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She had beautiful large trees planted; including a happy palm tree and one large enough for the princess’ tree swing. Nailed to the tree was “Jeronimo’s lucky horseshoe” a gift from Anabel’s dear friend, the swamp spark old codger Innkeeper Salty Took. Perched at the very top was an eagle’s nest and the grim eagle owl represented the first bird to take up residence. There was also a spotted winged parrot and a woodpecker Daphne named Beaky. A little nimble squirrel evaded the wise raven’s bird claw and striking blow of its beak as it attempted to steal crumbs of food from the nest. The raven managed to get away due to its power of flight, but not without leaving trail of black feathers in its wake.
Anabel also wanted a tranquil place to sit and think, an arbor of thoughts laced with intertwining secrets of all things flowery, replicating her wedding arbor. Flower feelings were happy feelings and she wanted to completely enmesh herself in the morning fragrance of the forgiving flower and the red, white, blue and yellow blooms abundant in the nearby Elvyn Forest.
But there was nothing “ordinary” about the Knight’s contribution to the garden. He gave his beautiful princess her very own menagerie. Daphne’s personal zoo included a Baby Mammoth, clever monkey, egghead owl, flirty hippo, golden antlered moose, good natured hedgehog, hopping tiger, joyful penguin, little elephant, little white bear, pink piggy, plush panda, purring manticore, silly seal, voracious lemur, winged cat and a wooly-paw. And each one had their very own personalized pet medallion.
Anabel caught a glimpse of the single red rose, the symbol of youth, in the vase on her dressing table. Her mind wandered gently along corridors of the past as she reached into a drawer and withdrew a large photo album. Brimming with pictures, letters and postcards, some yellow with age, she indulged in a kaleidoscope of memories.
She smiled at the thought of her wedding transportation device, none other than Cinderella’s carriage, first alone on the way to the ceremony, then accompanied by the Knight. There’s no doubt she felt like Cinderella’s slipper, yes that shoe, fit her to a “t.” The everlasting spark of their first meeting mushroomed quickly into everburning flames of love. Each step Anabel took toward her beloved that day stirred up the scent of the exotic flowers strewn in her path by Floraline, her flower girl. The ambrosia of jasmine scent mixed with buds from the white and red rose bushes, together with the festive garland encircling her head epitomized the joy of summer.
Standing before the altar of a thousand candles, the Dwarf Priest searched their faces with an eye of truth, looking for the eternal fire that hopefully would forever burn. His purple cloth of devotion hid the Sacred Key Ring that held the Amber, Celestial, Emerald, Amethyst, Obsidian and Ruby Keys. Their sound reminded Anabel of the golden feathers of her dream catcher tinkling in the breeze, her windy friend. His Novice lit the luminary of truth, whose white hot energy mirrored that of the couple standing before it. Free from his Werewolf personae, the Iron Knight’s kiss that day was as sweet as flower nectar. Timid cupid had turned into a winged troublemaker as they joyfully began their journey towards the new horizon.
The reception was exceptional. Music was provided by a delightful daring trio, plus one; the Bremen Musicians. Their musical instruments included a barrel organ and brass horn that elicited the most enchanted music. According to Arabella’s Prediction Ball, the musicians had once been a donkey (a stubborn mule), a flap-eared puppy (known for canine loyalty), a champion cat (known for her feline grace) and a fire rooster all doomed to the cruel reality of a master’s servant, until stepping through the looking glass and finally tasting the nature of kindness. That gift of the gods represents peerless protection of their unbroken spirit.
The novel Aladdin’s Lamp was a clue to their honeymoon destination and a wedding gift from the Knights father, King Oeland. Such a generous payment! Their private quarters was the last abode of Scheherazade’s treasure, a building totally faced with mountain crystals that shone like diamond sparkles in the eastern sun. From somewhere in the distance, they heard a rooster crow that sounded like a last plea to the sun’s fire heart. And as it turned dusk light, a moon fusion with the stars lit up the impervious ink dark sky and created a momentary touch of greatness. The air, filled with the smell of exotic sweets and sounds of caged songbirds created a dream vision-like impression of the secret of the east.
A palanquin layered with gold of ages and inlaid with a gold (cooldown) amulet on one side and silver (cooldown) amulet on the other was waiting at the door for Anabel and the Knight to enter. Jostling on the shoulders of six men, they headed to their dinner engagement. The route wound around stone pyramids, one of which was rumored to contain a mummy’s sarcophagus. A camel caravan passed by, as well as a white elephant adorned as a war elephant, with a howdah draped in colored beads. There was an enormous airship anchored with large bags of sand being loaded with amber boxes, bronze amphoras, clay tablets and ancient scrolls. Gazing up at the sun’s rays, the airship resembled a cloud boat hovering like a floating comet in the sky. Patiently waiting was a pack ox, a truly exotic beast, laden with genie’s oil lamps.
