The Prince's Bride

Fiction By Kyleigh // 4/1/2013

{based on Ezekiel 16}

To this day, I don’t know why the Prince chose me. I was not beautiful; most considered me ugly. The only people who didn’t think me hideous were my lovers. Maybe they remembered the days before my beauty left me, or maybe they cared about it no more. Perhaps they were driven to me through desperation, just as I was driven to them. But apart from those few men, I was scorned; no one wanted to be associated with a prostitute.
The day the Prince came to town began like any other day. I woke from restless slumber late in the morning, and then journeyed to the back gate to wait for my lovers. The murmur of the market was broken when trumpets sounded in the streets. When silence fell, a herald cried out.
“Make way for your Prince!”
As the crowd drew back, I wondered why the Prince would visit us. We were a small village, and in past years had been a den of thieves and rebels. I did not know why he would be coming, except to judge us.
The herald stopped in the square. I hurried there, anxious to see the Prince. I moved to the back of the crowd and craned my neck, struggling for a glimpse of his highness.
“Hear ye, hear ye!” The herald cried. “This day the Prince has come to you bearing messages from the King of this land. Listen to what he has to say!”
The Prince stood on the edge of the well. I looked at him, dressed in his royal robes, and then at myself, in filthy rags. Once, I had known the feel of fine clothes. I remembered the soft swish of satins, the gentle caresses of velvet, and the weight of a jewel upon the finger. But now, my clothing was tattered and stained. My heart was filled with contempt for this ruler wearing silk and linen.
“I have come to your town this day on behalf of my father, the King,” the Prince began. “He has declared judgment upon all rebels!”
A tremor ran through the crowd.
“Yet I come to you not bearing news of condemnation and death, but of life. I bore the punishment for your treason. If you will accept it, the King has forgiven you. If you continue in your rebellion, we will hunt you down and you shall die.
“Take my father’s forgiveness!” The Prince pleaded. “Turn from rebellion and follow the King’s laws!”
“Please, forgive me!” Some in the crowd said, coming near the Prince. “Thank you for saving us.”
One man walked up to the Prince and spat in his face. “Why should I obey a King who lets rebels go free?”
I and others in the crowd cheered.
The Prince wiped the spittle from his face and reached out to the man. “Stop,” he said.
The man turned to look at the prince, who was rolling up his shirt sleeves.
“Look!” The Prince said.
Even from where I stood, I could see fresh scars running up, down, and across his forearms.
“And there are more,” the Prince said. “These rebels are free because I bought them with my blood!” The Prince stepped down from the well and entered the throng.
The noise of the crowd rose and many turned to leave, but I wanted to see what the Prince would do next. I searched for him, but could not find him above the heads of the townspeople.
Then I saw him. He was coming my way. He greeted men and women as he came, but he did not really look at any of them. His eyes were fixed on me.
I looked behind me, but no one was there. For a moment, I thought I might run away. Then his smile stopped me. It was more beautiful than his jewels and gold. Perhaps – I began to think, and tried to make myself more beautiful. He is a prince, Sophie. He would not do such a thing.
I looked away, ashamed. I wriggled my bare toes in the dirt, knowing he was looking at my filth. I moved my skirt to hide the holes and stains. I ran a hand through my hair, as if the motion would fix all its messes.
The Prince was in front of me. “What’s your name?” he asked.
“Sophie,” I whispered. Standing next to his splendor made me even more aware of the dirt that clung to me. “Do you want –” I began to ask. It was the first thing I’d ask of any man I met. But he stopped me.
“I came today to let the rebels know of their acquittal,” he said.
“I know,” I said. “I am one of them. I don’t want forgiveness.”
He ignored my comment. “I also came to find my bride.”
“Well, have you found her?”
“Aye,” the Prince said. “She is even now standing before me.”
I looked behind me. Again, no one was there.
“Come with me to the castle! There you shall be washed and given royal robes, and I will take you to meet my father.”
“The King?” I asked. I shrank back in fear. “I cannot stand before him! Why would he want anything to do with me?” Many questions filled my mind, and I felt as if the world was spinning around me.
“On the day you were born, you were cast out into an open field, for even then you were hated. My father passed by and saw you dying. He took you and cared for you.”
A faint memory stirred. Perhaps it was true.
“You grew up, and became beautiful. You returned to the village.”
I found myself nodding to his words. I remembered returning.
