The Crystal Cup by Ad Adi

At the top of mount Ararat lived once a mighty king. He had a marble palace, a couple of ministers, a lot of fields around the mountain, and a huge army of rats. To feed his army, he demanded every year more and more grain from the peasants. So, every year there was less and less grain left for the peasants. Luckily for them, the land was fertile, and that little grain left was enough to feed them. But one day a terrible drought fell upon the land and lasted for seven months. When the seven months past the king send his envoys to get the grain, but the peasants refused to give it.

“This grain is all we have”, they said, “If we give it to you, there will be nothing left for us, and our children will dye of hunger”.

The king’s envoys returned to the castle empty-handed and said everything to the king. Although the king’s granaries were full, and he, his ministers, his family, and his army of rats did not risk starvation, he felt terribly offended.

“How dare you?”, he said and immediately launched the army of rats against the peasants. The rats ate half of the grain that the peasants had refused to deliver, and half of the peasants died of hunger that winter.

“That serves us well”, said the king, “with fewer mouths to feed down there, there will be more grain for us up here”.

But, with fewer people left to harvest the grain, there was less grain produced. Still, the king demanded more and more grain and more and more peasants were starving to death. One day, when there was nothing left to eat, the peasants decided to send someone to the palace, and beg the king to give them the grain, but everyone was scared of his army of rats. So, they decided to release a crow, and wherever he would stand, one person of that family would be chosen for the mission The crow flew around the village, and finally stood at the chimney of the carpenter’s house. The carpenter and his wife were old, but they had a son they had given birth to and a girl they had adopted from a family who had passed away from hunger. The boy and the girl grew up together like brother and sister, and after some time they fell in love with each other. Although they where only stepsiblings, it was considered a shame for them to join each other in marriage, and to prevent that, the girl was banished from the village, while the boy was assigned to carry the message to the king, as a punishment. Although the journey was dangerous, they didn’t give him any weapons, because none of them believed he would succeed. Before leaving, his father gave him a small sack of grain, the last one remaining.

“Now listen carefully my son”, he said,”Inside the grain, I have hidden a crystal cup. Each time you are in danger, ask the crystal cup to help you, and help you it will”.

The boy traveled one day and one night until he arrived at a river that separated the peasants from the king’s palace. It was wide and deep and full of electric fish. All the people who had tried to cross it without the king’s permission had been killed by the fish. The boy saw their skeletons on the rivers shore and opened the sack of grain his father had given to him, and the crystal cup came out. It was beautiful and had two dragon carved handles, made of pure gold.

“Please help me crystal cup”, said the boy.

“Don’t worry boy”, said the crystal cup, “I will help you. Just fill me with water from the river, and drink it. You will become smaller than your little finger, and I will carry you to the other side”.

The boy did what the crystal cup told him, he filled it with water from the river and drunk. He became smaller than his little finger and jumped inside the crystal cup, and the crystal cup carried him on the other side. Once touching the land, he drunk again from the cup and became a normal boy. When they arrived at the gates of the palace the alarm sounded, and the army of rats walk out and surrounded the boy. He thought the rats would eat him, and he got scared.

“Don’t be scared boy”, said the crystal cup, “I will help you.Just stuck the two dragon carved handles, and drop them on the ground”.

He did what the cup told him, he stuck the dragon carved handles from the cup and threw them on the ground. Upon touching the ground, they became giant dragons and attacked the army of rats and burned them. Then the dragons flew away and never came back. The king and the queen saw everything from the highest tower of the palace.

“Oh my poor soldiers”,, said the king, “what will I do without you? Who will protect me now”?

“Don’t worry my dear husband”, said the queen, “just let the boy enter the palace, and I will take care of him”.

The king listened to the queen, and he let the boy enter, and he and his ministers bowed in front of him.

“What do you want from me boy”, said the king, “ask and it will be given to you”.

“Your peasants are starving, your majesty, while your granaries are full. Give us grain, so that we can live and work again for you”, said the boy.

The king asked the queen again.

“Promise him that you will deliver the grain”, said the queen, “if he accepts to drink a cup of wine with you. I will drop poison on his wine, and he will die”.

The king, very happy, ordered his servants to bring two bottles of wine and the queen drop the poison on one of them and offered it to the boy. The boy drop the wine on the crystal cup, but before touching his lips, the crystal cup shake.

“What is it ,crystal cup?”,said the boy.

“Don’t drink boy”,said the cup,”the wine is poisoned”.

The boy listened to the cup, and offered his wine to one of the ministers, and the minister drunk the wine and died.

“You lied to me king”,said the boy, “now I will call my dragons and they will burn you”.

“Oh,please ,have mercy on me”, said the king, “I will give you all the grain of my granaries, just allow me to find the keys”.

The boy allowed him , and the king entered the palace and called the princess and asked her what to do.

“Tell him that you will give him the grain, if he accepts to drink a cup of milk with you”,’she said, “I will drop a magic potion inside the milk, and he will fall asleep for eternity”.

The king was delighted,and he ordered the servants to bring him two bottles of milk.The princess drop the magic potion on one of them,andgave it to the boy.The boy drop the milk on the crystal cup, and the crystal cup shake in his hand.