As the palanquin stopped and was lowered to the ground, men similar to Anabel’s own palace guard, stood at attention. A lady and gentleman emerged; the lady wearing the infamous diadem of worship crown and the gentleman dressed in sultan’s clothes and sultan’s shoes replete with a victorious yataghan tied at his waist. The grandest turban masterpiece with a huge fierce feather fluttering in front encircled his head so tightly it was impossible to see where it began or ended. His demeanor and stature represented that of a beau ideal of a high ranking officer, but the Knight’s warrior medal, with a gold heraldic dragon against the red flag of stamina, did not escape attention.
The tent was strung throughout with colorful pendant lamps and the meal consisted of both exclusive and routine food; golden chicken, turtle egg soup, glorious greens spiced with dreadful ginger, carrots sweetened with honey treat, an odd egg dish, something with sprouts of oblivion that had the look of tentacles hanging out of it, nuts, pumpkin and green grapes. To wash it all down was brewberry wine and a punch concoction made from the crushed grapes of wrath of hundreds of vineyard troll toilers. Steaming bread created wafts of fresh wheat scented smoke.
Anabel was enthralled by the intriguing sounds that came next. A jester juggled swords while the bells on his jester’s cap merrily tinkled. Bella the dancer, her face hidden by a trick of the trade, a suffocating lace, writhed and undulated on her dance rug made of the finest Persian fabrics. Her mystical dance was accompanied by a snake charmer whose midnight guest showed unusual predator dexterity as it began its serpentine climb out of the basket. In the corner sat a Fakir; he and his meditation objects balanced precariously on a flying carpet with no visible trace or means of levitation. The entire scene played out under the eye of a watchful tiger, who Anabel hoped was tame.
Stepping out for a breath of night, Anabel was enjoying the peacocks and the sweet nightingale voice when the sultan surprised her with a gift (for a friend) box that contained a gold genie’s bracelet. To him, she represented the mystery of the west, a wonder of the highest achievement, and he was renowned for being a wonder collector. An age-old adage floated through Anabel’s head about how a gift from a stranger could turn out to be Pandora’s Box. The gift had all the earmarks of a king’s reward, but for what? Just then the soft whir of a bat wing disturbed the evening serenity.
Lulled into a little night delusion and influence of time past, Anabel was startled by a sudden lilting canary song. She glanced up at the antique cuckoo wall clock with the carved gingerbread house and smiled as the little yellow bird continued singing. She chastised herself for daydreaming when she needed to get ready for the celebration.
In the center of Anabel’s dressing table hung a so-called Evil Queen’s Mirror, a lovely antique rumored to be one of many mirrors owned by the infamous Snow Queen (mirror keeper and wife of the horrid Ice King). It was adorned with a golden vignette on either side of a golden wreath. The wreath was dotted with shining jewels. Anabel completely dismissed the whole “evil” thing as a fable that had its origins in a child’s fairy tale book.
Admiring herself in the mirror, illuminated by a single glowing candle end, Anabel was reminded of the old “ounce of pride, pinch of vanity” motto. Still, her hair remained as dark as the ink of night and as long as that flowing from Rapunzel’s tower, eyes the color of round emeralds, her cheeks dusted a pink blush and her lips the color of the wise dragon’s rose moist with morning dew. Her gown for the occasion was rich golden brocade with lace ribbon trim sewn with thread from a golden spool, spun from a golden spindle and needle, as if from Rumpelstiltskin himself. As Anabel sat, her mind once again was enveloped by a breath of memories.
Letting her eyes wander around the room, Anabel caught sight of the princess’s favorite toys…the jack-in-the box with the funny springing-a-head, her gold pony and the stuffed funny wisp doll. Easter had been a warm pleasant holiday and the festivities were through the moon with the addition of Daphne to their happy family. Anabel patiently helped her little princess line up all her bunnies and dress them in various costumes. There was the chimney sweep, cook, stargazer and jester bunnies and the new additions were eagerly awaited. But even better than the dolls, the real live Spring Bunny himself presented Daphne with real bunny twins, a baby boy and baby girl. Tied to one of the rabbit paws was a golden star ring with a round ruby in the center fit for a princess. There was an egg hunter contest, with blue, golden, green and red eggs all up for grabs. And, of course, no end to the chocolate consumed that day. And the glorious Spring Cake was seven layers thick!