The Quest




“Amma! Tell me a story in which a princess goes on a quest,” six-year-old Bani asked her mother, Kavita. Stroking Bani's hair gently, Kavita nodded. The bedtime story was a ritual that they both loved. As the lamp from the bedside table highlighted Kavita's strong face, she started narrating the story. A long time ago, in a land far away lived a king who had four daughters, Iris, Daisy, Jasmine and Lily. The King loved his daughters very much, giving them all the advantages his wealth could buy. The four sisters also loved each other dearly. But as they grew older, the King noticed Princess Jasmine becoming more withdrawn each day. She retreated into a shell, becoming silent, refusing to meet people.  The King grew increasingly worried about the princess. In desperation, he sent for his mind wizard, Blaze. On hearing the princesses’ story, Blaze announced that he needed to meet Jasmine alone. The King was surprised. Meeting the princess alone! What would the people say? But Blaze was adamant, and the King relented. That evening, when Jasmine was walking alone in the garden, Blaze went to talk to her. “Fair maiden”, he asked, “What troubles you so?” Jasmine sighed, “There is a villain who has convinced me that I am unworthy of love. When I look at my reflection in the mirror, it whispers how unattractive I am, how fat, how ugly! Wherever I go, the monster compares me to my sisters, telling me how I am not as beautiful, charming, quick-witted, or talented as them. The villain keeps mumbling in my mind. I feel so unloved and alone!" “This villain!” Declared Blaze, “needs to be vanquished! Princess, you need to go on a quest!” “A Quest?!” asked Jasmine, surprised. Blaze nodded. “Yes, the only way this monster can be vanquished is if you find Philautia. But, only you can find it. No one else can do this!” “What is Philautia? Where do I find it?” Asked Jasmine, eager to vanquish the villain. “Philautia means self-love. To find it, you will need to search within yourself, things that you love about yourself. You may not be perfect, but neither are you unworthy. You just need to accept and love who you are”, said Blaze. “But what if the villain is stronger and I fail?” Asked Jasmine,  scared.  Blaze patted her hand gently. “You are strong. You just need to believe in yourself. And don’t hesitate to ask for help!” Jasmine nodded, straightening her spine.  The next few years were tough. The villain tried time and again to poison her mind. But each time, Jasmine dug deep into her heart, finding Philautia to vanquish the demon, to emerge victoriously. As Kavita drew to the end of the story, she realized that Bani had already fallen asleep. Kavita smiled, kissing Bani tenderly. That night, looking at her reflection, Kavita remembered the years, like Jasmine, she had spent hating herself, feeling unloved.  “You are loved by me!” Kavita whispered to her reflection.    Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!