Book

A Valentine Fantasy

When I was little, one of my favorite books to read was A Valentine Fantasy. It is a story about how Valentine’s Day came about. I believed that every day is a special day, but most lovers around the world choose to celebrate this day, February 14th…Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

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A Valentine Fantasy, By Carolyn Haywood

Once there was a boy named Valentine.

At his birth, his uncle, a famous goldsmith,

gave Valentine a beautiful bow

and made a set of gold-tipped arrows for it.

Valentine was indeed a fortunate child.

As he grew up, he went to live with his uncle and learn his art.

His uncle also taught him how to use the bow and arrows,

and he became a fine marksman.

They set up a target

and practiced shooting at it over and over again.

Valentine, however, never shot

any of the birds or animals of the forest,

for they were his friends.

And, of all the creatures he saw around him,

the bluebirds were his special friends.

His uncle had told him about the rarest of all birds,

the golden bluebird, believed to have a heart of gold,

and Valentine always hoped to find it.

One day, when Valentine was still a little boy,

he wandered deep into the forest.

Without realizing, he went farther than ever before,

and suddenly he saw before him a fold-flecked bluebird

that seemed to shimmer in the sunshine.

“It is the golden bluebird!” he breathed aloud.

Then, to his amazement,

the bird came to him and perched on his shoulder.

Valentine spoke lovingly to the bird,

and, to Valentine’s greater surprise,

the bird replied in speech that Valentine understood.

Now a king reigned over the land where Valentine lived,

but there was no queen. In time, however,

the king met the beautiful princess of a nearby kingdom

and feel deeply in love with her.

He longed to make her his queen,

and soon he told her of his desire.

In reply, she said, “you must bring me a token of your love.”

“What do you wish as a token?” the king asked.

“I have been told that deep in the forest there lives

a very rare bluebird called the golden bluebird

because it has a heart of gold.

Bring me the heart of this bluebird, and I shall marry you.”

The King went back to his kingdom perplexed,

for he had no idea how he could get a bluebird’s golden heart.

Still, he called in his wise man and told him of his problem.

The wise man looked through all his books

and at last found the page that described the golden bluebird.

It said, “The very rare golden bluebird has a heart of gold.

This golden heart can be obtained

only by the hunter with the golden arrows.”

The wise man closed the book and said,

“We must find the hunter with the golden arrows.”

“Exactly!” said the king. “And be quick about it.

I must have the golden heart.”

The wise man called

all of the king’s messengers together

and told them of the king’s demand.

“You must find a hunter,” said the wise man,

“who shoots with a set of golden arrows.”

The messengers ran off in all directions.

One of them went into the forest,

and there he met Valentine,

carrying his beautiful bow and arrows.

“What good fortune,” said the messenger.

“I see you have golden arrows.

The King wishes you to shoot the rare golden bluebird,

as his beloved will marry him

only when he gives her

the golden heart of such a bluebird.”

“But I have never shot

the birds or animals of the forest,” said Valentine.

“I can’t shoot the bluebird.”

“you must,” said the messenger. “The king demands it.”

“It would break my heart to shoot any bird,” said Valentine.

“Better your heart broken than the king’s,” said the messenger.

“Take me to the golden bluebird.”

Valentine’s heart was heavy

as he led the way deeper into the forest.

He hoped that his friend,

the golden bluebird, would not appear,

but late in the day he saw it fly into a tree.

“There it is!” cried the messenger.

“Quick, shoot it, so that I may get the heart.”

“I will not shoot the bluebird,” said Valentine.

“Not even for the king.”

“Then I must take you to the palace dungeon,”

replied the king’s messenger.

Valentine was dragged off to the dungeon.

On the way he lost his bow and arrows.

The dungeon was dark and cold; there was no bed.

Valentine had to sleep on a pile of straw

with no pillow for his head.

During the night Valentine was very restless.

Once he thought he heard the fluttering of winds.

