In a far, far off land a deranged king wore an enchanted crown. In a realm where its subjects lived happily a kindly emperor held an enchanted sword. Since there's every reason to believe the unearthly golden matter was interchangeable and equal in all directions like the sun's rays, it follows that, by head or by hand the regalia took on a reflection of their possessors' heart. If merciful, the gold became inlaid with exquisite jewels. If cruel, the precious metal grew encrusted with sharp spines. And because fate is fond of irony, the transfiguring gold fraternal twin spectacles cared nothing about the affairs of the world. They would never use their magical powers to call upon humans meaning the magical treasures could be stolen, lost, passed into the fabric of mythology, forgotten... just waiting to be discovered once more.

The living embodiment of greed wearing the crown kept a towering fortress on top of a mountain high above a dystopian city in the midst of a haunted wood. One day, through a set of luckless circumstances two wandering vagabonds arrived announcing they were tailors who weaved the most splendid apparel imaginable. "If it pleases Your Majesty," said the couturiers, "then we will dress you in the new attire." The supreme stood and the animated costumiers placed themselves around him and put on each part of his new clothing.

"Such a long, big, beautiful suit!" The narcissistic ruler turned to admire his reflection in a large bubble made of volcanic glass. "There has never been a time, with few exceptions, that a king ever looked this good," he proclaimed to his court of coddling, parasitic sycophants. Suddenly the heavy doors of the throne room opened. A farmer burst in accusing the tailors of stealing nosebags from his horses. The vulgar king looked down at the work of artifice in realization. The deceitful pair was roughly thrown into the dungeon.

The miscreant king sat for some time lost in thought. At last he said to his obsequious underlings, "What value is the finest robe if it can be destroyed by moths. I mean a lot of moths. I must have the partner of my mystic crown, its sword. Send my spies to find the enchanted brand and bring it to me. Then I shall be invincible for all times, period!"

After some length the bloviating king's agents found the revered emperor's fairy tale palace surrounded by lavish gardens and well-tended lawns. Then they waited until night. The dearly beloved sovereign put the sword inside its case and soon he was asleep. Imagine the ruler's despair when he woke and the sword was nowhere to be found! But by that time the mercenaries had disappeared with their golden prize. The emperor filled the palace with mournful lamentations.

Princess Ababuo heard the paroxysm of weeping and rushed to her father's chamber. The girl found councilors plunged into a sea of sorrow and almost immediately her resolution manifested in an epiphany. "Oh, do not be downcast," her expression hardened with an imbued sense of purpose and destiny. "I will regain the sword."

The advisers were circumspect, but the princess was very clever and could do a good deal more than just ride about in a fancy coach seated on cushions. The emperor had great faith in his unconventional daughter and bestowed her with his ancestral suit of armor of consummate workmanship with a prominent crested helmet, a corselet and greaves of nearly impenetrable temper, all adapted perfectly to her form.

Rose of Sharon blooms in the garden

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