Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Thursday, December 17, 2015
As clear as the voice of heaven's timbre
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
“Where do you think the Titanic’s lost sea chest of treasure is hiding?” Frederick said, swimming along the ocean floor.
The blue-green seahorse had scoured the ocean for years, wondering who had acquired the chest, and if he could find it.
“I’m not sure, Son, but if it’s around here anywhere, I’m sure you’d know,” King Maris said, sitting on his throne.
The British ocean liner Titanic sank into the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912, with precious jewels and diamonds, and no one had been able to locate all of its rumored treasure: gold rings, earrings, broaches, necklaces, pocket watches, and cuff links.
“I just don’t want to be like Uncle Makai who lost his kingdom because he ran out of treasure,” Frederick said.
“Son, he lost his soul before he ever lost his treasure,” King Maris said, reminding his only child that character mattered.
King Maris had ruled the Kingdom of Kaimana; his father, King Llyr, ruled before him; and next in line was Frederick.
According to oceanic legend, a sea chest with millions of dollars of treasure from the Titanic was still missing.
For at least a century, pearls, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and gold and silver coins from the British ocean liner have tossed in the sea waves. However, no one had captured the fortune to make it their own.
“I can’t imagine running the kingdom without having more treasure than our neighboring kingdoms,” Frederick said. “You’re a greater king than the rich King Saewine of the Kingdom of Nokauakau, and I will not be overshadowed by him or his sons. How could you let me be prey to thieves and enemies? I’ll outdo you, Dad, and stock up on wealth.”
“Frederick, we have so much wealth! Instead of looking for more treasure, don’t squander what we have,” the King said.
“I know you think we have enough gold and silver, but what if we run out and need more?” Frederick said.
“If I’m the next king, then we will need more wealth than what we have now, so I can build my own kingdom,” he added. “It will be a bigger kingdom than yours, or King Saewine, and it will last forever. I hope one day a statue is made of me.”
He rubbed up against the large monuments of his father with Poseidon, “God of the Sea,” also known as Earth-Shaker. The gold and silver monuments erected by his father stood tall on the ocean basin and towered over the average seahorse.
“Find a bride as your princess and start a family. Forget about trying to amass more riches that will rust,” the King said. “Then, your mother and I would be prouder of you than if you found any hidden sea chest. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. What good is it for you to gain the whole ocean and lose your soul?”
“Yeah, Dad, but you’ll see that I was right when I make you richer than any king in the ocean,” Frederick said.
Later that night, when the ocean had grown dark, Frederick set out on an expedition without his father’s consent.
“Dear Father, I’m going to find the hidden sea chest. Be back soon. Yours truly, Your Son,” he wrote on a seashell.
When King Maris found the note in the ocean sunlight, he wept tears of remorse, believing his son was lost. “If we ever see our son again, it will be a miracle,” King Maris said to his wife, Queen Maris. “I hope he returns . . .”
After weeks of swimming past sharks in the fierce ocean waves, Frederick washed ashore on an unknown island. When he opened his eyes, he found himself lying next to a sea chest of treasure, guarded by pirates with sharp swords.
“Ahoy! Shiver me timbers! Is this the treasure that you’ve been looking for?” the pirate with an eye patch said. “Aren’t your hearties coming for you? Are you trying to hornswaggle us? You must have a bounty on your head!”
“I told my father that I would recover the sea chest for Kaimana,” Frederick said, breathing heavily on the sand.
“Aye, aye! I’m an old salt and seadog! You’re a scallywag. Why did you think it would be so easy to find the treasure?” the pirate said, now placing a knife at Frederick’s throat. “You can visit Davy Jones’ Locker at the bottom of the sea.”
“Please let me go. Just let me back in the ocean. I want to go home to my father. He’ll be worried,” Frederick said.
“Yo ho ho! Oh, sink me, now you want to go back to your daddy, do you?” the pirate grumbled, singing a chantey song. “You’re a son of a biscuit eater! Are you three sheets to the wind? For trying to run a rig on me, you’re walkin’ the plank. If you survive, then you can find your way home to your daddy and your little kingdom and booty!”
The band of pirates wrapped Frederick up in ropes attached to a lead weight, took him out on their ship, and bounced him off the plank. Frederick sank to the bottom of the ocean, faster than any sea chest would have sunk.
“Lad, take that ‘er loot with you!” the pirate yelled at Frederick, tossing a large, shiny diamond to the ocean floor with the seahorse. “Dead men tell no tales! Batten down the hatches, sailors! And get me a clap of thunder! Yo ho ho!”
“How am I going to get out of these ropes?” Frederick said, burping one bubble after another. He slowly watched the shiny diamond as it dropped next to his nose on the bottom of the ocean. “So close, but so far away,” Frederick said, considering his fate. “I guess a diamond can’t really help me now.”
Wrestling in the ropes attached to the lead weight only made Frederick more tired and certain of his demise.
“If I die here, Father and Mother will never forgive me. I told them that I was going to bring back a treasure,” he said.
Days went by, and Frederick still struggled to break free of the ropes. He despaired until the point of death. As he was just about to give up hope, he thought he was having a vision, but then again maybe not.
