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This story has to begin long ago when wishing still wielded some result, in times of old when nature and humanity were on more favorable terms. In a realm where the subjects lived happily a kindly emporer held an enchanted sword. In a far, far distant country a vain king who only cared about power wore an enchanted crown. Since there's every reason to believe the magical golden matter was interchangeable and equal in all directions like the sun's rays, it follows that, by head or by hand the crown and sword took on a reflection of their owner's heart. If merciful, the gold became inlaid with exquisite jewels. If cruel, the precious metal grew encrusted with sharp spines. And because fate is fond of irony, the transfiguring gold could be stolen, lost, forgotten in time waiting to be discovered once more.

The treacherous king kept a towering fortress on top of a mountain high above a city in the midst of a haunted wood. One day, through a set of luckless circumstances two wandering vagabonds arrived announcing they were tailors who weaved the most beautiful apparel imaginable. "If it pleases Your Majesty," said the couturiers, "then we will dress you in the new attire." The ruler stood and the animated costumiers placed themselves around him and put on each part of his new clothing.

"Such a long, big, beautiful suit!" The narcissistic king, whom once considered marrying a fair cousin half his age, but his love for himself won out, turned to admire his reflection in a large blown-glass bubble. "This is what winning looks like. There has never been a time, with few exceptions, that a king ever looked this good," he proclaimed to his court of parasitic sycophants. Suddenly the heavy doors of the throne room opened. A farmer burst in accusing the tailors of stealing nosebags from his horses. The king looked down at the robe and realized what it was made of. The deceitful pair was roughly thrown into the dungeon.

The miscreant king sat for some time lost in thought. At last he said to his obsequious underlings, "What value is the finest robe if it can be destroyed by moths. I mean a lot of moths. I must have the partner of my mystic crown, its sword. Send my spies to find the enchanted brand and bring it to me. Then I shall be invincible for all times, period!"

After some length the bloviating king's agents found the emperor's palace surrounded by lavish gardens and well-tended lawns. Then they waited until night. The dearly beloved sovereign put the sword inside its case and soon he was asleep. Imagine the ruler's despair when he woke and the sword was nowhere to be found! But by that time the mercenaries had disappeared with their prize. The emperor lamented his misfortune loudly.

Princess Sojourner heard the paroxysm of weeping and rushed to her father's chamber. The girl found councilors gathered around in sorrow. "Oh, do not be downcast," her expression hardened with a with a sense of purpose and destiny. "I will regain the sword."

The advisers were unsure, but the princess was very clever and could do a good deal more than just ride about in a fancy coach seated on cushions. The emperor had great faith in his daughter and bestowed her with his ancestral suit of armor.

Rose of Sharon blooms in the garden

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