“Surely,” said Valentine to himself,

“there are no birds in this place.”

Then, through his troubled sleep,

He heard someone calling, “Valentine! Valentine!”

He opened his eyes, and again he heard the flutter of wings.

“Who’s there?” Valentine asked.

A tiny voice replied, “Your friend, the bluebird. I’ve come to save you.”

“No one can save me,” said Valentine.

“The king is angry with me,

because I would not shoot you for your golden heart.

Now I have lost my bow, my arrows, and my happiness.”

“You saved my life,” said the bluebird,

“and I shall save yours. You have not lost your happiness,

for I have brought you a golden heart.”

Valentine was astonished. He sat up.

“Oh, bluebird!” he cried.

“How can you have brought me a golden heart!

Surely your heart is still untouched and safe!”

“It is not my heart,” said the bluebird,

“but it is exactly the same. Look, it is very beautiful.”

The bird lowered his head,

and a chain on which a golden heart hung

slipped from his neck and fell into Valentine’s hands.

“It is indeed beautiful!” said Valentine.

“How can I ever thank you?”

“And there is your bow and the rest of the arrows,”

said the bluebird. He dropped them from his claws

to the floor beside Valentine.

“I found your bow and arrows near the castle,

and I knew you were in trouble,” said the bluebird.

“So I flew to your uncle, the goldsmith,

and from one of the arrows he fashioned a heart for you.”

“Oh, how happy I am,” cried Valentine.

“Now the king will surely be satisfied.”

When the keeper of the dungeon appeared,

Valentine showed him the golden heart.

Immediately the doors were opened,

and Valentine was set free.

He hurried to the king’s chambers

and gave the heart to the wise man,

who gave it to the king and told him of Valentine.

“It is very beautiful,” said the king,

“but I hope the princess will not be disappointed

when she learns that it is not really the heart of the bluebird.”

“Let us find out, Your Majesty,” said the wise man.

“I think that the princess will be delighted with this golden heart.”

So the king called for his fastest horse.

Carrying the golden heart in a red velvet box,

He rode off at great speed.

The sky was brilliant with the setting sun

when the king reached the palace where the princess lived.

He found her sitting in the garden feeding the birds,

and he fell upon his knee.

Holding out his gift, he said,

“My beloved, here is my token.”

The princess took the box and opened it.

When she saw the golden heart, she cried,

“How beautiful! Is it really the heart of the golden bluebird?”

“No, my love,” said the kind,

“but it is fashioned like the golden bluebird’s heart.

I hope it pleased you.”

“It does, indeed,” the princess replied.

“I have been watching the birds feeding.

Among them was a beautiful bluebird,

and it saddened me to think that I had asked you to bring me

the heart of the golden bluebird. I wept for shame,

but now my happiness has returned and I shall be your queen.”

Overjoyed, the king told the princess the story of Valentine.

“This is a very important day!” said the princess.

“We should remember it in some special way.”

The king held up his hand. “It shall be so,” he said.

“From now on, the fourteenth of February

shall be known as Valentine’s Day.

All lovers shall give a heart,

fashioned in any manner, to their beloved,

and it shall be called a valentine.”

When Valentine heard of the king’s announcement,

he was deeply moved,

for now his name would bring happiness to many.

He came as an honored guest to the king’s wedding,

and flocks of bluebirds,

with the golden bluebird at their head,

appeared to circle around the king and his beautiful queen.

And so it is that, on the fourteenth day of February,

lovers declare themselves with valentines adorned with hearts.

In this way, they say, “I love you.”

26 thoughts on “A Valentine Fantasy”

  1. All these days I never bothered to know who is this Valentine, how is the Valentine day originated, eventhough every year I used to hear about the Valentine wishes and celebrations. This small fable story stunned me. It really moved my heart. HUNDRED TIMES, HAPPY VALENTINE DAY. LET THERE BE JOY AND HARMONY ON THIS BEAUTIFUL EARTH! Thank you Ginger, for throwing the story here.