“My name is Naia,” a gorgeous red-orange seahorse said, swimming in Frederick’s direction. “Let me save you . . .”
“Oh, well, I don’t need your help. I’m fine,” Frederick said, uncurling his tail and kicking it against the ocean’s sand.
“You don’t look fine to me,” Naia said, ignoring his protest and unraveling the ropes secured by the pirates.
“Thank you. I really do appreciate your help,” Frederick said in a soft voice. “I was searching for a sea chest.”
“A sea chest?” Naia said. “That old chest that sunk off the Titanic? It was just a drop in the ocean. Look at all the ocean’s beauty. It’s so colorful and brilliant. I can hardly believe how fortunate I am to swim in the ocean.”
“Yep, I know what you mean,” Frederick said, realizing just how beautiful Naia’s blue eyes were in the sunlight.
He glanced at the shiny diamond, realizing how little it now meant to him, especially compared to Naia’s eyes.
“Would you like to meet my mother and father?” Frederick said. “I haven’t been home for a while . . .”
“Of course, I would,” Naia said. “First, let me send word to my father that I will be gone for a few days.”
“Now run along and tell Father that I went on a trip with a friend,” Naia said to her friend Guppy. “I think this is true love. Tell him that I will send word if there is going to be a wedding. He would need to give me away . . .”
“I got a little lost, Naia,” Frederick said. “Thank you for helping me find my way home. My family misses me.”
Not giving the diamond another thought, Frederick swam off with Naia, grateful for someone who cared about his freedom.
After days of swimming in the ocean, Frederick and Naia had danced in the waves to more than one melody.
“Do you have a seahorse in mind to be your wife?” Naia said, trying to nudge Frederick into admitting he admired her.
“Oh, no, not really,” Frederick said, looking in the other direction. “I was trying to gather wealth first . . .”
“Well, then, maybe I should just swim back to my father and let you go on your way to your parents,” Naia said.
“No, don’t do that,” Frederick said. “I would miss you terribly, and I’d probably be lost again in no time.”
Despite Frederick’s protest, Naia swam off in the other direction, leaving Frederick at a complete loss. He swam in circles, crying and looking for his lost love that he might never ever be able to replace. When he finally found her in an ocean cavern with her friend Guppy, he was afraid she would not even speak to him.
“Please, I’m sorry,” Frederick said. “I didn’t mean to offend you. Now I know that love is more important than any lost treasure. I almost lost you, and you’re a greater treasure than silver or gold. Come meet my parents. They’ll love you.”
“I forgive you,” Naia said, wondering what it would take to help Frederick realize that she was in love with him.
By the time Frederick and Naia reached his father, he knew he would have to ask Naia to be his bride and princess. There was no way that he could risk losing the most valuable person that he had ever met on land or sea.
Otherwise, she would surely swim home, and he would never see her again, even though she had saved his life.
When the two seahorses swam to King Maris’ throne, the King and Queen were as speechless as could be at their son’s arrival.
“Son, I thought we would never see you again,” the King said, after many moments of silence. “We thought pirates killed you!”
“Father, I’ve returned with the greatest treasure of all, a love named Naia,” he said, brushing against her side.
“Naia, will you marry me and help me rule my father’s kingdom?” Frederick said, bowing before the seahorse.
A tear-filled Naia’s eye as she kissed him in front of his parents, knowing that she loved him more than anyone.
“It would make me happier than anything to be your wife,” Naia said. “In fact, my father, King Saewine, is the richest king in the ocean, and he would gladly give his treasure as my dowry. I knew when I saw you that it was true love.”
“Your father is King Saewine?” Frederick said, feeling foolish that he had tried to build a kingdom bigger than his.
“Why, yes? Have you heard of him?” Naia said, smiling with pride at her father’s good name in the ocean.
“Yes, we’ve heard of him,” King Maris said, looking at Frederick. “We will hold the wedding here!”
“I’m the richest seahorse in all the ocean!” Frederick said. “And it has nothing to do with that silly old sea chest!”
Ever since that day, Frederick and Naia were richer than any fish in the sea, bird in the sky, and living creature on the ground. Love had given them everything they needed, even if they never owned the treasure from the Titanic’s sunken chest.
Copyright 2020 Jennifer Waters
Monday, December 14, 2015
“Betsy, did you kill the spiders yet?” Mrs. Lobb called from the kitchen of their three-floor New York mansion.
“Mother, please let them live! It’s Christmas, and they’re my friends. I can’t kill them,” 11-year-old Betsy said.
Betsy loved to play in the fields, and in the springtime, she had met an adorable family of spiders.
“I love your dainty webs!” Betsy said, admiring the handiwork of the spiders in the trees. “Please, come and live with me!”
Although the spiders were shy at first, they warmed up to Betsy’s charm and crawled into her pockets, never to return to the fields. For her birthday, the spiders spun her an elegant lace dress, complete with a matching belt and quilted purse.
“I cannot have Christmas Eve guests in this house covered in spider webs!” Betsy’s mother said in a stern voice. “If you don’t kill the spiders, Father will kill them, and it will not be pretty at all. Get the broom and do as I say.”
