The Fourth Princess of Bengal: Chapter 19

Chapter 19 : Words From a Wise Moon

The First Minister was untroubled. “Wait. It will pass,” said he.

The Second Minister was concerned. “They’ll never be wives — hide her away!”

The Third Minister, who a moment before would have suggested the same thing, slammed down his fist and bellowed “Hide her?! Why, send her away!”

The king brought these choices to the final advisor, and Moon gripped his hand tightly, her face paler than even was normal. “I fear the Third Minister offers sound advice, but my king, where would he have us send her?”

The Third Minister had insisted that, to remove all distraction, she should be declared a religious follower and live with monks in the mountains. This was met by the queen with much distress, and she begged her husband to pass responsibility to her, “For Bengal can not bear to lose its Light forever!”

Saeng was called to her mother’s chambers, and arrived on tiptoe in a breath of unease. “My mother dear,” said the young princess, “I wish not to leave you.”

The queen placed her arms around the wide-eyed girl. “My darling! Already the pain in my heart swells as the tide!” They breathed deeply together, dwelling on the sense of loss, then Moon drew away from her daughter and clasped her hands. “And yet?”

Saeng swallowed, resisting tears. “And yet, we cannot let pain govern the choice that is wise and right. Why is it right, Mother?”

“Saeng… it is right for you. For too long I have trapped your light within my own, but you have a spirit ready to fly free. There is a world outside these walls, and you have this chance to discover it.”

“I… do not understand.”

“When is it allowed for a princess of Bengal to leave her duties and journey the land?”

“It — well — I suppose, mightn’t I have done so had it occurred to me?”

The queen smiled. “You may never have considered it.”

“Ah. This is an opportunity, then.” Saeng laughed. “I would not have thought so! You caused me to be so sad just a moment ago!”

“Even the dark clouds at night as they obscure the comfort of starlight—”

“— are lined by the silver of the moon. Where shall I go?”

“That is your decision.”

“What shall I see?”

“That is your discovery.”

“When shall I return?”

“That, my darling, depends on your journey.”

This time, as they embraced, the young princess was smiling in anticipation of the bright path of the new world before her.


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