The Cloud Princess
On a number of occasions the hare had narrowly escaped being killed by the dogs belonging to the chief who owned the lands he so regularly robbed, and he was afraid that one day they would catch him. One day he decided to grow his own crops as he lay exhausted under a bush, recovering from the latest desperate chase. He had only just managed to outwit the swiftly running dogs by doubling back when they lost sight of him for a moment. The following morning he took his hoe and walked to the forest, where he chose a well-hidden, fertile patch of land. He cleared away the grass and then carefully dug and tilled the clods. Eventually he picked the first fruits of his labor. As he ate the juicy cobs, he thought how foolish he had been to risk his life so often in the chief’s maize patch.
But one morning he found, to his annoyance, that maize kernels had been pecked from some of his cobs during the night. Strange birdlike footprints, such as he had never seen before, gave evidence of the theft. “He set traps for the bird robbers and rose early, and as he neared the lands was delighted to hear the fluttering of wings. Looking over the fence, he saw that one bird was indeed trapped in one of the snares, in apparent distress. Never had he seen such a beautiful creature as his captive. Its colors were lovely as the rainbow itself, and in one wing was a pitch-black feather of great length. As the bird struggled the Hare pulled the long black feather from its wing. No sooner had he done this than the bird vanished and a beautiful maiden stood before him demanding her feather. But HARE had no intention of listening to her pleas, and hid the magic feather.
So the Cloud Princess was obliged to stay with him. He was kind to his beautiful prisoner. In return, she swept his hut and did all the household chores. Eventually life settled into a happy routine for them both and as the weeks went by, they fell in love. One day she told the hare that if he would give her back her magic feather she would change him into a human being like herself. At first he mistrusted her, thinking that she wished to play a trick on him and would fly away forever. She assured him, however, that she loved him too dearly to wish to return to her home in the clouds without him. At last he returned the feather to her. No sooner did she hold the feather in her hand than she touched him with it, and he turned into a handsome PRINCE, who at once asked her to marry him. The princess readily consented but wished to return home to receive her father’s blessings for their union. She planted the feather and they climbed through the clouds, to a vast wal and entered in the Cloud Kingdom. The Cloud King was happy to see his daughter but Cloud People have never married those who live on earth and he decided to kill the man who had won her heart. He conspired with the magician to conjure up a mighty hailstorm on the big plain that stretches to the horizon between my kingdom and the neighboring territory and sent the Prince on an errand across the plain, where the hail would kill him.”
Unbeknownst to the king, a little green bird was sunning herself nearby and she warned the Princess who immediate flew to the Prince aid, covering him with a protective shield against the hail and healing his wounds. Realsing her father would never accept an earthling as his son, the Princess decided to leave with the Prince.
The Cloud King sent his army after them but he did not want any harm to come to his daughter so the magician transformed into an owl and attacked the Prince who fought him off bravely. Then the Cloud King transformed into a hawk and was about to drop him to his death when the Princess offered up her magic powers for his life. The Cloud King set him down and as they ran towards each other to embrace the Princess tripped and was about to fall to her death when the Prince rescued her and began falling to his death. The Cloud King rescues the Prince and realizing that they love each other so much that the Princess was willing to sacrifice everything for the Prince and he in turn willing to give up his life for her, he gives them his blessings and a home befitting a King and Queen, where they ruled over their people wisely and well, remembering that even though we look different from each other, we are more the same then we are different. You only need to look beyond the outward appearance of someone and into their heart.
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