“Yes, of course,” Betsy said, gathering her spider family in the pockets of her red Christmas dress and running up two flights of winding stairs. Instead, Betsy ushered the spiders into the corner of the third-floor attic of her home.
“Go up to the rafters until my mother’s Christmas party is over,” she said, tripping over the golden hem in her dress.
“My family and I must trim your Christmas tree with webs before midnight,” said Tarantola, the youngest spider. “Each year the Christ Child comes at midnight and touches spider webs on Christmas trees and turns them into silver tinsel. This has been happening since the first Christmas. When he turns a spider’s web into tinsel, he promises the spider will live another year. If I don’t give my gift to the Christ Child, I’ll die in the winter’s frost, so will my family.”
“Oh, we must sneak to the tree,” Betsy said. “Wait for me. I don’t want anything to happen to you or your family.”
As the evening went on, Tarantola spun delicate webs in the corners of the attic with his parents, brothers, and sisters. In the rest of the house, guests danced to Christmas carols as holly, ivy, and garland decorated every window and door.
The Christmas tree towered at twelve feet tall with limbs that balanced crystal ornaments and glistening balls. Servants mingled among the guests with trays full of Christmas pies and three-layered chocolate cakes. Betsy ate crab dip with sourdough bread, making her way to the punch bowl a time or two.
“Aren’t you having fun, darling?” Mrs. Lobb said. “See why you had to get rid of those horrid spiders?”
“Spiders? Does she still play with those ugly creatures?” Mr. Lobb said. “If I see a spider, I’m stepping on it!”
“Father, don’t be so nasty! The spiders are lovely. They only want to decorate the house with their webs,” Betsy said.
“Don’t let anyone hear you say that Betsy,” Mrs. Lobb said. “The guests will think I raised a filthy child.”
“Honestly, I know you mean well, but people might think you’re not in your right mind,” Mr. Lobb said. Mr. and Mrs. Lobb turned to entertain their uppity guests, shushing Betsy before she could say another word.
“Why do I feel like the spiders are my only real friends?” Betsy whispered to herself, looking at the grandfather clock.
The hands on the clock said it was already half-past eleven, and in less than half-an-hour, the Christ Child would come.
“Tarantola must spin his webs for the Christ Child before midnight,” Betsy said to herself, counting the minutes.
“The Christ Child does come at midnight, doesn’t he?” the Widow Vaduva whispered in Betsy’s ear. “It’s time for me to hurry home,” the widow said grabbing her mink jacket. “He’s been to visit my home almost every year to bless the spider webs on my Christmas tree. Your mother must have never known this! Merry Christmas!”
“Merry Christmas!” Betsy said, hugging the widow. “You are nicer than most of my parents’ friends.” Betsy ran up two flights of stairs to the attic, swinging open the door, only to find the attic in beautiful, artistic webs.
“Oh, I can’t see a thing! Tarantola, you’ve spun so many webs that I can’t even find you! Where are you?” she said.
“I’m right here, Betsy. Isn’t it midnight by now?” Tarantola said, sliding down his web into the palm of her hand.
“It’s five minutes until midnight, but my mother’s party is still going on,” Betsy said. “My parents and their guests will kill you if they see your webs on the tree. My best idea is to wait until they leave and decorate the tree after midnight.”
“I’ll surely die, and so will my family,” Tarantola said. “I can’t wait! Carry us down to the Christmas tree!”
“If you insist, but Father might step on you,” Betsy mumbled, trying to remember where she had last seen the broom.
She gathered Tarantola and his family into her dress pockets, ran down the stairs, and hurried past guests to the tree.
“Here you go! You have about two minutes before the clock strikes midnight,” Betsy said to Tarantola and his relatives.
As Betsy ran to the corner of the room, the spiders scurried up and down the Christmas tree spinning webs.
“Is that a spider?” one of the guests said, noticing a growing web on the tree. “Oh, it can’t be a spider . . .”
“Maybe it is a spider,” the other guest said. “It seems like there’s a growing spider web on the Christmas tree!”
“Aaaah!” one of the older women yelled. “It’s a spider! Kill it! All spiders are evil and dirty little creatures!”
As she began to scream, the grandfather clock struck midnight and bright starlight shone through the dark window. The entire room gasped, and a small child appeared next to the tree, admiring the artfully cast webs on the evergreen.
“Please bless our Christmas tree,” Betsy said, walking next to the Christ Child, who smiled at her with peace.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it,” he said, touching the webs on the tree.
As he touched the webs, they transformed into shining silver tinsel from every branch of the Christmas tree.
Then the Child disappeared in the starlight, as if he was only Betsy’s Christmas wish.
“Oh, you left before I really got to say much to you,” Betsy whispered, hoping the Christ Child could hear her.
Before anyone found Tarantola, she shuffled him and his spider family back into her dress pockets again.
Although Betsy’s parents and their guests were never quite sure what had happened, silver tinsel shone on the evergreen.
Betsy felt more than merry in her heart, knowing that the Christ Child had taken every tangled spider web and made it brilliant. Now if he could only do that for each person on the Earth this Christmas.
Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters