There was once a young princess who was very beautiful but also very spoiled. She lived in a magnificent palace and was given anything she asked for. She also never ventured outdoors because she did not want to get dust on her tiny satin slippers or have the sun tint her ivory white skin.
As with all young foolish princesses, she grew bored and listless. “There must be something else I want,” she thought. She happened to see a small ring on the finger of the servant girl who daily brushed the princess’ long silken hair, and an idea came to her. “I will have the most fabulous stone in the world!”
And so it was that young men from the far reaches of the kingdom began to bring huge stones for her to choose. The first brought her a vivid blue sapphire. “It is the color of our sea,” he boasted.
The princess would never travel to look at a sea, so she was not impressed. “The fountain in my own courtyard has lovely water. I have no need of something resembling a sea. Take this stone away.”
The second hopeful man brought a gigantic crimson ruby. “It is the exact color of the sunset over our kingdom,” he proclaimed.
“I do not like the sun; it darkens my skin and hurts my eyes. Take that stone away.” Besides, the red stone reminded her of the time she had pricked her finger and she hated the color of blood.
A third suitor proudly showed the princess the most lovely emerald to be found. “It will remind you of the cooling oasis at the edge of our kingdom,” he announced.
“Foolish man. I would never travel through the dusty sand to see some trees and grass. I have lovely palms the pot around my courtyard,” the overindulged princess cried. “Away with you and your stone.”
The fourth young man presented the princess with a stone that was clear as glass. “This is the plainest, ugliest stone ever,” she pouted.
“Ah, but it is a magic stone that only reveals its secrets at a special time,” said the very wise young man, but I will stay here with you until the stone is ready to show itself to you.” The greedy princess agreed, but asked petulantly each day it the stone were ready to show its wonder.
After many days, a huge rainstorm came through the kingdom. As the rain drops began to disappear, the clever man took the princess to a large window and unwrapped the stone. Immediately, the stone glowed with brilliant bursts of color that astonished the princess. She was so pleased with it that she had the diamond stone fitted to wear on her dainty finger AND she had grown so accustomed to having the young man in the palace, that she asked him to remain with her always.
And, after every storm, he was sure to point the stone at the huge rainbow that followed every rain.
~ E. Sue Sanborn, Redmond, Washington