“What is it crystal cup?”, said the boy.

“Don’t drink it boy”, said the cup, “the king has dropped a magic potion on the milk. You will sleep for eternity”.

Then the boy offered the cup of milk to the queen, and the queen drunk the milk and fall asleep for eternity.

“You lied to me king”, said the boy, “now I will call my dragons and they will burn you”.

“Oh please have mercy on me’’,said the king, “I will give you my crown, my kingdom and my daughter as your wife”.

The boy accepted, and the king announced that this boy was now his son in law. He then ordered the servants to prepare a giant banquet on his honor. Before the banquet started, the princess informed the boy that the king and his ministers had hidden knives inside their clothes and where planning to assassinate him, but she had made up a plan to save him. During dinner, while they were sharing a piece of meat together, the king asked the boy how he had understood that the wine was poisoned.

“My crystal cup told me”, said the boy, “it’s a magic cup, and everyone who drinks water with it, becomes a giant”.

The king asked the boy if he would be so kind as to allow him to drink some water with the cup.

“Of course your majesty”, said the boy, and handed over the cup to the king.

“Foolish boy”, said the king to himself, “I will now drink from your cup, I will become a giant and squish you like a bug”.

And he filled the cup with water, and drunk it all,and he passed the cup to his ministers, and they drunk and they became smaller than their little fingers.The boy collected them one by one and put them all on a plate.

“You lied to us boy”, said the king, “but if you make us big again, I promise I will give you all the grain you want”.

“I don’t need you to give me anything”, said the boy, “Now that I have married your daughter and I have your crown, I am the king. As for you and your ministers, you will remain tinny people forever, as a punishment for what you have done”.

The boy then kissed the princess, put the crown on his head, and messaged the peasants that from now on they would deliver two times more grain than before. On the first night of their wedding, as was the custom among royalty, the princess invited the boy to her room.Her room was full of golden statues, and the boy was happy that his wife was so rich.Before going to bed, the princess ordered the servants to bring a bottle of wine.

“It’s a custom in our palace that husband and wife share a last cup of wine before their first night”, said the princess.

The boy drop the wine on the crystal cup, and approached it to his lips.Since the cup gave no sign of danger,he drunk all of it, and was transformed into a golden statue.

“Foolish boy”, said the princess, “he didn’t knew the drink was magic. Everyone before him had fallen to the same trap, and they ended up as golden statues”.

Then she took the crystal cup from his hand.

“Thank you crystal cup”, said the princess, “now I will release you from your curse”.

And she kissed the cup, and the cup was transformed into a beautiful handsome prince.

“Our plan worked”, said the princess, “Finally, the kingdom and the royal bed are all for us. We have been waiting for this moment for so long”.

“Yes”, said the prince, “since the day your parents cursed me because I fell in love with you. I was the son of their biggest enemy, and they couldn’t accept our love. So they bought a magic potion from a witch, and gave it to me, and the potion transformed me into a crystal glass. I was then thrown out of the castle.Luckily I didn’t broke, because the golden handles you gave me got stuck into a tree branch, and after some time the father of this boy found me”.

“My parents are tinny people now”, said the princess, “they can’t stop us from sharing our love. Come my dearest”, and they lay on the bed and shared love for three days.

When the three days ended, they got married. At their wedding ceremony, they announced that from now on they would stop seizing grain from the peasants.A small quantity, just enough to feed them, would be bought with gold. In return, the peasants would send a boy to the palace every year.

Now there was more grain left for the peasants, and the peasants where happy. The new monarchs build a bridge over the electric river and invited all the peasants to visit the palace any time they wanted. Everyone was happy, except for the carpenter and his wife. One day they decided to go to the palace and ask what had happened to their son.They were brought in front of the queen, and the queen escorted them to her room, showed them his statue,and told them the whole story.

“Now I know where the kings find all that gold they have”, said the old carpenter.

“What will happen with our boy now?”, said the boy’s mother.

“I intended to melt him down and make coins with him”, said the queen, “but my treasure is full now. Take him, and know that the girl who loves your boy and not the gold, will kiss him and make him human again”.

The carpenter and his wife took the golden statue, returned to their village and spread the lie that every girl who would kiss it, would become golden itself. Upon hearing this, all the peasants brought their daughters in front of the golden statue and forced them to kiss it. They all hoped their daughters would become golden statues, and they would sell them and become rich. Unfortunately, just as the queen had said, they only thought about the gold, and none of them loved the boy. Years passed one after the other. The carpenter dyed and his wife was left alone. Since she was sick and near death herself, she wrote all the truth about her son on a piece of paper. A couple of hours later she dyed. On the evening of the same day, her adopted daughter returned home. She found the piece of paper, read it, and approached the golden statue.

“Forgive my dearest”, she said, “I love you but I won’t share misery with you”, and she cut one of his arms and one of his legs, and she hide them under the bed where his dead mother was lying. Then she kissed the statue, and the boy came back to life. He was now missing one arm and one leg, but he was so happy to see the girl he loved, that he forgot about them. They got married,and the girl sold the golden leg and the golden arm and bought a big house and a lot of land around it. And they grew a big family, and perhaps lived happily ever after.


This entry was posted in Fiction, Folk Tales and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply