Day 35 – The Jade Prince

The conditions were perfect for the birth of Angdayam’s first child from his favorite wife. A perfect boy, strong in body and character, who would rule the kingdom in an era of great prosperity and happiness, was predicted by all fortune seers consulted.

But one fortune seer was not consulted. Maranaya the Blind lived on a mountain so remote and treacherous that no messengers were dispatched. If anyone had attended the blind mystic at the moment of the young prince’s birth, he would have been witness to the old man opening his clouded eyes and saying one word only: “Death.”

As the new prince Prithayam was presented to ten thousand citizens gathered in the royal courtyard, there was a cheering so loud it could be heard three kingdoms away. King Angdayam wept with joy and promised a lifetime of wealth to the man who could carve a life size statue of the prince from a single piece of jade.

After many years of searching, on his eighth birthday, Prince Prithayam was finally presented himself, immortalized in jade. Later the boy played with the king’s archers, as he had so many times before. But this time he tripped and fell, and the arrow he carried struck his heart, and he died.

The king roared in anger, first having the heads of the doctors for not saving his boy, then the archers for not protecting him, then the fortune seers for not knowing this would come. He blamed the statue and ordered it destroyed, but his favorite wife fled in the night, taking the last reminder of her child into exile.

When invading armies came from the north, there were no fortune seers to predict it, no archers to repel them, and no doctors to heal the wounded. King Angdayam finally blamed himself, and he tied a rope around his neck and jumped from the highest balcony.

The boy’s mother clung to the statue as tightly as she could in her travels, eventually forgoing even food and drink in order to spend more time touching it. In a distant cave her bones can still be found, embracing a jade effigy of the boy who would be king.

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