“My father came again, and you were at the age for love, yet you had become wicked. You were using your beauty for your own glory and not to honor the King.”
I felt he as if was seeing the innermost parts of my heart. I wanted to run and hide, but his voice had me spellbound.
“He covered your nakedness, and gave you fine linens like these.” The Prince pointed to his robes.
I fingered my skirt. How different it was from the clothes the King had given me!
“He made a covenant with you, do you remember?”
I nodded.
“You were betrothed to me. And people spoke well of you because of what my father had done for you.”
I smiled for the first time that day, remembering the King’s kindness and gentleness.
“Then what happened?” the Prince asked.
I turned my face away.
“You trusted in your beauty, in what he had given you instead of in him. You gave yourself to any passerby. You exalted yourself, and soon became so desperate for attention that you cared not what men paid you.”
“It’s true,” I whispered.
“The wrath of the King rests upon you. He will show all the people your shame and all the evil you did shall be done to you.”
I hid my face in my hands.
For a time, the Prince did not speak. I waited for him to continue, but he said nothing. When the Prince had spoken of rebels, I remained unmoved. When he had talked of treason and forgiveness, it did not touch my heart. I did not understand what it was I had done until he made me realize how I had scorned the King, who had given me so much.
The fact that I had injured the only one who had cared for me was more terrifying to me than the thought of judgment. I could bear my disgrace if only he was not offended by it.
In the moments of silence, I sank to the depths of despair. When the Prince spoke again, I feared it would be the end of me.
“Sophie,” he said. His hands reached out and took hold of my arms.
At first, I recoiled from his touch. But when I realized how gentle he was, I relaxed. I brought my hands up and took hold of his arms. I felt the scars on his flesh and shuddered. That was what I deserved. In his next words, would the Prince tell me that I would be receiving it?
“The King remembers the covenant he made with you. You may have been faithless, but my father is not.”
I met his gaze. “What?”
“I came today to take you home with me, to marry me! You are among those I suffered for! I have borne the punishment for your unfaithfulness!”
“You don’t understand,” I said, drawing back. “I can’t be a princess; I’m not royalty. I never could be – look at me!”
“I have made you a princess,” he said, placing a circlet of gold upon my head. He took his cloak from his own shoulders and put it around mine.
I shook my head and pulled at the clasp of the silken cloak. “But I can’t act like one!”
He put his arms around me. “I will teach you how.”
I was too surprised to contradict him. I felt as if I was flying high above the earth, and the King and the Prince were all I cared about.
We – I could really say ‘we,’ for I was the princess, wasn’t I? – began to walk to the carriage that had brought the Prince.
“You can’t marry her,” a voice cried out from the well.
I froze. I knew that voice; it was one of the men I had loved. I shook my head, but I knew he was right. Why had I believed the Prince? I turned to go home.
“I will choose who I will for my bride,” the Prince said. He put a hand on my arm, bidding me to stay.
“Will you take from us what’s ours?” Another man cried.
I hid my face in my hands. The Prince drew me close to himself.
“She is mine, and has been mine for many years.”
“You can’t just take her without payment,” the first man said. “That’s not how it works.”
“I know,” the Prince said.
“You have gold, then, to buy her?”
“How much?” the Prince asked.
“Her weight.”
My eyes went wide. I did not weigh much, but I could not believe the Prince would agree to such a price!
The Prince nodded. He turned to his herald. “There is gold in the carriage.”
“And maybe a little more,” one man said, when he saw how willing the Prince was to pay a large sum.
The Prince nodded again.
I watched as the herald brought bag after bag of gold from the carriage. “I’m worth that much to you?” I asked the Prince.
“Aye,” the Prince said. “I paid an even higher price for you, to satisfy my father.” He climbed the well once more, then reached down and lifted me up beside him.
That was what he had done that day, lifted me up from my rags and filth to be like him. He was about to speak, but I interrupted him.
“You know I won’t be a perfect wife,” I said. “I’m still the same person. You may wash away my outer filth, but it’s not so easy to change what I do. I still think like a – a prostitute,” I said, recoiling from the use of that word.
“I will teach you to think like a princess,” he said. “Little by little, you will become what I have raised you up to be.” The Prince turned to the people, who were watching the scene before them in wonder. “Come, if you will, to the castle! Tonight is the wedding feast, and you are all invited to attend!”

