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Once upon a long time ago, longer ago than the length of an elephant’s heartbeat, there lived a woman and a child.

The woman always wore silk, red silk – a beautiful gown that clung just so, and as she moved, the whisper of it's message bought joy and happiness to her and to her son.

This child loved his mother deeply, and willingly buried his face every moment he could in the folds of her red silk gown, breathing in her smell and feeling the silky smooth softness of the dress.

The child, his name was Eual, was dressed in green, a beautiful green suit made of shot silk which echoed the reds in his mother's dress, and shone with a green light that was entirely and especially his own colour. Erica had spun the warp and weft of the two colours together on a loom. Everyone who met the two of them commented on the beauty and likeness of the two materials, and how well they matched the woman Erica and Eual her son.

Eual, as he grew up, was made more and more clothes by his mother, all of the same wonderful shot silk, and the child grew in stature and wisdom.

One morning, when Eual was turning 15, Erica noticed a troubling new development.
It seemed to her that his suit was turning a darker black\red, instead of the beautiful green\red that she had spun. Eual seemed preoccupied and troubled, though he learned his lessons well, there was an emptiness in his eyes that she could not trace – something that was missing and could not be re-born.

“Eual my son, what do you need? Is there something I have not given you?”

“Mother, I am angry, and I don’t know why, I’m looking for my heart everywhere and I can’t find it, and you don’t have it either – at least that’s what I think.”

Weeks went by and months went by, and Euals’ suit became darker and darker. He spent much more time in his own company, seeking fruitlessly for his lost heart that was hidden far away from his eyes.

In distress, Erica sought the advice of a wise old woman, who lived in a house at the end of the valley.

Erica told her the whole story of Eual’s birth and his search for his heart.

“Erica, tell me a little about the spinning and weaving of the material for Eual’s suit, when did it happen and where?”

“During the long months before Eual’s birth, my husband had bred silk worms and with his help I gathered the strands together and dyed them a beautiful red and green.
Then, I went to my loom and with care and love, I wove them into the shot silk that you now see, which has turned from green to black. Did I do something wrong – how has this happened?”

“What you may not know is that when a silkworm is encased in its cocoon, it is waiting to unfold to become a moth. Every time you unwind a cocoon, you kill the potential moth – by creating this beautiful shot silk, you have damaged many potential lives and the heartbreak of that loss is reflected in the black colour of the silk”

Erica broke down in tears, and wept until her beautiful red dress was soaked through.

“How can I undo what I have done to the silkworms?”

“Erica, you must go down to the nearest stream and take off your red gown, and also take Eual's suit. You must wash them three times in the stream, and as you do so, say a prayer for the silkworm's potential life that was lost.”

“Will this help Eual – will he stop searching for his heart?”

“Much time has passed by since you wove this material, and it may be too late to undo his search, and you will have done what you can to make and mend the broken hearts of the silkworms.”

Therefore, Erica followed the instructions of the wise woman, to the very letter. With each washing of each suit, she whispered a prayer “I pray to be forgiven for the hurt I caused the silkworm family, and the many thousands of lost hearts that I have broken.”

She watched, and waited, to see if there was any change in Eual, but it seemed that his search for his heart became stronger and deeper.

One very dark evening, Eual came to his mother, dressed in his red and black suit.

“I am going to the end of the world, to find my lost heart, I know there is a dragon there that I must fight with all my strength, and he is the guardian of my heart. I cannot stay here with you any longer”

Erica burst into tears and hugged him to her heart.

“If you must go, then I send you with all my love – and I send you away with this “

Erica reached inside her bodice, and drew out a tiny ruby heart on a chain, which she put around his neck.

“This heart will help you find your own heart, for it is a healing stone which carries both strength and love to heal the loss that you hold – know that while you wear it I will always be with you.”

She then reached into her pocket and picked out a packet of seeds, of red clover, “These seeds when you plant them, will produce red flowers which will help relieve your pain and purify the blood, in your heart, when you find it - use them wisely.”

Finally, she picked up from the table a small black ebony dagger.

“This dagger, made of Ebony will help you fight your dragon, for ebony carries strong protective powers and is useful in any battle with darkness, achieving light, rest and love”.

Eual thanked her, embraced her warmly, and went on his way. To this day Erica does not know whether Eual defeated the dragon, but she knows very well that she sent him off with all the tools he needed to recapture his heart.


Astorymouse November 2009.

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