Isabella and the Orphan
Isabella and the Orphan
Once upon a time there lived a great king whose glories and strength were known far and wide. His friends respected him immensely while his enemies feared him, terribly. And although the King had all the pleasures one could ever wish for, yet he was extremely sore about one thing. He had three daughters, Amanda, Lilly and Isabella and he excessively feared for their safeties. He very well knew that nothing can touch them while he ruled the kingdom of Utopia, “but what would happen to them should he die in a war?” was the question that often haunted him at nights.
One day the king went to the room of his little daughters and to his great surprise found all the three girls engaged deeply in their respective hobbies. Amanda, the oldest of the trio, was busy decorating her tiara; Lilly, twisting her lips in a beautiful way, was sorting out the dress she would wear at the evening ball. And while the two sisters were busy preparing for the evening dance, to the king’s greatest amazement, his third daughter and also the youngest one, Isabella, with her pencil was pretending to kill invisible enemies. The king didn’t like it at all and in a voice both grave and serious he ordered Isabella to rather give up on the fake sword and follow her elder sisters’ mannerisms.
When the evening arrived and the dancing started, the king advanced to the dais in order to make an announcement. He seemed extremely happy and satisfied! Amanda and Lilly, both dressed in silk and diamonds, looked up to their father’s announcement in anticipation. Isabella, on the other hand, forced in an awkward cotton midi, stood at a corner, looking bored.
“Ladies and gentleman” begin the king, “As you all know that for long I had been spending nights and days in the fear of leaving my daughters alone in the mercy of god; but no more of that! I have found a cousin for them. A brother who would, through thick and thin, take care of all of them!”
Saying this, the king shoved a boy, who perhaps was two years elder to Amanda, in front. He was as ugly as a crow and if rumors were to be believed, his mother left him behind in the orphanage just after giving birth to him for she was afraid of his dark color and deep grey eyes. Nobody said a word! The entire crowd looked at the boy breathlessly; they wanted to utter words like “Disgusting” and “what a piece of filth” then and there but checked their tongues on time, luckily. From then on it was decided the boy would be to live with them!
Amanda and Lilly never spoke with him; they loathed him; they felt embarrassed on being called upon his sisters. One day Isabella, who until date had remained away from the ugly boy, happened to walk over to the hills near the palace. The boy was sprawled on the lush green grass and was counting and establishing the positions of the twinkling stars. “What are you doing?” asked Isabella timidly. All along she had known what her sisters thought of him and so she treaded the conversation ultra cautiously.
“It is the Orion” he said, pointing his fingers towards a constellation of the shape of a hunter. Dear Isabella, with the heart of a seeker, could not help lying down next to him and looking up at the Orion. “Why it is called Orion and not Hunter?” asked a curious Isabella. This time the boy turned over to her side, looked into her eyes and gently whispered “because Orion was cursed”. Looking in those grey eyes something belled inside Isabella’s tummy and to check its consequences, she sat down immediately and asked him in a bored manner, “What curse?”
Like a magnet he got up too- his lips still formed in a smile- and in the same magical way he answered, “He made the mistake of loving the beautiful Artemis”. “And who was Artemis?” asked Isabella, failing to hide her curiosity. “Seriously you don’t know anything!” he cheeked and brushed her hair in a playful manner, “She was a Greek hero”, he added. For the first time in her life Isabella had blushed and that too as red as a rose. And although she had often made fun of her sisters who would go red at anything said to them by men, yet here she was getting redder about something entirely childish. To hide her embarrassment, she quickly got on her feet and shouted at the top of her voice, “You Orphan! You black beast! How dare you touch me?” And with that she walked past him, wiping the tears off her eyes, secretly.
When at dinner, he didn’t show up, the king got worried and asked the three girls, “Why isn’t the orphan boy at table?” Isabella, who had seen his sisters insulting him openly, couldn’t understand why he should take her insults exceptionally as it was the first time he had missed his dinner. When the dinner got over and everybody had retired to their rooms, Isabella stood outside his room wondering how to make him eat at least a morsel of food.
“I am sorry!” she whispered, leaning towards the door. “I didn’t mean a single word I said there.” And as no reply came from inside, she pressed, “I know you are hungry; look I have brought food for you. Please come out and eat.” Another no show! The guilt was too much for Isabella’s sweet and little heart, she no more could resist the dam of tears she had been holding on to for so long. The door opened and the boy pulled her inside; he wiped away her tears, took the plate from her hands and ate until the plate was as clean as nothing. He then told her that he wanted to sleep, which of course had hurt Isabella. She thought him rude and selfish. But before she could leave the room in a flush of anger, again, he held her hand and said, “Artemis could not have been more beautiful than you.”
From that day on they became the best of the friends! They spent nights and days together, talking about constellations, palaces, armies and gods. They were inseparable companions and Amanda and Lilly, who thought them fit only for each other, often made fun of them. One day the king decided that it is time the Orphan boy goes to other kingdom to get his lessons in war and weaponry and it would be about six years before he comes back. He went away and Isabella with a broken heart dreamt of him day in and day out. The years passed and all the three girls continued with their lives as smoothly as before. After the end of six years, when the orphan boy returned, he was surprised to find that Amanda, who now was 24, had turned into a divine beauty. For the moment he could not take his eyes off her. And Amanda and Lily, who had earlier hated even the sight of him, too had noticed how six years of excessive physical training and healthy food had done him immense good. He looked as handsome as a Greek god! After his return, the king got extremely happy and turned down from his throne. It was just a matter of seconds and he became the new king of Utopia.
He tried very hard, in fact desperately, to have a proper conversation with Isabella, but Isabella, ashamed of her appearance in contrast to her two gorgeous sisters, kept the distance, wide. She didn’t want him to treat her with pity; she wanted him to marry the girl he liked the most. Soon the boy got tired of chasing Isabella and gave up on her. So when the king asked Amanda who is she willing to marry and she named him, he didn’t resist. Because the pain was excruciating and it was necessary to kill it in the nib, Isabella swallowed poison.
For nights he had been watching her; her memories haunted him; he wasn’t able to pass a single night in peace. And so on that day when he saw her walking up to the terrace with a bottle in her hands, he had run straight to the tower. But when he reached there, she had committed the inevitable; she had taken her life. Now he was alone; all on his own. He took her in embrace and gave out a cry full of pain and anguish. And when his cries and yells had gained enough attention and when Amanda had seen him breathing hard and talking gaspingly, he kissed Isabella full on her lips, repeating, “Why did you do this to me when I loved you with all I had?”
To everyone’s surprise the woman lying pallid and dead a moment hence suddenly came back to life. The boy looked at the love of his life with apprehension and ecstasy. Suddenly the king walked up to them and told them the story of Isabella who he said was a cursed child. “Isabella”, he said “was the result of my illegitimate relations with a dancer. And when my wife came to know of it, she died of a broken heart. But before she died, she cursed Isabella that she would die at a young age too, of course, unless a man who loved her truly comes to her death bed and kisses her”
Tears rolled down the eyes of everyone and the orphan, embracing Isabella tighter, asked her to marry him. She agreed and soon they were pronounced man and wife.
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