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A Story About a Prince

"Tell us a story, Grandpa!"
Begged the children.
"About whom shall I tell you tonight?"
Asked the grandfather.
"Tell us a story about a prince,"
They all pleaded.
So the grandfather told:

Once upon a time
Many, many years ago
A mighty king had an only son
Whom he loved very much.
But one day the prince did a very silly thing
And rebelled against his father
So the king banished his son from his palace
And handed him over
To a cruel slave-people
Who dwelled in the depths of a valley
In one of the countries of his kingdom
And so said the king to them:
"See, I have placed my son
In your hands to enslave him
To do with him whatever you please
Until the day that I shall remember him
To return him from his exile.
And this shall be the sign to you:
A burning torch
I shall place in my window
Overlooking your valley
Where it shall constantly burn
And when the day comes that my son
Lifts up his soul
In regret and yearning
Toward my palace on the hilltop
And attaches an imploring look
To the glow in my window --
On that day
The days of his enslavement shall come to an end
And he shall be set free."

The prince was put in chains
And taken down to the valley
To the slave quarters
And his enslavers said
To each other:
"Let us outwit
The prince
Lest he lift his eyes
And gaze upon
The light of the palace
And be redeemed."
So they oppressed him with their labors
And made bitter his life --
Until the profusion of toil
And shortness of spirit
Made him forget his father's house
And the sign of his redemption.

The enslavers of the prince
Further plotted
They contrived to build
High walls
And to plant
A thick forest
To interpose between the prince
And the window of his father's palace
They placed upon him taskmasters
And he built fortified walls
And he planted a thicket of trees
Around the vale of his captivity
And these are the walls he built:
A wall of distress
A wall of fear
A wall of hate
A wall of sorrow
A wall of despair.
And these are the trees he planted:
A tree of rapacity
A tree of forgetfulness
A tree of jealousy
A tree of strife.

But no one knew
That if the captive prince
Would only raise
One yearning look
The walls would fall away
The forest would disappear
And the light of his redemption
Would be glowingly revealed.
But the toil of his heart
Bowed the soul of the prince
To the dust
And his eyes remained glued to the ground...

The grandfather tells his story
And the grandchildren fall asleep
Only black-eyed Shoshana
Is listening still
With a wakeful heart
And an attentive soul.
She implores her grandfather:
"When will the prince
Muster the strength
And lift up his gaze
Toward his ray of redemption?"
And the grandfather replies:
"Every day
I awake and hope
That this shall be the day
When in the darkness
Of the prince's heart
Ignites a spark
Of yearning memory
For the glow of his freedom..."

From the Hebrew by Yanki Tauber, originally published on www.chabad.org .

Copyright © 1942-2024 Family Steinmetz. Reproduction or copying of this material is permitted if the source is cited.

Miknaf Ha'aretz

• The All-Inclusive (p. 8)

• Through Tranquility and Turmoil (p. 10)

• The Authors of the Tosfos (p. 12)

• A Prayer in the wee Hours (p. 13)

• Freedom of Choice (p. 16)

• The One (p. 17)

• The Spark That Shall Never Die (p. 20)

• The Luminaries of the Generation (p. 25)

• Eternity (p. 37)

• The Memory of the Souls (p. 38)

• The Cry of the Holy Sparks (p. 46)

• Is This Man? (p. 52)

• Tear (p. 77)

• The Ascent of the Tzaddik (p. 89)

• The Dejected's Prayer (p. 96)

• Night (p. 120)

• The Heights of the Holy (p. 144)