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a children's parable

by Free Woman  

Once upon a time, in India, there was a rich prince. Now, this prince called a Rajah, was a good man, kind, compassionate, and enlightened. Powerful and wise, the Rajah worked diligently for the welfare of his people. So diligently, in fact, that he had little time or freedom to pursue his own interests. However, being an ingenious man, the Rajah designed for his palace a magnificent atrium. Being also a man of excellent taste and culture, this splendid atrium became the envy of all the kingdom.

The Rajah sent search parties far and wide to procure for him an awesome array of plant and animal species. In the fullness of time he was convinced that his atrium lacked for nothing of beauty.

Then, one day, the Rajah's chief gardener reported to him, most regretfully, that all his skill had availed him not in his efforts to propagate the Rajah's most beloved flowers. The Rajah inquired if there was any remedy to be had. The gardener replied yes, but that it would come at a high price, since he had come to learn these flowers could only be pollinated by a rare butterfly from their distant homeland. Money being of no concern whatsoever to the Rajah, though, he quickly dispatched a crew to capture and return safely several specimens of this rare butterfly.

After many long, impatient weeks, the Rajah was relieved to witness the return of his search team. However, their news was rather grim, in that they had succeeded in returning with only one live specimen. Grateful to the gods, none the less, the Rajah joyously released the lone caged butterfly into his wonderful atrium, with much fanfare and pageantry.

Gladdened to ecstasy to be free again, and giddy on the manicured perfection of the atrium's garden, the butterfly explored its new home. The Rajah made leisurely pursuit of the butterfly, enjoying immensely its lovely flight from blossom to bloom. Though, truth be told, the Rajah could wish for the butterfly to be less erratic, since its air-dancing often concealed it, as it flew to places the Rajah could not follow.

Eventually, the butterfly reached the perimeter of its haven, the glass walls of the atrium. Being a wild creature, it had no understanding of such things, and futility battered itself against the glass, seeking the warmth and freedom of the sunlit, wide-open skies to which it was accustomed.

Grievously distressed, and hugely worried that the butterfly would injure itself, the Rajah cried out to it. He besought the butterfly to rest, to enjoy the splendor and ease of its new surroundings, where perfection awaited its every whim. Finally, after long, fruitless hours seeking escape, the battered and weakened butterfly, in response to the Rajah's continued pleas, alighted upon his shoulder. "Beautiful butterfly," implored the Rajah, "you are a rare and unique specimen of divine grace. I have brought you into my  home, and would gladly share all its many treasures with you, yet still you seek to escape. Tell me, so that I may provide it for you, what is that you find lacking in my little paradise."

In a weary whisper, the butterfly replied, "O mighty Prince, it has become obvious, even to such as me, that your are a man of great wealth and culture. And it is true that your home would appear to; be a paradise on earth without equal. Yet, because it is my nature, still will I search for the one thing lacking, which I do not believe is within your power to bring inside these shining barriers which stand between me and my joy."

In a tired, limping spiral, the butterfly slowly rose from the Rajah's shoulder, to resume its search. Grief-stricken and puzzled, for he could imagine no thing of such importance which could be missing from his planned perfection, the Rajah followed. At last, in the reflected glory of the sun setting in the rarefied mountain air, the ragged butterfly floated to the ground, its wings twitching in useless effort to raise it, yet again, to the heavens.

Scalding tears coursing down his cheeks, the Rajah gingerly lifted the dying butterfly to his chest, where he gently cradled it near his heart. Whispering gently, the Rajah besought, "Please, please, forgive me, o creature of divine glory. I beg of you to enlighten me, for assuredly will I scour the ends of the earth to fill this void you have shown me!"

No longer able to beat its wings in even the faintest flutter, the butterfly, inhaled its last breath. And, with its dying gasp, it whispered, "Freedom."




Last updated Friday, September 18, 1998 08:19 AM. Copyrighted Temple of The Triple Goddess, P.O. Box 38113, Phoenix, AZ 85069-8113. All rights reserved.