Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

He was terribly tired. And his ruthless queen asked him more. Again! She had exhausted all his resources. Yet she was still not satisfied. He had given him the deserts of hot sand where the wind, coming straight from the bowels of the sun, scorched the caravans laden with spices and fabrics.

“ Again!” She had said. He had offered her, on a silver platter, the Big and the Little Dipper, Cassiopeia, and so that she would never get lost: the Star of the Shepherd. Out of devotion, he had even traced a constellation in the sky with his name.

“ Again!” He had then gone to seek the sleeping wrecks at the bottom of the ocean and had unearthed all the treasures for her: pirate swords, coded scrolls, gold coins. Wasted effort.

“ Again!” She demanded, clenching her tiny fists. He had given up and with a last effort, had climbed to the top of the mountains where eternal snow never melts. He’d brought her the ibexes hanging from the steep sides, the lone edelweiss, and the fossils trapped in the glaciers.

But she still wanted more. So he got angry, exasperated by these whims he could never satisfy. He looked at her, suddenly worried that he had lost his temper. Her rosy mouth was closed, her eyes widened, two round pearls begging, begging. Then she curled up against him and in her soft voice, whispered, “Please! A small, nothing but a very small…” Resigned sigh. Alright … He had cleared his throat, hugged his daughter’s warm body against him, and started again, “Once upon a time …”

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