  2. Thank you for sharing this version of St. Valentine. While reading this story, my mind kept reflecting back on a scene from one of my favorite foreign film of all time, Cinema Paradiso. In one of the scene, Alfredo told Toto a fable about love & ‘life.’

    Cinema Paradiso:
    “Once upon a time……a king gave a feast. The most beautiful princesses were there. A soldier who was standing guard saw the king’s daughter go by. She was the loveliest one, and he fell instantly in love. But what is a simple soldier next to the daughter of a king? One day he managed to see her and told her he could no longer live without her. The princess was so taken by the depth of his feeling that she said to the soldier: “If you can wait for 100 days and 100 nights under my balcony, I shall be yours.” With that, the soldier went and waited one day, two days……then ten, twenty. Each evening the princess looked out and he never moved! Always there, come rain, come thunder. Birds shat on his head, bees stung him, but he didn’t budge. After 90 nights, he had become all dry and pale. Tears streamed from his eyes. He couldn’t hold them back. He didn’t even have the strength to sleep. And all that time, the princess watched him. When 99th night came……the soldier stood up, took his chair, and left.”

    Several scenes later, Toto use the fable to express his love toward Elena; he came to stand outside her window after work, while she watched him from her room as the days stretched toward a New Year.

    It’s a beautiful film, watch it if you get a chance Nye. The ending of Alfredo’s fable has several interpretations for me. What is yours?

    Also, Seiji, what do you think of Alfredo’s ending of the fable?

  3. >>The ending of Alfredo’s fable has several interpretations for me. What is yours?

    Hey Bob, you know I’m not very romantic at heart, obvious by this story that I posted for St. Valentine’s Day; I’m more of a realist. The moral of the story is that he discovered on the 99th days that she is heartless, no use to pursue her love and affection, even if he stays one more day, what good is it to have a person that is heartless, has no compassion, and I think when he stood out there for that period of time, he has gained wisdom. The task that she asked of him was beyond what a normal person is capable of doing and no one should have to go to that extreme to prove one’s love, gosh…he could have been struck by lightning, could have been stung by bees and might be allergic to it, and birds shitting on him, that’s just nasty… lol.

    If a lady were to ask you to do something extreme that’s beyond reasoning, it only means that she doesn’t love you, for you to try to prove and win her love, it’s not flattering but more annoying to her IMHO.

  4. Ginger puts there the hard realistic side, in the context of a romantic story, presented there from Bob. Quite true. The saga of so called love, romance is more of an illusion and blind passion. Good and great to hear in words and literature.

    The other hard side may be: the hero did wait and suffer for all the 99 days, what was great he could have done the same stupid or cupid thing for one more day. Why did he take 99 days to arrive at the ‘wisdom’.

    So many turns and twists we make there. That’s what a fable is supposed to be.

  5. >>Why did he take 99 days to arrive at the ‘wisdom’

    Sulochanosho, he stood there for 99 days because he had hope…and hope dies last, and his hope died on the 99th days.

    Hope Dies Last, a poem by Dark Power

    Hope dies last
    It lingers ever near
    Hope tries its best
    To keep everything away you fear
    It stays in your waking hour
    Is still strong in your last
    It keeps the future in lightness
    Can forgive you for your past
    It is the maybe it keeps alive
    The dreams, hope aspires
    Greater things can be yours at last
    If you remember hope does not retire.

  6. >>The princess was so taken by the depth of his feeling that she said to the soldier: “If you can wait for 100 days and 100 nights under my balcony, I shall be yours.”
    It seems that the soldier did not hold true to his words to the princess; she said 100 days & he agreed. I understand that in a relationship there has to be compromise, but one must also hold true to what one says.

  7. >>>…one must also hold true to what one says.

