The Secret Prince: Chapter 75 — Missing Mother

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Ronduin did not expect the tears that filled his eyes and ran down his cheeks. He thought this would be a moment of excitement, the beginning of a time of running freely across barn hill, a time when he was no longer stuck in the castle, away from friends. 

But, at this moment, as his parents slipped out of sight through the trees, he felt lost. For the first time ever he would go through his days unable to see his mother. The king had sometimes traveled to far off lands, but his mother had never left the castle overnight without him. Now he missed her with all his heart. 

Ronduin’s parents would travel across the causeway and then walk far up beyond the barn. Here they would live at the edge of the great open green space in the royal tent. They would supervise the setting up of the great festival on the high field. 

Then the great festival would begin.  Even though it was summer, it would be a combination of the annual Spring Festival and the sheep shearing festival. Almost everyone from the village and the entire kingdom would be there to celebrate the ending of the flooded times.

Behind him Ronduin heard merry voices from the kitchen at barn hill where Mirabel, Rowan and Cook Agnes were busy washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. 

Suddenly Ronduin felt very tired. He made his way around the barn and found his way up to the loft where he sat cross legged gazing up at the shafts of light streaming through the cracks in the roof. Now he pulled his throwing sacks out of his pockets. They felt heavy and tired, so he didn’t ask them to juggle. He lay back on the wooden floor, placed the sacks on his chest and, gazing at the shafts of light, fell into a deep slumber. 

He woke to Rowan’s voice shouting, “I found him. We haven’t lost our prince so we don’t have to light the signal fire. He’s sound asleep up here in loft.”

“I’m not asleep now,” muttered Ronduin, sitting up and tucking his throwing sacks back in his pockets. 

“I’m not surprised you fell asleep,”said Rowan. “It’s been a busy time.”

Ronduin rubbed his eyes and yawned.

“I hope you’re hungry,” continued Rowan. “Bread is in the oven. Cook Agnes and Mirabel are stirring the pottage.”  

“I’ll be there soon,” said Ronduin, stretching. 

The creaking sound of the barn door, was followed by silence. And, in this silence, Ronduin’s eyes again filled with tears. He didn’t know why he was crying, but his tears ran down his cheeks and he wiped them away with his sleeves and scrambled down the ladder in the hope of running away from this unexpected sadness. 

Stepping outside the barn door, he looked out across the fields toward the castle, the empty castle where he had lived his entire life. There he had grown up a sickly child, spoiled by his parents, doted on by all who lived and worked within that great edifice. Then, he had slowly gained strength. He remembered his joy in becoming able to walk a long distance. He had been thrilled to be able to walk from from the castle to barn hill on errands for Cook Agnes.

He remembered his legs growing stronger and stronger until he could run all the way to barn hill and then all the way back to the castle. He remembered deciding to go to the village school and riding in the old cart with Sir Andrew in his peasant clothing and running to school along the lake. He remembered riding home to the castle in the cart. And he remembered the day when the rains began and the fields flooded and he and his parents and Cook Agnes began their long seclusion in the castle. 

During those lonely times he had longed to run free again, to travel beyond the castle walls. Yet here he was, with a great, broad hillside calling for his running feet and today he did not feel like running. Instead, the image of his dear mother flooded his mind and until his tears flowed again. 

Now Robere and the kitchen cat scampered up the hill toward Ronduin. He smiled as he realized they had become friends. They stopped briefly by his feet and, when it was clear he had no food to offer them, they continued to walk around the barn, no doubt in search of handouts from the kitchen. Ronduin followed them and soon found himself again on the kitchen side of the barn, looking at the forest that stood between him and a view of the hills where, at this moment, his parents might already be working with the village people to prepare for the festival. 

How he wished he could see what was happening on that field. Roduin realized that if this side of the hill had grass instead of a forest, he could see the rolling hillside fields, the barn, the planted fields, the grazing cows, sheep and horses and the high festival field. Perhaps he would even be able to see his mother and his father. 

Soon he would enter the kitchen where Rowan, Mirabel and Cook Agnes would distract him from his sadness. But now, as he looked up at a hawk sailing across the blue sky, a thought came to Ronduin: 

From high in the sky, the hawk can see both the castle and the hillside. But here on the ground, one side of the barn gives me a clear view of almost everything in my past: the castle, the fields, the road to school. But, here on this kitchen side of the barn, the thick forest prevents me from seeing the causeway and the hills, my parents and my future. 

A breeze rushed up the hillside rustling the branches. The smell of fresh bread wafted out the kitchen window. Then Ronduin had a big thought. 

It’s always like this, he realized. We can always see our past, but we can never truly see our future.   

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