Once upon a time there was a bold young king in The Green Valley Beyond The Blue Mountains. He had curly hair which was as red as maple leaves in October, and his eyes were a glittering grey like the clear, clean water of a mountain stream. He was active in the rule of his kingdom, but happiest when he could wander the wild hills hunting for mountain goats and on the lookout for eagles' nests.
One day when he was especially far from home, he realised that he couldn't get back to the castle before dark. He found a place with soft, green grass where he lay down and slept.
The next morning when he awoke, chilled to the bone by the dank night air, he decided that, since he was already so far from home, he might as well go on and see where that would bring him.
It wasn't long before he found himself at the border of the neighbouring kingdom, The Land of Boundless Forests. He crossed the border, The Meandering River, and soon he was on his way into the forest silence. He could hardly hear his own footsteps, deadened as they were by the dark green star moss and the centuries-old layers of withered pine needles.
The sun's rays sparkled through the tight foliage and cast vivid shadows on everything in the forest. For a long time, he went further and further in, until he suddenly realised that the sun was already low in the sky.
He began going back towards The Green Valley, but quickly noticed that he had lost his way. All the trees looked alike and he had been so taken up with seeing and experiencing the forest that he had forgotten to take note of where he had walked.
When it got dark, he had still not found a way out of the forest. All of a sudden, he saw a brighter patch through the trees. He hurried towards it and found himself in a large meadow in the forest.
In the middle of the meadow, there was a lake, shining green like jade and along the edge of the lake stood bulrushes, whispering with their heavy, downy heads.
The sun's final rays wove glowing bands with the dusk's shadowy blue mist and out of this mist, the most delightful melody came dancing. It was
like harps, flutes and bells. A complete harmony of gentle, soft,
tinkling tones. Appearing as if out of
nothing, as if fashioned from the mist's light veil,
he suddenly saw a young girl dancing across the meadow. Her feet hardly touched the ground, her raven hair swayed behind her and her lips were as red as ripe cranberries.
The young king was captivated. He walked towards her. She opened her eyes and he saw that they were as deep and green as the lake itself. For what seemed like an eternity, they danced together under the pale light of the moon, right up until the dawn awakened the slumbering sky.
Then the young girl looked deep into the king's eyes, slipped out of his arms and ran down towards the lake. She ran out into the lake and dived down under the broad leaves of the water lilies, and he followed her.
He noticed the cold water closing over him, his lungs bursting and ears buzzing, but he thought, "I will never ever let her escape from me. I would rather die than live without her."