Updated: October 1976
[Note: this story was begun shortly after returning the Mormon Church the previous July 1975 with my six children in mind all of whom were being raised Mormon, except for my youngest, then age 9.]
(A father’s myth for his children)
"...And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises to the fathers..." JS 2:39
Chapter One: The Quest
Long ago on a great red planet, there lived a prince of song and fire. The prince was very young and very bored. “What is there for me to do?” he said to himself one day. “And why am I not happy?”
Now, for those of us who have always admired princes and grand things and far away places, this may seem a surprising thing to say. The prince had everything he had ever wanted and could do anything he had ever hoped. But now he was bored, and being bored he was unhappy.
So, he began to dream. And in his dreams he found new adventure and excitement and challenge. Dreaming soon became his new world. “Here I can build and learn to be who I want to be”, he mused. “Where shall I go and who shall I be and what do I want to learn?” He pondered on this question a very long time, knowing now that he was free to have it answered just as he desired.
“I want to be a king!” he exclaimed, interrupting his dreams and boring surroundings. “A king”, he said again, this time quietly to himself. “How do I become a king?” And with that he began to wonder. No one was near to hear him and no one was near to answer. So he drifted off to sleep to wander and search for his desire. He had begun his Quest.
In his sleep the prince began to fall into a deep, dark and swirling mist. He became very frightened and cried out, “What is happening to me and where am I going?” On and on he fell and spun, faster and faster, alone and terrified. “Why should my desire bring on such a terrible thing?” he wondered, continuing to plunge down and down, around and around.
After a while and with no end in sight, the prince began to hear a sound that seemed like a very quiet chuckle! How very strange, he thought. And as he listened more carefully, he was surprised to find it was actually coming from himself! Nothing else was happening except falling and spinning, spinning and falling. And so, soon he began to laugh. On and on he went, now laughing and spinning, falling and giggling. A foolish and absurd situation indeed, it seemed.
Before he had realized it the prince had lost his fear. He began to look at his hands and was amazed to find that he could change how fast he spun and fell just by how he held them. How interesting, he thought. So he began to experiment.
Suddenly and without thinking, he straightened out his arms and legs and burst out of the swirling mist into an inner calm. But in so doing and to his dismay, he abruptly began to drop—straight down the center of the whirlwind! “Oh, my!” he cried again, as again he was afraid.
But soon again, though falling straight like an arrow, the prince began to laugh and returned to working with his hands. He held his arms to his sides and extended his fingers ever so slightly. Immediately he felt the speed of his fall begin to slow. Out further went his hands. Slower went his fall, until soon the prince had stopped falling altogether. He had come to a suspended place right in the middle of the whirling mist!
There it was, just within reach, still wildly spinning. And here he was, now hanging in the center, but floating safe. He began to look around. Then up. And way off in the distance, far away beyond his clearest vision, he saw a tiny point of light. And as he focused on the far off speck, he felt a tiny spark within himself—like gladness.
Gone were his fear and his confusion and his questions. Now fascinated by the tiny light and gladdened by the tiny spark, he felt the spark increase to glowing and watched the light become brighter and brighter and felt its warmth.
Then he realized that he was rising up towards the light. As it became brighter, his face warmer, and his heart happier, he found himself moving into a blinding, shining place. It was as if he had entered the sun, itself!
The prince’s joy became unbounded and he thought his heart would burst. He began to shout and sing and whistle and make all kinds of strange and unusual sounds. It seemed a silly sight.
And then, he heard the Voice. Quiet and gentle, yet voluminous and grand:
The Great Voice spoke, but the prince could not tell if it was in him or out of him, around him or through him.
“To be a king you must experience what kings experience.
Seek your own kingdom and search your own soul. Do not fear
to find it, though you will be tested and challenged. Take your
Courage in your hands and remember the tiny spark of gladness. You will know when you need to know and will be equipped as needed. Then will you find your rightful place and the kingdom of your heart.”
And so it was the prince found himself on top of a mountain, singing to a great white stag and to a tree and to a soaring eagle in the skies. He was wrapped in a vision for his future.
Chapter Two: The Push-Pull
On his way down the mountain side, the prince wondered how his vision would take place. This was a strange new land. He knew he must now go the great sea he had seen sparkling far off in the distance. He did not know why. It was just that he felt he had to get there somehow.
And he wondered about the meaning of the majestic Voice he had heard. Also, he wondered about what he had seen. In the vision he had seen the golden eagle swoop down close and cry with the sound of a mighty trumpet: “
! Liberty ! The Kingdom is here! Prepare the way for the King of kings!” Liberty
At first the prince had thought the bird was golden, but then it seemed to change to silver. And as it faded away, a gust of wind came up smelling clean and sharp and sweeping small dark clouds before it. The last glimpse of the great shimmering bird was gone.
Meanwhile the stag had stayed very still, watching everything. But now he suddenly started snorting, rapidly wagging his small white tail then began bounding away in fantastic leaps, suspending himself at the top of each one as if caught in the midst of a beautiful dream.
The tree had seemed to glow with an eerie soft blue light, coming from within itself. And the ground around it became like a pool of glass. Looking down around its base, the prince could see that the roots of the tree went far into the mountain depths, farther than both his eyes could see.
He wondered about these things as he came to the bottom of the mountain. What now stretched out before him seemed like an endless flat expanse of desert…waste….
* * *
The prince wondered how far it was across the desert. He knew that to reach the great sea he had seen from on top of the mountain, he would have a long hot way to go. Where there had been trees and birds and animals on the mountain, he could now see nothing but dry, cracked clay. Not even a blade of grass. And no water.
