The Story Spirits
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Long, long ago, there lived a prince in a faraway land whose grandfather told him lots of tales.
Each time a story was told, the spirit of the story would move on to live with the listener and sing songs for him. The listener would then have to narrate the story to someone else in order for the story spirit to move on. After seven such retellings, the story spirits would be freed.
But this prince trapped the spirit of every story his grandfather told him so that he could always listen to their songs; he would put them in a room and lock the door, refusing to tell the tales to anyone.
As the years went by, the spirits grew tired; it was uncomfortable, and stuffy inside their locked room, but they couldn’t get out. They were trapped until the prince told the tales to someone else.
But, the prince had moved on with his life. He had grown old enough to marry, and once a princess was found, the grand wedding preparations began.
When the story spirits heard the news, they were enraged.
“While we are trapped inside this cramped room, he is having a fabulous gala for his wedding!” they chimed in anger. No longer able to control their emotions, the spirits banded together and plotted against the prince.
“This is how we will ruin his big day!” they exclaimed.
“On his way to the wedding hall, the prince will pass by a coconut grove and will surely want to taste some. I will poison the tender coconuts, which will make his stomach turn,” one spirit smirked.
“When he reaches the wedding hall, he will have to step on a sack of rice to get down from the palanquin. I will turn it into a thousand thorns that will prick his feet and make them bleed,” said another.
“After his wedding, when he retires for the day in his room, at the exact stroke of midnight, I will bring the roof down on his head. He will be sorry he confined us for so long,” said the third. “Some wedding he will have!” the spirits chuckled in delight.
The prince’s grandfather heard the spirits scheming, and was determined to save his grandson.
The day of the wedding arrived, and the prince was accompanied to the ceremony by his marriage party.
As they passed by the coconut grove full of luscious coconuts, the prince ordered his servant, “Get me one! I want to taste the sweet, tender coconut.”
But his Grandfather urged, “If we stop, we will be late for the wedding. Let’s move on.”
The party proceeded, and the rather upset prince decided not to say anything as he didn’t want to disobey his grandfather.
Upon arrival at the hall, a sack of rice was brought for the prince to step down on, but his grandfather knocked the sack away.
Not seeing the thousand, tiny, hidden spears, the angry prince stomped off without saying a word.
After the wedding, the prince retired with his wife.
One minute before midnight, the grandfather pulled the prince and his wife from their room. The prince was outraged. “I have been watching you all day. What’s wrong with you? Have you gone crazy?” he screamed. But, barely had the words left his mouth when the roof of his bedroom broke into a hundred little bits. “What’s going on?” he asked in bewilderment.
The grandfather sat the prince and his bride down and explained everything. The prince thanked his grandfather and promised to tell the tales to everyone.
He first started with his wife, and one by one told all the stories he had heard over the years to all his friends. The spirits were now freed. Relieved and happy, they blessed the prince and his wife and moved on.
Angry spirits scheme to ruin the prince’s wedding. Will they succeed? Find out from this folktale.