Friday, March 6, 2015

The Existential Princess: A Fairy Tale

by Liam Heneghan

Once upon a time there was a princess who lived on a small blue-green world that orbited a medium sized but feisty sun. Now this particular princess came from a long line of primates that had evolved slowly on the equatorial band of her world.  She was fang-less and claw-less and relatively hairless, and alas several very formidable cats had discovered that her kind was remarkably tasty.

But the princess possessed a remarkable gift: she could imagine the future. After consulting with her scientists — who also shared this gift, for this was their unique possession — she learned that one day she must die just as the scientists too must surely die. Moreover, she learned that everything that lives must perish. She learned too that the feisty sun that shone so gaily in sky would steadily increase in luminosity and one day would engulf the small blue-green planet.

The princess placed her forehead — behind which was stored the peculiarly ample brain that characterized her people — in her hands and she wept. After a while her weeping turned to a quiet sobbing and the sobbing became a mild shuddering and eventually the shuddering came to an end. The princess looked up at last and saw a child pass by where she sat.  And knowing that this child too would die she spoke unto the child saying: “Once upon a time….”

Once upon a time there was a ferocious cat…
Once upon a time there were were three bears…
Once upon a time there was a woodcutter with a beautiful daughter…
Once upon a time there was a ogre who loved flowers
Once upon a time there was a princess….
Once upon a time…

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