But he began to walk anyway. He felt somehow he was headed in the right direction, even if he had no idea how he was going to get there without water or food or something to ride in.
Then, as the prince began to walk, he felt something push him—or was it pulling him? He could not tell. It was like a giant magnet and it made him begin to run—and then stumble! “Oh!” he cried. “Where is it taking me?”
He stood up and again was almost pushed-pulled over. But he did not fight it. He let himself be drawn in the direction of the push-pull. Then he remembered the dark swirling thing and how he’d once worked with his hands. So, he held his arms to his sides (as he remembered from before) and began to extend his fingers ever so slightly. All the time he was being pushed/pulled towards where he did not know.
As his hands tipped a little, fingers extended together, he felt himself lift off the ground! He was flying! And very fast he discovered that how he held his hands determined how he flew. But! He had to be careful. By tipping his hands too much too soon, he could go too high too fast. Soon it became fun and the prince began flying all around. He became totally absorbed in flying and forgot all about crossing the desert to reach the great shining sea.
And that is just when he flipped over a long, covered wire right in the middle of the sky! And that is also when he saw the great stream of people far below.
“So many, many people!” the prince exclaimed. “Where are they all going?” And as he looked, he realized that they were all going in the very same direction as the push-pull that had made him stumble. They were moving inexorably in the same direction he was going towards the far side of the desert and rolling hills. “But why are they moving so slowly?” he wondered, realizing how much he enjoyed flying and moving fast and feeling free to soar and be. He decided to go down closer to take a better look.
“Oh, no!” the prince again exclaimed. “They are all bent over and being pulled backwards!” It was no wonder they were moving so slowly. “Oh, please”, cried the prince to those below. “Don’t fight the push-pull. Just stand up and turn around and let it lift you up. It is not hard at all. Why, look how easy it is for me and how much fun it is to fly and play.”
Not one of the people looked up. Not one of them seemed to hear. No one seemed to notice the prince in the air above them. “Look at me! LOOK at me!” the prince shouted. Still no one looked up. No one even bothered to notice. It was all very troubling and puzzling.
“Why can’t they hear me?” the prince wondered. And in asking these questions he felt a great sadness and heaviness move through his heart. “They can’t see me because I am not where they are!” And with that a new wave of feeling washed over him.
He felt foolish now, being up in the air if they could not hear him. It was no longer any fun flying if he could not share his joy with someone else. So he decided to go back down to the ground all the way.
The prince wanted to be with these people. He wanted to get into their great life river. But would they understand him? Would he understand them? He didn't know. But he decided to try.
Chapter Three: The Elders
“Why are you all bent over like that?” The prince was talking to an old man who was the first person he met after getting back down to the ground. “And why are you fighting the push-pull?”
“You should learn how to speak to your elders,” replied the old man in an affronted tone.
“Why can’t you answer my question?” responded the prince.
“You are a rude young man”, said the old man. “And a show off!”
“A show off?”
“I heard you yelling earlier and it sounded very rude. Very, very rude.”
“Yes, yelling. It was all rather rude and you should know yelling is not permitted here.”
“But I was only trying to get your attention so you could see how easy it is to fly,” explained the prince, explained the prince now quite bewildered.
“Young man, you’ll only get yourself and others in trouble with your rude attitude and in saying such dangerous things,” replied the old man. It was plain he did not want talk to the prince any further.
“What’s so dangerous about my question?” asked the prince. But the old man was silent. “What’s so dangerous about my question?” the prince asked again, this time more loudly and with impatience. Still, the old man remained silent. Then he closed his eyes.
“Why, you’re just a silly old man!” complained the prince angrily. He did not like to be ignored.
“Teach that boy a lesson!” someone shouted from within the barely moving crowd of crouched figures.
“But I was only…OUCH!” The prince felt himself hit on his right leg by a large rock. “Why are you hurting me?” he cried.
“A good member never asks such questions!” replied another voice.
“Yes!” cropped up another, “Good members do not question!” Another rock hit the prince in the back. And then another. And another. He began running.
“Get out!” someone else cried.
The prince began running in the direction of the push-pull. He ran just on the outside of the struggling mass of people and could not understand why they had become so angry. But, he thought to himself, perhaps he could find out if he could get to the front. Maybe those in front would understand.
As he ran on his way to the front, along side the slowly moving bent over river of struggling people, the prince noticed a person here and there who was standing up, instead of all bent over like everyone else. It seemed hopeful. Maybe these standing up people would understand. He decided to approach one who was closest to the edge.
“You aren't bent over like the others. Aren't you afraid they will be angry with you?”
I was another old man. But this old man laughed and said, “My boy, when you get as old as I am it doesn't matter who gets angry at you anymore.”
“When did you decide to stand up?” asked the prince, encouraged by the old man’s attitude.
“You ask brave questions, my boy”. The old man was now looking kindly at the young stranger. “Just where have you come from?”
The prince became excited. “I come from a big red planet with a black swirly place and a blinding light and a great mountain with a big tree and white stag and a golden-silver eagle that flies high in the sky…” answered the prince eagerly and breathlessly. He was happy that the old man seemed interested.
“My boy, my boy”, interjected the old man. “I don’t understand you. You are speaking very, very strangely. And what you say is very, very strange indeed. I do hope you are all right and haven’t been eating the wrong things.”
“Ah!” the young prince sighed. He had said too much. Much too much. Why couldn't he talk to these people plainly about where he came from and about what he could do? He sighed again and moved back outside the struggling people river. And again he began running towards the front.
To be continued as of 19 Oct 76.
Possible future chapters:
Witches and webs
Fugitive Circus Bear
Magic Bees and the Medicine Man