The sweeping violet hills smoothly tumbled down the mountain sides. Their soft texture was scarcely cut open by jagged pieces of rock poking through like mischievous waves rippling in a still pond of water.
Atop the smooth purple grassed mountain stood a proud and luxurious amber-walled palace. It was built with large crisp arches, trimmed with a deep gold with fine rippling ridges. Tall pillars reached toward the hazy green sky as if their quest to reach the sun was being stopped by the elegantly curved roof. A stone pathway made of hundreds of round glittering blue and red stones wound its way up to the towering mahogany doors that led into the finely woven building, sewn of only the finest threads of imagination.
Inside the palace all of the wonders of the world worth wondering about were kept, spilling out of drawers and hiding under beds in a neat way that made the palace look as if it were meant to hold such a mess. Thick red carpets lay in the hall, made only to grace the soles of royalty's feet, because in fact, this house was home to the royal family.
On the day of his birthday, the young prince sat on this wondrous carpet, running his fingers across the softness of the deep rich red.
The spices of India danced in his nose and his hair smelled of fresh lilies. His eyes were warm with orchids and his clothes felt as if they were made of flower petals. His thick brown curls of hair swept messily across his eyes as a young boy's hair often does. His cheeks were round and kissed by cherries while his skin was the colour of cinnamon.
His lips were pressed together in thought as he stroked the carpet. Although any person hailing from a different land would be amazed that such softness could even exist, he remained ignorant for the prince had grown up surrounded by such wonders. He was simply used to the magic surrounding him.
A large door across the empty hall burst open and the boy looked up to see his father, the king, entering. Behind him the roar of a lion rumbled in the air and the sound of birds chirping dropped delightfully around him. The little prince wondered what his father had been doing in the recreation room as the older man approached him with grace and strength lining his every step.
"My son!" he boomed, making a gesture for the boy to come closer with his blue robed arms.
"Yes father?" The prince responded as he got to his feet and approached the king.
The warmth in the king's voice shone through his absurdly loud way of talking, "We live in a palace containing all of the wonders of the imagination and today is your birthday! Have you decided on a gift you would like?"
He nodded his thin face and the king laughed a boisterous laugh, clapping his hands together. "Excellent! What would you like?"
The boy blinked his wide eyes and spoke, "A coin."
"A coin?" the king asked, perplexed by such a small unimaginative suggestion. "Not a dragon? Or perhaps an elephant? What about a locomotive? A carriage drawn by centaurs?"
The boy shook his head. "No father, I wish for a coin."
The king's eyebrows creased, but easily forgot his confusion and exclaimed, "Alright my son, then a coin you shall have! What kind of a coin do you desire?"
The prince grinned up at his father at this news. "Well," he paused, "It's big."
The king nodded his head, "Yes, yes! Is it something that you have imagined that has not yet materialized or is it a product of another's imagination?"
The boy bit his lip in thought. "It isn't anything I've imagined...But I don't know whose imagination it came from."
The king nodded his head, "Tell me more! What an extraordinary coin this gift must be for a prince to desire it!"
The boy lowered his voice, as if telling a secret, "I think it is magic."
The king grinned at his boy in approval. "Where is it from? What is it called? I must know so I can find it for you!"
The boy paused for dramatic effect, watching his father bristle with curiosity and excitement. "And it glows with a most brilliant pale colour."
"Where is it!" the king exclaimed with excitement and impatience.
The boy looked from side to side before telling him, "It hangs high up in the sky on a string. It might be tough to capture though, it is very shy and it will only come out in the dark when its friends are out too. They glitter and laugh brilliantly all night."
The king looked at the small boy carefully, "I have never seen such a thing before outside this palace."
He rolled his eyes, "It only comes out at night father! Sometimes I catch it peeking into my window when I cannot sleep."
The king gasped. "How magnificent! A treasured coin that does not reside in this palace! I must get my men to capture it at once."
"Thank-you father," the boy beamed.
"Anything for you dear boy!"
At once the king sent for his men to assist him in capturing the coin that hung on a string in the night sky.
They began their hunt as soon as the sun had bayed them all a good night and dipped below the mountain peaks.
The king and his men called goodnight back to it as a metallic sunset splashed across the sky, glowing like melting gold.
They hid, camouflaged by the nights cover, watching one by one as the stars began to poke through the blackness above them. The stars laughed merrily when they spotted this king and his finest men standing beneath the prince's window. They were hiding stealthily in a thicket of rosebushes with leaves made of the finest velvet in the entire kingdom. Among them was a large net with a wooden frame they would use to capture their friend when he peered into the prince's window.
Before long, the coin slowly dipped its pale glowing head above the mountain peaks and swam with the laughing stars, drifting closer and closer to the boy's window. The king's men readied themselves as it drifted across the sky, coming closer every second.
Finally, the string dipped the coins head juts low enough to peer into the sleeping prince's window. The men instantly took action, jumping and sweeping their net across the sky but no matter how hard they tried, they could never jump high enough to catch the coin. They caught handfuls of stars and bugs but they could never quite reach the coin. Before long the night had slid through the laces of the net and the coin had disappeared behind the mountains once more.
The men cursed in frustration but the king wouldn't let this setback faze him. He had made a promise to his son and he never went back on his word!
With determination, the kind and his men waited beneath the prince's window for a second night, this time armed with a ladder as tall as the mountain peaks around them.
