Heart of Stone
Long ago there lived a maiden with long black hair of silk, deep blue eyes, a perfect nose, chin, and glowing skin. She had long lush lashes and smelled like jasmine, yet was vain and shallow.
A marriage between the maiden and Prince William had been arranged by their parents, but the more William thought about it, the more he knew it could not be. This beautiful young lady spent hours on her beauty, endlessly brushing her hair. Underneath her lovely shell lived a self-centered but lonely girl.
Her name was Vanity, and it suited her. She would stroke cream all over her face and body until she glowed radiantly. By the time she would be ready to go out, William no longer felt like going, but off they would walk together. They had no conversation, no similar interests, and no chemistry.
They would sit in the deep green forest by the sparkling lake. All Vanity would do was gaze at the reflection of her fine silk and lace dress in the lake.
Vanity did not see William with love and compassion. He was just a tool to buy her treasures, creams, robes, and precious jewelry. She did not see him as a companion to share hopes, dreams, pains, or growing old together. With such great differences as a couple, what kind of children could they raise?
Imagine living with such distress, not for a minute, an hour, much less for a lifetime. With strong conviction Prince William looked her in the eyes and informed her that the wedding would never be. Vanity looked puzzled and blurted out, “This cannot be happening!” All that worried Vanity was what people would think and who would buy her robes, creams, and jewels. Her biggest fears were not about love because she had a heart of stone.
The wise young prince walked Vanity back home and wished her well. From there Prince William went to face his mother and father with respect and dignity. Back at the castle, the king and queen listened to their son’s feelings and desires. The couple loved each other very much, as they indeed loved their two sons, whom they conceived.
But a promise is a promise. They had given their word about the arranged marriage to Vanity’s family, and their word was as good as gold. Yet they had to spare their son such dismay because they loved him so.
Their younger son, Prince Charming, was naive and had a crush on Vanity’s beauty and fine clothing. Overhearing the discussion, he volunteered to carry out the promise of marriage.
Both families met in Vanity’s palace to plan her destiny once again. Both sets of parents reached an agreement. Vanity seemed pleased and did not mind as long as her needs were met. Prince Charming looked forward to a life with such flawless beauty. He spent hours gazing at her and admiring the perfection of his future bride.
Winter turned to spring, with flowers blooming and the breeze so sweet. Prince William decided to ride his horse along the forest’s edge. His horse galloped so elegantly. His mind was clear and fresh, when from a distance he spotted a plain young lady caring for quite a few animals. She caught his attention because she seemed so happy, singing and dancing freely.
The wise young prince approached Joy, the cheerful girl, and within moments both felt an attraction. They talked and talked and enjoyed each other’s company. The Prince came back day after day. William and Joy would sit or walk, holding hands as if they were one. If he was down, she would lift up his spirits, and he would do the same for her. Some days they talked much, and other days they welcomed silence, but it always felt as though they were on the same page.
Joy did not care much about fancy clothes or fine linens. She only cared endlessly about William’s heart, mind, and soul. Caring for animals and flowers came naturally to Joy. For his part, Prince William was not afraid of sweat on his forehead or working with his hands in the fields. On the contrary, he felt much satisfaction in living as simply as he could.
Prince William had longed for a lifelong companion. The right one did come along. Call it fate and what was written by the power from above. True love is when the newness and passion slow down, yet the trust, comfort, and friendship still remain and grow.
After a year of courtship the prince broke the news to the king and queen. They were pleased to see that their older son had found his true soul mate.
The prince went to Joy’s parents and asked her hand in marriage. Joy’s plain and simple parents were happy to view such love in the couple’s eyes. Blessings were in order, and hugs and kisses followed as well. Acceptance, kindness, and warmth filled the air in their home.
Those who did not know Joy and her family well would have thought that they had no wealth. The clothes they wore had to be comfortable; there was no need to impress the rain, sleet, or snow. What really mattered was nurturing and encouraging, and doing for others less fortunate.
The king and queen planned a double wedding for their two sons. Noble families were invited, as were people from the nearby town. It did not matter how much gold was in their pockets, just the gold that blessed their hearts.
It all happened for a reason. Both couples lived happily ever after, because each couple valued something different.
Vanity constantly brushed her hair while Prince Charming continued staring at her flawless beauty. He did not agree with people who thought that Vanity had a heart of stone. He loved her and did not see her as shallow or conceited. In her own way, Vanity also came to love Prince Charming. She experienced a love she had never felt before.
Prince William and Joy liked each other’s company and glorious smiles, and felt their love. They would gaze at each other with sparkling eyes. Prince William and Joy shared the bond of devotion, commitment, and affection until eternity and forever more.
Heart of Stone Ana Monnar (Author)
Nancy Michaud (Illustrator)
Linda Weinerman (Editor)
Reading level: Ages 9-12
No part of this story may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in any retrieval system without the written permission from the author. Reviewers may use excerpts or brief passages for book reviews.
First published by
Readers Are Leaders U.S.A.
Copyright Ó Ana Monnar