A Modern Asian Fairy Tale

Fiction by | February 8, 2009

There was this teenaged princess from Southeast Asia who, tired of all the political maneuverings and killings and dissent and poverty unsolved by parliament, sneaked out of the country incognito by wearing a wig and a tailored suit, her crown in a hatbox as hand-carried luggage. Landed in a small Philippine airport, found a small house to stay in the middle of a coconut plantation, then walked to town to pawn her crown.

The rural atmosphere suited her needs, also it was just like home—the land, the trees, the air, the trade. Helped a farmer by burning coconut shells for charcoal, sold these to the barbecue people out in the stands at the town streets, and saved up her money so she could get back her crown.

Came the day when she had enough for this purpose, located her pawn ticket and walked to town. Was she in for a big surprise. The pawnshop door sported gold paint with some black scroll designs, and there in the middle of the door a brass knocker in the form of a lion’s head. She knocked and the door was opened by a man dressed in tribal clothes, tight pants and barefooted, with a tight long-sleeved vest to match, carrying a long spear.

Against the main wall was the pawnshop-keeper wearing the crown—her crown—on his head. He had grown his hair long and was wearing a maroon velvet robe with gems in it—Sulu pearls and some red and blue stones. The long, wide sleeves had braids. He was seated on a throne-like chair with lion-head armrests. The wall was draped with golden cloth. His feet were sandaled and rested on a maroon velvet cushion. The ethnic slave made her bow to the shopkeeper, pointing his spear to give directions. She took out her purse and offered the money signaling for her crown.

The shopkeeper smiled at her with much kindness, righting her crown on his head, and told her to go away. She never got it back.

In the end, she married the coconut farmer who had two teenage sons almost as old as herself. Their mother had died long ago, and she still lives there.

When the jet planes take off or land, the coconuts fall down. This made for a good harvest all the time. They added the next farms in all directions of the compass, got very rich, and lived happily ever after.

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