As we entered the castle an hour later, I looked open-mouthed at my surroundings. The rich carpets caressed my bare feet as no street or grass ever had. High ceilings seemed higher to me than the stars. I ran from window to window, peering out at the gardens outside.
“Where do I sleep?” I asked the Prince. “Is there a cellar for me?” Even a cellar in such a grand palace would be a greater honor than the shed I had slept in for many years.
The Prince laughed. “Remember, I must teach you to be a Princess,” he said. “And a princess does not sleep in a cellar.”
He took my hand and led me to a set of tall doors. “This is where you will stay. I will send handmaidens to you, and they will prepare you for our wedding.”
I paused as I entered the room. “Our wedding,” I whispered, watching the Prince walk the long corridor that led to the Great Hall. I fingered the cloak he had put on me; the soft silk felt strange in my calloused hands, but dresses of it had been made just for me.

That night, the Great Hall was filled with guests for the wedding feast. The King stood as I entered.
“Let us rejoice and exult,” he said. “For the marriage of our Prince has come! His bride has made herself ready. She has clothed herself with fine linen, bright and pure.”
I came and stood by the Prince – my Prince – and the King continued to speak.
“Today my son went out and sought Sophie to be his bride. He bought her with all he had, and together they shall come into the inheritance I have for them.”
The crowd cheered, and I smiled.
The night was filled with rejoicing. No one said a word about my previous state. The King and the Prince remembered it no more. In their eyes, I was the Prince’s bride, and nothing less.
A Prince’s bride, a princess. All along, it was what I had wanted. Isn’t it every little girl’s dream? There were times as a child when it had seemed so close. When the King had clothed me in linen and silk, and cared for me, it seemed my dream would become reality. Then there had been the lie I had believed, thinking it would satisfy me more than the King’s covenant. It only left me hungry for more, a more I thought I could have by giving all I had to have a fulfillment that never came.
That is, it never came until the day the Prince claimed me. Since then, all my wants and needs have been met. I would say, “I have never wanted,” but that would not be the truth. I have wanted, and sometimes my longings have been for my old life.
But then I remember, and turn from my wantonness. I remember what my life used to be. I remember what the King had done for me when I was a child. I remember the day the Prince came to my village. I remember how broken I was over my rebellion, and the price the Prince paid to free me. And I remember what I am: the Prince’s bride.

Comments

This read like a fairy tale.

This read like a fairy tale. I really liked it. It was perhaps a bit detached emotionally for me, but then again--like I said, it reads like a fairy tale.

I so enjoyed the parallels to God and Jesus. I love how you did that--it was ingenious. I realized that the 'King' was God pretty quickly, but I didn't get that the 'Prince' was Jesus until he talked about the price he had paid. :) So all of that was brilliant and executed very well.

Good job, Kyleigh!

Madeline | Mon, 04/01/2013

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

:)

Wonderful job, Kyleigh!

I love it - the last sentence wrapped everything up well and the symbolism was wonderful!

Lucy Anne | Mon, 04/01/2013

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Really, really, really love

Really, really, really love this!!! This is extremely well done! Like... FANTASTICALLY WELL DONE! I LOVE IT! The wording was fabulous, and the story even more so. I loved how you pieced everything together. This is really great writing.
I love this line SO much: “Yet I come to you not bearing news of condemnation and death, but of life..." Love your wording.
And:
"I felt he as if was seeing the innermost parts of my heart. I wanted to run and hide, but his voice had me spellbound..." Again, your words a captivating.
This was fabulous!

Kassady | Tue, 04/02/2013

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
---
Write On!

:)

Thank you all! This was a challenge to write, but it's definitely one of my favorites of what I've written.

Kyleigh | Wed, 04/03/2013

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