Once upon a time

Once upon a time there was a beautiful warrior princess, and her beauty was in her strength. As great warriors do, she was about to set out on the greatest of all quests.

Her sword of talent glistened in the early morning sunshine as she took the first few steps of her quest. Feeling uncertain, she took out her shield of determination, holding it close to her heart. Before too long she encountered her first demon. She fought valiantly, her sword gashed and tore at the demons skin, and her shield protected her from any attempts from the demon to take a swing at her. With one huge swing of her sword the demon began to back away and as it turned she noticed the collection of scars it bore. Some were sweet silver and some were a raw red. Before she could gather her thoughts the demon had vanished.

This wasn’t how this was supposed to play out, she thought to herself. She was supposed to come away feeling victorious and triumphant. Breathing heavy from the fight she looked around for clues as to where the demon could have escaped. Then, sparkling brightly in the light, so brightly that nothing could be done to avoid its glare, a seed of doubt caught her eye. The warrior princess bent down to inspect the seed, and without a second thought picked it up and put it in her pocket. Knowing she would never find the demon again, the warrior princess carried on her way.

Along the way she met many many demons, and each one backed away from her just as the very first had and always just as she felt she could finally defeat it. After each demon had backed away and she was left feeling a little empty, she would find another seed, and she would pick it up and add it to her collection. After a while her collection of seeds had become so vast that the weight of them was becoming too great. So much so that one morning when she set off from her sleeping place, she left behind her shield.

Fighting the demons was harder without her shield, the attacks from the demons hit her harder, and she was left with cuts and bruises when the demon finally decided the battle was over. Every time a demon turned their back on her she would pick up a seed, and after every battle her sword got smaller and smaller until eventually all she was left with was a tiny dagger.

Without her shield and with only a tiny dagger to fight her battles, her wounds rang in her ears louder and louder until the princess couldn’t see the point in going on. She settled under a welcoming tree which stood unlike all the others. It was peaceful and comforting, and though it looked jagged and rotten, when she sat with her back pressed to the trunk, it moulded to her body like she had always been there. As she rested, she noticed the floor of the tree was surrounded by hundreds and thousands of seeds, and she noted how beautiful they looked all together. A great tiredness crept over her, and a heavy weight rested itself upon her heart. Her mind was racing, asking a million questions, thinking a million thoughts, but her body felt deflated, it felt weak. She looked around her hoping for something to help make up her mind, to bring her some clarity, to bring her a sign. But there was nothing. Not a breath, not a whisper.

She sat under that tree for a few days wracked with guilt for not continuing on her quest, but unable to even lift her head. Until, eventually, she gathered herself together and stood up and walked from that tree. She picked up a scrap of bark and held it to her heart, and she picked up her dagger and held it firmly to her side. Finally, she picked up her huge sack of seeds and slung them over her shoulder.

Once upon a time there was a haggard warrior princess, and her beauty was in her strength. And, though she carried with her a great weight, she was still on the greatest of all quests. Some days you can find her under that tree, dagger in hand, shield nowhere to be seen. Some days you can find her battling raging demons with a sword so big it would strike fear into any man’s heart, and a shield so strong it could smash egg shells and bone alike. And, to you, she’ll look like the warrior she is. But never underestimate the warrior under the tree, for she is fighting an even greater battle. Because huge acts of bravery don’t clatter down on the earth tearing everything in their wake, they aren’t the catalyst that makes everything else change, and they aren’t the turning point in a fairy tale. Huge acts of bravery are silent and almost unnoticed, and more often than not they appear change absolutely nothing.


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