The Heart on the Other Side of the World


heart-silver-box“Once upon a time there lived a girl whose heart was born on the other side of the world…

When she was born, she sang a single note of sorrow because she could feel her heart strongly, but also knew that it was lost and she would spend many years trying to find it.

As a young woman, she thought that it must be nearby because it felt sure and close in her soul.

She met a young alchemist whose talent lay in creating magical creatures out of gold and precious gems, and thought perhaps he could make one. He cast a golden heart for her, encrusted with diamonds and sapphires, but as beautiful as it was, alas, it did not fit the space where her own heart belonged.

The alchemist parted, weeping that he could not create the right heart for her.

Years passed, and the girl grew older. She began imagining that she could hear her heart in the City of Mists, and so she traveled there in search of it. There she met an evil magician who told her that he had found her heart, but there was a price to be paid for it: that she must abandon all her family and kneel before him. Blinded by her desire to have her heart, and deceived by the glamour he wore, she knelt.

But of course the evil magician didn’t have her heart, only a twisted piece of dead wood. He tried and tried to force the dead thing into the space where her heart should be, but of course it would not fit. Enraged that the girl could not change the shape of the space, the evil magician beat and burned her until she could take no more. Finally realizing that he never had her heart, the girl left under cover of darkness, and hid for three days while the magician searched for her. But the spell was broken, and he gave up, knowing she was lost to him.

Somewhat wiser, and sadder, the girl traveled north to the Land of Rains to heal her broken body. There she met a bard who made her laugh and helped her sing. Thinking perhaps the heart he possessed would fit, or nearly so, she stayed seven years. But in time, the music turned sour and the laughter rang false as the ill-fitting heart grew more sore in its wrong space. The bard saw this and was sad, but set her free, knowing that, even though the heart he carried was not a perfect fit for hers, sweet memories would stay with them both.

Many years passed.

The girl gradually came to understand how far away her heart truly was.

She wandered in sorrow and loneliness until one day, a healer appeared whose healing tool was music. He had traveled from across the world with her heart in a great silver box, which he had carried for half a century, not knowing whose heart it was, but knowing he must bring it to its home.

He heard the girl, now middle-aged, singing a mournful song to his dreams one night. He knew that hers was the voice to whom the heart belonged. He found her in the Land of the Sun and stood before her, the great silver box in his hands singing of its own accord as it came closer to her. She reached for it with trembling hands, but he held it away from her. Surprised, she looked questioningly into his gentle eyes. “Tell me a story first,” he said to her, “and I will make a healing song of it.”

So she spoke a rhyme to him of the love she knew was in her missing heart. He wept for joy, for it was the song he had heard in his dreams and knew that the heart belonged to her.

He made a song for her of the poem he had twice heard, and for the first time in her life, the girl felt whole. He held the box out to her, but this time, she pushed it gently back toward him. “You have kept it safe all these years. It belongs to you now.”

As she spoke the words, she could feel the space, empty her whole life, swell and fill with a perfectly-fitting heart.

The healer had given her his heart, which was exactly the shape of her own.

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