash, which the servants swept from there, because the Emperor wanted to be the only one to know the mysteries of witchcraft.
We find out what meant the crowd of boulders on the Island. The Prince along with the Grandson of the Hoary Man start to struggle with the Apparitions.
So well fitted and fully master over his apparitions of servants, the Hain Emperor decided to conquer the Island. But he didn't start openly to fight with the Free People. No, because he feared them because they were strong and loved liberty, and him, the Emperor could never overcome them. So he began with cheats, with meannennesses and especially with the spells, at which he was unsurpassed. He sent his servants to watch and as they saw a man or a woman alone, they jumped in dozens on them, bound them hand and foot before that poor flaks to have passed the astonishment, and carried them in front of his „Lighting”. With spells and charms, the poor people were turned into boulders likewise those surrounding the palace and thrown over the others.
So today, so tomorrow, one by one, the people disappeared from the midst of their familes and friends, and nobody coud to find out what had happened to them. During this, on the wild field several boulders piled up. People were becoming fewer and fewer, the fertile lands remained unworkwd, the wilderness extended over them and took in possession the houses where nobody lived any more. The Hoary Man, who was telling these stories, had left the mountain with only little grandson what had remained of his whole family and since then they both lived here, in this glade safe from the eyes of the Apparitions.
The grandson had grown and was now a lad in full power. While sitting there alone, they had seen from the cliffs the servants of the Emperor bustling about in the valley and followed them with their eyes all the time, thus becoming them the only ones to know the truth about what happened on the Island.
For a while no man had remained alive on these lands, and the Emperor triumphed and swelled of the pleasure of mastering the whole island. Only on montains didn't dare, for he was too incapable and coward.
Because he couldn't see anything alive and beautiful in his sight, he had charmed the clouds, and the waters rushed flood and drowned all, glades, forests, animals. The lightnings and thunderbolts shot down trees and houses and only ash and burned stumps had remained, there where had sung nightingales. The earth had cracked and threw down into the depths, had mixed and boiled, and when all was quiet, out of the wonder of yesteryear there remained nothing. Now the monsters were only in banquet, that they no longer have to be afraid of anything, and bursted of pleasure, seeing around them just desert and misfortune.
Listening to all this appalling story has of the Hoary Man, our Prince has terribly angered on the malformed scoundrels, and the desire to punish them according to their actions put to the fullest extent comand on his soul. All of them, the Prince, the Hoary Man, his Grandson, the Princess and the Dragon began to deliberate how to start the fighting.
There were not too many, but they were wise, good, brave and courageous. And, especially, had the Justice on their side.