Once upon a time, in a far away and very peculiar kingdom, there lived a girl.
Now, she was not your usual child for she was headstrong and not at all as nice girls should be; and she demanded far more of the world around her than was seemly.
She constantly complained about the lack of love, the lack of care, the lack of attention; she asked for things, and when she didn't get them, got furiously angry and screamed most loudly; and worse still, she often refused to do things she considered to be stupid, boring, painful or pointless.
She was a very difficult girl.
In the peculiar kingdom in which this girl lived, it was held to be best practice to make sure that all children grow up and expect nothing, want nothing, hope for nothing and desire nothing at all, lest they would be disappointed, and the adults there were adamant that children had to learn this early on, so that they would grow up and never question that there was no point to anything at all, at least not any kind of point that would make any sense to anyone with half a brain.
But try as they might, and they did really try with all their might to make the young girl behave herself, she just wouldn't stop complaining about the things she didn't want to eat, to hear, to understand, to see and to feel.
So she found herself, young as she was, at war with the entire peculiar kingdom.
This war started first thing in the morning and as soon as she got up, and it really never ended for as long as she was awake, and even though her life really was a nightmare, she just couldn't stop asking for a different world, a better world.
When she got old enough to carefully creep down the bottom of the stairs and sneak out of the back door without anyone observing her and catching her, so that she might be put to some new work or lesson that would teach her how to behave correctly in the ways of the peculiar kingdom, she went outside and there, she found a better world, just like she had always been insisting should exist.
Outside, and far away from all those peculiar rules and regulations, tasks and demands, there was a different life.
There was a sky with clouds that could be anything; and these clouds never screamed at the little girl.
There were trees and grass and flowers, and these would never ask her to start digging, chopping, cutting, working.
There was a little brook with quick and lively water, beautiful in sun or rain, and it just flowed and giggled and it never looked at the little girl full of resentment or reproach.
There was rain which fell from the sky and never complained how dirty she was, or how ugly; it tickled and slid cold in pretty drops over her skin and nestled in her hair and it didn't care at all to tell her to be quiet when she felt like she wanted to say something, or to sing.
This new world which lay both outside as well as within the borders of the peculiar kingdom was everywhere, and there, the little girl found a place of freedom, joy and wonder, and she would do just what she could to make it so that she could go there as much as possible, for this other world had healing powers, and if she could be there just a time within each day, then it was easier to stand against the torrent of abuse and rage, neglect and sheer insanity that was the order of the day, prescribed by law for all the citizens within the most peculiar kingdom.
The new world gave her strength, and that was not at all what those who tried to train her in their most peculiar ways would like to see, for they saw it as being all their tasks to break her from her strange ideas and have her be the same as all the other children who sat pale and quiet, lied and learned to lie until they knew no longer truth from fabrication.
So it was decided for her own good so they said to put her in a place where she could not escape; where there was nothing but the walls and many other children being trained all day and most the night to be good citizens of the peculiar kingdom.
They put her into a prison cell and locked the door.
The girl, she cried; she raged and shouted, but it was to no avail. The walls were solid and the doors were solid too; there was no window and the world outside was now no longer there to help her, give her strength and the reminder that there are quite different ways of being, doing, feeling and experiencing the world.
She cried and screamed for many, many days to no avail, and then a dark night came upon her and she might have been re-educated at that moment, but when it came, and when the question came as if she only had imagined all that other life of joy, of beauty and of freedom, and that it really wasn't there at all as all the other, bigger ones had always held and always sworn, it was as though a light streamed right into her prison cell and she ...
She remembered the feel of wind in her hair, and the heat of the golden sunshine straight into her back and radiating hot and golden through and through, into her arms, into her feet; she remembered the little brook and the sweet clear water, flowing always, endlessly, uncatchable, and then the rain, the perfect little spheres and droplets, making perfect circles in a puddle; she remembered the earth soft giving, slippery between her toes and she remembered the colours when the sun goes down, more radiant, more beautiful than all and anything the lost ones from the kingdom had to offer or did think so valuable, or precious.
She took the memories and lovingly, assembled them in time and space within her mind, within her being, and she held them there and clear and bright, and there it was, her world, her one and only world, and it was there, and it was with her even here in this dark night, in this dark prison cell of stone.
The world of beauty, it had come and it had come to her; and once this happens to a little girl or to a little boy, it cannot be undone, not by a thousand beatings or a million insults; it cannot be undone by pain, by suffering, or by the many, many words, no matter if they are screamed right into your face or sneaky poison dripping guilt and shame.
The world of beauty, which the girl decided to be known just as the real world, it had come and never did it leave the little girl again. Eventually, her strength was making all the teachers and the trainers weary for they did not have such a power, such a magic and such truth to nourish them or to sustain them, and their fear would go so far, but could not ever stand against the power and the beauty of the sun and rain, of trees and little creatures, soaring birds and mountain rock, and deep inside they knew this too.
They had to let her go.
The girl went back to her old home in the peculiar kingdom and went on with her life. It was hard, and she never did stop complaining about the miserableness of it all that everyone seemed to take for granted still, but she had found herself, had found her world, had found her freedom and so everything was really, quite alright.
This is one of the metasong stories, fairy tales from The Golden Horse - Stories For The Eternal Child