The Tale of the Princess and the Doe

fairy land ruth s
Art by Ruth Sanderson

In a castle in the forest there lived a princess. Not a spoilt ungrateful princess with a head filled with dreams of diamonds and gold and princes, but a good noble princess with dreams of finding the hidden truths of the world. The princess had intelligent bright eyes constantly looking for something others could not see. The princess’ parents wanted her to marry a rich prince and join together kingdoms, but the princess had no interest in this. When her parents tempted her with beautiful dresses and precious gems she just frowned her brow and asked her parents if these items could tell her anything about the truth of the world. Her parents shook their heads in disapproval, they could not understand who had filled their daughter’s head with such nonsense.

Art by ida rentoul outhwaite

One day when the princess was walking in the forest she met a roe deer. The roe deer stood on the path before the princess looking at her. The princess lowered her head and greeted the roe deer and the roe deer answered her gesture with a similar bow. Then the deer turned around and ran into the dark forest. But after a little while it stopped and beckoned the princess to follow, but the princess was too frightened to go into the unknown darkness of the forest so she turned around and went home to the safety of the castle. Next day the exact same thing happened. The deer appeared in the forest and beckoned the princess to follow it into the unknown darkness, but again the princess was too frightened and refused.

Art by Ruth Sandeson

The following evening the princess’ parents told her that they had found a suitable husband for her and no matter how much the princess refused , cried and begged, there was no changing her parents’ mind. The day after the princess again went into the forest to clear her mind and seek courage, and again the roe deer appeared on the path before her. This time the princess did not look back, she followed the roe deer into the unknown dark of the forest. Soon, the night came and now it was so dark that the princess could not even see her own hands in front of her. It started raining and storming and branches whipped across the princess’ face. She was so exhausted she wanted to lay down on the forest floor and sleep. But the roe deer would not let her, he continued to guide her through the darkness and the temptation of giving up. The princess abandoned all her fears and tiredness and leaned on the roe deer so that he could carry her through it all. She accepted the rain, the wind and the bleeding cuts on her face and put all her faith in the steady pace of the roe deer.

vinternatt kittelsen
Art by Kittelsen

Morning came and with it the sun and the light. Before the princess a majestic mountain rose from the ground. There was a deep rhythmical beating sound coming from the mountain. The roe deer started climbing the steep pathway up the mountain and the princess followed. She was so tired, hungry and thirsty she could barely move her feet, but nonetheless she continued climbing as though her limbs were powered by something beyond her physical strength.
As the princess got closer to the top of the mountain the rhythmical beating sound increased and as the music increased so did the pace of the climbing. Soon the princess and the roe deer had reached the top. The mountain was so tall it hovered above the clouds, and the air was cold, clear and crisp. The roe deer showed the princess a hidden pathway into the mountain. The pathway was dark, humid and slippery, and the princess had to concentrate not to fall. The drum beat was now so loud it echoed in the walls. The mountain passage opened up into a bright airy cave and in the middle of the cave stood a magnificent doe. She was radiating like a sun and the light was warm and pleasant. The princess bowed her head to the doe. The roe deer walked over to the doe and stood next to her. The princess could hear that the rhythmical beating sound came from the doe’s heart and as the roe deer came to stand next to her the volume of the beating increased. “Welcome,” said the doe. “Where am I?” asked the princess. “You are at the heart of the world,” answered the doe. “Is it your heartbeats I can hear?” asked the princess. “It is the heartbeat of the world and I am its keeper. When the heart of every living thing in the universe beats in unison with mine, the destination is reached and I become one with the world.” said the doe. “And how do I get my heart to beat in union with yours?” asked the princess. “By finding your purpose. By living life according to the truth of your spirit. For that truth is also mine.” The princess did not ask anymore questions for the part of her that could hear the doe’s heartbeats so vividly understood that this was something she had to seek the answers to inside of herself. She again bowed to the roe deer and the doe and left the mountain to start her own journey into the world, with the constant guidance of the doe’s heartbeats that she would always hear beating strongly inside her own heart.

Art by ida rentoul outhwaite

The princess did not go back to the castle, she continued to travel deeper into the unknown, but never was it quite as dark as on the first journey she had taken with the roe deer. Perhaps she did not know it herself but her path was everafter lit up by the same light the doe had radiated with, only now it had taken abode in the princess’ own heart and as long as she was guided by that inner light the world would never again be shrouded in darkness and fear.