The Ape-Prince and The Blue Star: A Fable


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The ape-prince was reclining on his throne one evening, surrounded by his treasures: silver drops of crystal moonlight, red robes woven from the silk of the sea-spider, periwinkle roses that bloom only at the Sun’s perihelion. And the ape-prince was bored. He looked out his window into the night sky and saw a blue star. He said to himself, “That is the brightest, bluest, most beautiful star I have ever seen!” And the ape-prince loved the blue star, and decided that he must have it.
So he gathered all his servants and his soldiers and his elephants and they rode off into the night to search for the blue star. And for eighty days and nights they traveled, until the ape-prince had reached the peak of the highest mountain. He said to himself, “I am closer, but I still do not have the blue star.” And the ape-prince was sad.
As he stood on the peak, wondering what he should do, a white owl appeared. And the white owl said, “My prince, if you will give me your right eye, I will take you closer to the blue star. You will see farther with one eye than with two.” So the ape-prince gave his right eye, and the white owl brought him to a forest in the clouds. The ape-prince said to himself, “I am closer, but I still do not have the blue star.”
As he stood in the cloud-forest, a black owl appeared. And the black owl said, “My prince, if you will give me your left eye, I will take you closer to the blue star. You will see better with your heart than with your eyes.” So the ape-prince gave his left eye, and the black owl brought him to a lake in the stars. The ape-prince said to himself, “I am closer, but I still do not have the blue star.”
As he stood at the shore of the star-lake, a gray owl appeared (so it had said; the ape-prince could not see its color). And the gray owl said, “My prince, if you will give me your heart, I will take you all the way to the blue star.” So the ape-prince gave his heart, and the gray owl brought him to the blue star. But the ape-prince had lost his heart, and he did not love the blue star anymore.
Never trust owls.
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Mark Breer · ago
That last line was fantastic.
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Caleb Litster · ago
I'm inclined to disagree... I thought this was a beautifully vivid and well-crafted fable with profound implications -- up until the last line. "Never trust owls" is an underhanded blow, as if the narrator, having woven a tapestry with their voice, suddenly grasps for cheap laughs with a sarcastic joke, or proclaims the moral while missing the point entirely. The last line dragged me from the stars down to the crude earth beneath, and I was left empty instead of full of wonder.
In effect, it made me the ape-prince. Which, perhaps, was the point all along.