In a dark, faraway land, there lived a prince who was desperately in love with a beautiful princess. Her dark eyes would flash at him over the loaded banquet tables in her father’s dark castle. While the other knights and princes and hangers-on would stuff the dark meats into their maws, he would gaze at her dark brows, winging in flight over her darkly inviting eyes, and he would long to sink his fingers into her luscious hair, dark as a raven’s wing.

She told him one day, in no uncertain terms, that she could only accept his love if he brought to her superbly exquisite items from foreign lands. Only the most expensive, most hard won items would turn her emotions. Perhaps it was a sign of her dark heart.

While the prince did think that his heart was the first gift he had given her, her took her at her word and jumped onto his trusty steed, its dark flanks quivering, and rode off on his new quest. Only he knew that dark sweat stains were rusting the armour beneath his sparkling display of shiny bravado.

The first physical gifts he brought back to the beautiful princess were two exquisite pink rabbits. Their fur was a pearly shade of dark pink. Smoothing their fur one way with her hand, the princess saw one shade of pink. Smoothing it another way, she saw a lighter shade of the same colour. They were lovely. They stared at the princess, noses twitching and their dark brown eyes trusting. But it was not enough. Dark lines cracking through her heart, the princess told the prince it was not enough.

After many months, the prince brought to the princess a pair of slippers. The toes of the slippers were crusted in dark amethyst jewels. Darkly glowing on the vamp of the slippers, yellow sapphires winked up at the princess as she turned the shoes in her hands. Light as air, the white leather of the dancing shoes slipped through her fingers as quickly as falling water. How beautiful the shoes were. They were so lovely it brought tears to her dark eyes. The tears sparkled as she looked at the young prince. He looked so haggard. There was dark stubble on his chin and dark stains on his clothes. He held his helmet under his arm as he watched her marvel over his latest gift. Hope sprang to his face as she gazed at him. Not good enough. The words struck his heart and forced his feelings back down to their dark hole. Not good enough.

Almost one year had passed before the prince presented himself before the dark princess once again. This time he had brought a pair of earrings. Again, the gift was beset with jewels. So tiny, the earrings looked like bits of star shine in his large hand. Diamonds sparked and crackled in the dark light thrown from the large fire in the princess’s room. The earrings were tipped in the finest, most precious globes of yellow diamond. Taking them in her hand, his gift and his heart, in one fell swoop she sealed his destiny. Not good enough. Stumbling into the darkness, dagger clutched in his hand, the prince fled her dark presence.

They found his body in the spring. The snow had melted enough to reveal the moist dark earth. They could see how he had plunged the dagger, dark in its fury, through what would have been his still beating heart. They could imagine the flow of blood, although now long gone, because wherever the dark life blood would have spread, sprouted one of the first flowers of spring, the Bleeding Heart, riotous in its glory.


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