    Rhyan, from my personal perspective, if I realized that I have made a mistake, I reserved that right to change my mind; I don’t believe having to suffer just to be true to my word, honesty to me is the best policy.

  8. Ginger your own thrown poem too tells:

    Greater things can be yours at last
    If you remember hope does not retire.

    Of course, all’ll have their own perspective and interpretaion. We need to listen to all the sides. We may not agree with others, but alternative views are there. After all, the domain of love and romance is too messy and mystical: no much ‘logic’ there; more ‘magic’ there. Even our LIFE has infinite dimensions. We may be uttering our view from a restricted dimension and the other person may be uttering from an entiely different dimension. In a sense it’s a bit vague confusion’ there.

  9. Sulochanosho, yes and I truly believe that greater things can be yours at last if you remember hope doesn’t retire, but in situation with love, that doesn’t always hold true. I do believe in love, and love does happen when you least expected, whether you accept that feeling that you are having or not. I think the greatest mistake that some people make is their way of thinking and perception of love, and that love is to have and to hold, and many times we can’t achieve this because it’s not entirely up to us to determine that our love will be returned. As I said, love happens and it’s okay to love someone but we shouldn’t expect s/he to return our love, the beauty of love is to love.

    I think by being a realist, I might have killed the fable, I like to hear Bob’s interpretation of the fable.

  10. Yes! A good fable brings about various interpretations of it. But keep in mind that of all the possible interpretations, there is one which is most likely to be more acceptable and welcoming by the majority. Think of it as “Arkham’s Razor.” So with that, let me construct for you the scenes that follow in Cinema Paradiso.

    Toto, after hearing the fable from Alfredo, decided to use it to express his love toward Elena. Toto went and stood outside her window after work…night after night, while Elena kept a close watch by her window. On the Eve of the New Year (I understood this as the 100th night), Toto saw Elena approached the window…he closed his eyes, wishing and believing that she will come to him at last. When Toto opened his eyes, he saw Elena closed the window & turned out the light. Disappointed, let down, Toto walked the desolate alley way back to the cinema, where he worked—while from windows and balcony, old junks were tossed out, along with garbage and so forth…thrown away to bring in the New Year, and fireworks displayed and lighted up the sky in the background. At the cinema’s projection room, Toto ripped apart notes while thunder and music rose, bringing together at last the emotional climax—and Elena stepped into the room and met Toto eye to eye, and returned his love with a kiss.

    What the fable left out for us to question and interpret, the director took and came through with the most plausible of an answer.

    Ginger: I share with you a similar view on the idea of“the beauty of love is to love.” Love is unconditional! Toto gave it all he had, and when he saw Elena turned off the light and closed the window, he simply walked away…disappointed, mad, etc…but he gave it all he got. And in this case, Elena did understand the depths of his love and returned it with her own.

    There are really no right or wrong ways to interpreting the fable, but one that is more likely acceptable and agree upon. Right and wrong are at opposite ends, and things are not usually this cut and dry. It is rather a blend of the poles: like we really can’t say at what point day falls into night or night vanishes into day. It slowly blends from one to another, into another. I believe things are very much Relativistic—just as love is interpreted slightly, elegantly, and differently through different people.

    I can also see where Sulochanosho is coming from as well…this whole notion of U.G’s teaching that in the end nothing else matters…or perhaps, nothing matters at all from the very start. A paradox, no?

  11. >>At the end ‘YOU’ alone matters most. Cheers to Ginger and Bob!

    Sulochanosho, I agree with you that we are the most important being to us, and that we have to understand and know ourselves first; I feel that if we can do this, we can then understand others better. And you know that Ginger and Bob is not a couple, correction to that ‘Cheers to Ginger and Cheers to Bob.’ (picky, I know)

    Bob, as you have mentioned, a fable has many interpretations, but I think when we see a movie and it gave us the answer to the fable, that’s the producer’s interpretation of the fable and that is one thing that I think it’s the disadvantage of seeing the movie, we then don’t try to come up with our own interpretation as to how we really feel. I do have to admit that it’s a very creative solution but still feel that it’s narrowed in terms of it being from his perspective but yet so many people see it as being the only plausible solution, I think you still have not answered my question. 🙂

  12. >>>I like to hear Bob’s interpretation of the fable.