"This night we will catch the coin!" the king declared excitedly.
The men cheered in optimistic agreement as they waited for the coin to appear.
Soon, the stars began to poke pinpricks into the darkness and watched as the king began to climb the ladder.
As the night before, the moon swung gracefully across the sky towards the boy's window and the king swung his net with confidence. Surely, this time he would catch it. The net touched the coin causing it to rock slightly back and forth but it paid no attention to the king. The ladder rocked back and forth with every jump and sweep of the net the king made but he couldn't quite capture the coin. The king swung his net once more only to realize that the net wasn't big enough.
Muttering to himself in frustration the king crawled irritably down the very tall ladder. The ladder was so tall that by the time the kings feet had met the ground, morning light was kissing his rosy face.
His men looked upon him wearily but he spoke with unfaltering determination, "Tomorrow night we will chase the coin and find where it sleeps behind the mountains!"
The men nodded their heads obediently.
"I shall not rest until I have caught this coin!" the king declared. "Ready the horses for this evening."
Surely enough, when evening struck the sky, the king and his men were waiting, ready on their purple and red stallions.
As soon as the moon peered into the prince's window the men took off after it. They rode their horses steadily without break, tracking the treasure with expert speed across the soft purple hills. They jumped over jagged rocks and trod through a flowing river of melted sunlight but alas, they could not outrun the sun. When daylight had fallen upon them the king declared that they would set up camp and wait for the moon to appear once more.
They rested well and were once again ready for the chase and took off after the coin as soon as it became visible. They rode long and hard towards it, through the river of melted sunlight once more and up and down over endless purple furred hills. Only when they reached the velvet rosebushes beneath the prince's window did the king realize that they had chased the coin back the way they had come.
With frustration the weary men dismounted.
"That's it!"The king exclaimed as an idea struck his sleepless mind. "Clearly, the only way to catch the coin is by fishing for it! Tomorrow night I will get my fishing rod and wait for it to look in my son's window, then I will cast my line and hook."
The men nodded in agreement and the king went to fetch his fishing rod for the next evening.
For forty-seven nights the king sat beneath the prince's window casting his line in the sky, sometimes collecting stars, sometimes fairies and bugs and other times catching nothing. Although many would have given up by now, the king persisted with unfaltering determination.
Every day when the king came in after a long sleepless night the prince would beg his father to just forget about it. He would tell his father that he would be as easily pleased with something easier to obtain, although that was not true. The prince wanted the coin more than anything in the world and the king knew that. The king would stubbornly refuse the prince's pleading and when the prince asked him why the king would reply, "Because I love you." Their conversation ended every day this way every day for the prince could think of no argument great enough to defeat his father's love.
The nights continued to slip by and the king's birthday was soon approaching but he paid no mind, still determined to catch the perfect present for his son.
Finally, on the night before the king's birthday the hook on the end of the king's line caught on the string holding the coin. The king let out a great cry of joy and began reeling it in. His breath caught in his throat and he barely dared to blink, afraid that his line might fall loose.
The stars, who had long lost interest in the kings attempts, turned to look at him, glittering brightly with curiosity and anticipation.
The king tugged gently on the line and the hook began to saw through the string holding the coin in the air. The king bit his lip nervously until a cold clean snap echoed in the night as the string holding the coin up broke. The pale glowing orb fell gently from the sky and into the king's hands. Tears of joy sprung to his eyes.
He looked up to the sky and the stars burst into applause, glittering as brightly as they could in approval of the king's victory. He felt as if he had never smiled so widely in his entire life.
Soon, morning filled the sky and the king skipped happily into the palace to present his son with the gift. Despite his weariness from so many sleepless nights, he could not contain his excitement.
"Prince! Mt son!" he called out excitedly.
The prince's round cinnamon face and flower petal clothing appeared in the hall.
The king grinned at him, holding the large glowing coin with both hands.
The prince smiled widely when he saw what his father held for him, his orchid eyes glistening with happiness.
"For your birthday," the king boomed, "I present you with this glowing pale coin on a broken string that fancies peeking into windows of sleeping princes at night."
The small boys grin widened and he accepted the gift graciously, thanking his father countless times.
The king beamed down at his son but he could not hide the fatigue in his eyes after fifty nights with no rest. He fought off a big yawn and continued to gaze down at his boy.
"Now," the prince spoke, mimicking the authority in his father's voice, "It is your birthday dear king and you have not slept in fifty nights."
The king nodded upon realizing that in fact today was his birthday. Every time he blinked his eyelids grew heavier and heavier.
"For you birthday," the boy continued in his thin voice, "I would like to present you with a string and a glowing pale coin that used to hang in the sky. It used to watch over me while I slept and now I give it to you dear father, to watch over you while you sleep. While you have been fishing for the coin I have nailed a hook to the outside of your window so it may always look in upon you while you sleep. Do you accept?"
The king raised his eyebrows in shock, "But my dear boy! Don't you want the coin anymore?"
The prince nodded his head, "I do want it for my own very much. In fact I want it more than anything in the world, but I wish to give it to you and I will not take no for an answer."
"I don't understand!" The king shook his head in confusion, blinking slowly at him with his tired eyes. "Why would you want to give it to me if you want so much?"
The prince raised his cinnamon face up to the king and looked him directly in the eyes. "Because I love you. Do you accept my gift to you?"
Tears of joy and love for the prince sprung to the kings eyes as he spoke, "I do."