The Ruby Prince

This is an ancient Pakistani story called "The Ruby Prince," it tells the story of a love born from a magical red gemstone.

“One day a poor Brahmin priest whilst walking down a dusty road, stumbled on a fine-looking red stone. He presented the stone to a King, who knowing the gems value, paid the Brahmin generously for the shining red gem.

The King locked the Ruby away in a chest where he forgot about it until years had passed. One day, remembering the gemstone he opened the chest, and to his great surprise out stepped a handsome young man: however, to the Kings dismay the Ruby had vanished

The King demanded to know what had become of his jewel, but the young man simply starred at him and said, "I am the Ruby Prince." The king asked him again, now thinking the man stupid, but he refused to give any other answer. Then the irate king, thinking the young man both insolent as well as stupid, threw him out of his palace. However, a palace guard who had witnessed the scene took pity on the young man, and gave him some food, a horse and some weapons.

The Ruby Prince rode off, and wasn’t heard of again until one day the king’s counsel recounted a brave tale of a young man going by the name of the ‘Ruby Prince’. Apparently the people of a nearby town had lived for many years in fear of a murderous flesh-eating monster, which had eaten many of the town’s inhabitants. Then one day a young man going by the name of ‘The Ruby Prince’ came to the town’s rescue, and in an act of unselfish bravery had slain the monster.

The grateful King offered his daughter's hand in marriage to the ‘Ruby Prince’, and they lived very happily as man and wife. But one day the Princess became overwhelmed with curiosity about her husband's origins, and asked him where he had come from, to which he replied, “Please don’t ask me. I cannot tell”. Her curiosity became insatiable, and every day she asked him the same question, and every day he gave the same reply. Then, one day as they stood by a river she asked the question again, and suddenly the ‘Ruby Prince’ was gone into the water.

A second later a large green water snake appeared, the scales on its back covered with gems with a Ruby in the center of its forehead. It stopped near the princess and gave her a mournful look and then it, too, was gone. The young Princess became instantly repentant at her questioning, becoming stricken with grief and desperation as months passed without any sign of her husband.

After a year had passed a humble woman came forward telling the Princess to go to the forest, where every night a tiny king and his tiny entourage emerged from a hole in the ground. The princess arrived at the spot where the woman had told her to go and waited, hours passed and the princess began to fear that she had become subject to a practical joke. Then suddenly the princess heard sweet music coming from a minute burrow in the earth, looking down she spotted a retinue of musicians and dancers making merry for their king. But the princesses’ attention was turned to a tiny figure next to the king, who wore a Ruby in the center of his forehead, and sat and stared morosely into the distance.

Spying on this magical scene from behind a tree, the Princess became certain that the tiny dejected man was her ‘Ruby Prince’. As her curiosity got the better of her she leaned forward, but in doing so was noticed by one of the group of dancers who called the alarm. The king, in no way intimidated by the giant princess, demanded to know what she was doing spying on the royal court. She explained her great sadness, and how her heart leapt with joy when she saw the unhappy prince.

On hearing her story the king immediately recognized the truth, as all her details matched those of his son’s. However, not wanting to see his son suffer again, he told the princess that she must prove the sincerity of her love by dancing for him. The king said that if his son’s temperament changed while she danced, he would grant her one wish and she could have anything in the world she desired.

The princess thought, and then whispered the name of her and her beloved’s favorite piece of music. As they started to play, she danced concentrating her every gesture and movement before his sad and vacant stare. As the dance proceeded she entered a trance, blocking everything out of her mind apart from the memories of her happiness with the Ruby Prince. She whirled and twirled, faster and faster until she saw nothing but his face in her mind, then suddenly there was nothing.

She awoke sprawled out on the ground at her audience’s feet to cheers and clapping. As she apprehensively focused her eyes she realized that there standing next to her face was the king and her ‘Ruby Prince’: and he was smiling. The king congratulated her on the dance and said, “Now you can have anything you wish for in the world…what is it to be?” Without hesitation she exclaimed, “ I wish for my Ruby Prince to come back to me as I remember our happiest days”. Then suddenly he stood their towering over her smiling down with his arms outstretched, “Take my hand.”

And from that day to this, they live as husband and wife having many children blessed with the happiest of loves. Needless to say the Princess has never asked her husband about his origins again.”

The ancient story of the ‘Ruby Prince’ reflects the symbolism of many European classical ‘Frog/Prince’ fables, of a woman proving her true love to win back her man. However, in this case it's not her husband's animal nature that must not be questioned, but his gemstone nature, which every bit as magical a transformation, symbolizes both the Ruby and the emotion of love as truly magical gifts of the Divine, never to be questioned!

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