    I believe the above line is what Ms. Ginger is getting at?

    So let me start by saying that when I do get the opportunity, which seldom arises, I love the game of bowling. On that shiny, slippery lane, where one has to wear those funny shoes, I can get carry away at knocking down some major pins—especially right after they have just been reset. Can you hear the sound of the ball striking those pins? It simply takes away all your frustrations, or brings about that wonderful slyly grin on your face.

    Now with that brief introduction, I believe I did answer your question. Though not in a direct way I presumed, but the obvious is there if one reads between the lines. Did I not present my comment as clearly as day is day and night is night? Maybe not!

    But then again, the question(s) you maybe asking me are probably ‘what is knowledge, or what originality is, or to put shortly, with an abrupt taste of bitterness, what is thought?’ Can anything that we know be original at all? Could it be that they already existed before we stumble upon them? I know, I know—word plays, all beautiful but with no originality…‘a sound signifying nothing.’

    As for me, I agreed whole-heartedly with the way the director had interpreted the fable. I accepted this interpretation as to how I would have had it interpreted in my finite mind—this interpretation to me is the most universally sound. Toto extended Alfredo’s fable to the very end, which the soldier did not do. Bob would have done the same thing had he given his words on similar matter. Call it romantic or what you may, but don’t we all live by a code of some…ethics? What’s one more day to keeping your words after you have gone 99 days? Now had he left on the 50th day, you would have said something against his standard, wouldn’t you? I see quite clearly (I believe) the difference between accepting and starting something and finishing it—not giving up in the middle and saying ‘that is enough, the other party should see the point.’ Also, you stated that wisdom does not have to come at the very end of a lesson—any lesson(s) I presumed. But you must know too that most regret in life comes not after having done something, but in not doing it at all or just doing it halfway—the true result, the final outcome to any task is usually not seen until the very end is reached, IMO. This is the same as when one puts together a puzzle. You say ‘throw away that last piece, we can make out the picture.’ But Bob would say ‘how well depicted is that picture Ms. Ginger. Can you describe to me its true essence?’ Like an experiment, the end must be reached and all data gathered before an attempt of an explanation should be proposed or reasoned out—does the data gathered correlate with the proposed hypothesis?

    Yes! Accepting or incorporating the director’s interpretation of the fable into my own may have made my interpretation less original, or no interpretation at all—but this too can all go back to the very act of learning itself. Had I not seen the movie, I would have run several scenarios through my mind as to what would be the most likely way to interpret the fable. And being Bob, the ‘hopeless romantic,’ I would have taken another day just to see what happens. Love is unconditional, love is patient, love is kind…so why not give it all you got. A ‘No’ is a no, and a ‘Yes’ is a yes…but one thing for sure though, Bob did not give up on his part.

    Gosh! I feel I still have not answer your question, but I know you can see through the veil of time:)))

  13. >>>The ending of Alfredo’s fable has several interpretations for me. What is yours?

    This comment of yours throws me off, I was expecting to hear your several interpretations. 😉

    Bob, now you have answered my question, if you had said in your previous comment that “As for me, I agreed whole-heartedly with the way the director had interpreted the fable. I accepted this interpretation as to how I would have had it interpreted in my finite mind—this interpretation to me is the most universally sound.” I would not question you at all, I don’t like to read between the line, and I don’t like to assume because it spells ‘Ass*U*Me.’ I’ve not seen the movie but even if I had, my interpretation of the fable wouldn’t be any different; to me it’s very black and white,“When 99th night came……the soldier stood up, took his chair, and left.”, he gave up and left.

    If that was me, I’m a quick thinker, it wouldn’t take me 99 days to figure this out, a ridiculous request like that I’d have replied within a split of a second, if not so sure about it, then I’d give it over night, but no more. People that know me know that I’m a person of my word, but I have to accept the fact that sometimes I can’t deliver as promised, and its okay to go back and say I can’t do what you’ve asked me to do. Obviously in this case the soldier stood up, took his chair and left. Very clear, no interpretation needed IMHO, of course this is from a realist point of view. 🙂

    I hope you don’t think of me as one of your bowling pins at the moment. 😉

  14. I never thought a simple valentine theme would take one on a sort of
    battle of words like this!

    As long as we carry pre-conceived, and cancealed answer in our mind and
    pretending or tending to get answer from somewhere, we’ll never get
    answer. In the first place there is no quest or question.

    Ultimately one’s ‘question’ is to be answered by himself/herself. The answer given by others however profounf it is, is his/her answer. Everyone needs to find his/her own answer. Sometimes, the answer is to realise that in the first place there’s no question.

  15. This might be a simple Valentine theme, but through this discussion, I realized that the answers tell who we are as an individual, and how we would handle situations when problems arise.

    We can’t say that our solution is the best, the one and only because others might have a different way of doing things, and most would choose the path that they can live with, path that they think it’s right, path that they think it’s ethical, but ethic is a fine line, and it’s a moral philosophy that is broader than just right and wrong. Some professions require to take Professional Ethics class annually as part of their continuing professional education (CPE) in order to keep their professional licenses active, and others determine their own ethics. Just because others have different opinions and ways of doing things from us that doesn’t mean that they’re unethical. We shouldn’t judge others based on our own standard and guideline, they wouldn’t see it our way for most have their own standard of ethics.

  16. i am a reader of this blog and is annoyed by bob’s no brainier comments. i don’t know how others can stand it when all i hear is blah blah blah coming out from him and he is confused his books and movies with real intelligence. for one, he doesn’t know how to make a comment because his comments most of the time are not even related to the post and nonsensely long and very annoying to read. i don’t know how ginger is allowing all this.

  17. Hi Anonymous, thanks for your honest comment. I’m just a simple blogger and can’t control as far as comments made by readers, but I did mention to Bob before about the cut and paste, but Bob’s comments only reflect of who he is. When I first started this blog, it’s to share our unique culture and that is still the number one priority on my agenda and I never expect this to be a place where people would use to bash one another or show how smart they are as individual. Maybe I’m doing this all wrong, and I need to reconsider my blogging here.

  18. “Brevity is the soul of wit…” so I will be brief.

    Ginger, you are so right in saying that “the answers tell who we are as an individual.” It takes reading and re-reading of my comments to realize how conflicting and contradicting and ‘blah blah blah’ they really are. Your blog is beautiful and truly reflects you…no more, no less. Thank you for allowing me to comment.

    Sulochanosho, we really do “carry pre-conceived and concealed answer in our mind…” something that others can see better than ourselves—strange and ironic. Maybe this is why we are so much in constant need of others, as a reminder of sort.

    And Anonymous, thanks for the reminder as well. Adieu…

  19. Mr Anonymous made there an accusing point. Inspite of that Bob played it cool. I envy the grace and harmless charm of Bob there.

    Onething is sure goodness and evil are the twins and rather inseparable parts or phases of the same phenomenon. One can not exist without the other.
    We do receive assenting or dissenting views. Nothing wrong. Let’s learn. Let’s love both. Let’s love all without any pre-conditions. Love is always unconditional.

  20. i don’t think i am accusing, but you think so because he speaks the same language as you, so it appears as normal to you and don’t envy ‘the grace and harmless charm’ because just the thought made me sick. maybe you should take this conversation to your blog.

  21. This is NOT at all how I intended for this post, for people to showing off their male ego, or polish fancy talk. Comment is closed for this post.

Comments are closed.