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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

372- The Mirror and the Windows


A selfish, egotistical Prince called Henry displeased his parents for his extra self regard and exaggerated needs to be the center of attention. His parents tried in vain to make him share his possessions with others. At last, an angel appeared before them and assured them of rectifying the problem provided they allow him to take care of the prince for one month, to which they agreed.

The angel took the prince to a superb palace amidst a lovely garden full of captivating flowers, delightful fruits and fascinating fresh water fountains. Overlooking the garden were grand windows and between those windows mirrors. The angel told the prince that the palace and everything therein was his to enjoy, as well as the beautiful garden through the exalted, majestic windows. Yet, let it be known that whenever you look into a mirror, windows get smaller while the mirror gets larger. Image: A red bird (Robin), from Saint Takla's Website 2008 Ethiopia journey photos صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: طائر أحمر، عصفور صغير، من صور رحلة موقع أنبا تكلا للحبشة، 2008 Image: A red bird (Robin), from Saint Takla's Website 2008 Ethiopia journey photos - Photograph by Michael Ghaly for, April-June 2008.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: طائر أحمر، عصفور صغير، من صور رحلة موقع أنبا تكلا للحبشة، 2008 - تصوير مايكل غالي لـ: موقع الأنبا تكلا، إبريل - يونيو 2008.

Prince Henry stopped before a mirror admiring himself for hours moving from one to the other. Mirrors started getting larger and larger stretching out. On the Other hand, windows became smaller and narrower. There came a day when all windows vanished. An immense mirror replaced all the walls, doors and windows. As the prince felt hungry, he moved from one place to another hoping to find a way out for himself. He then realized that the palace had become a cell in which he was imprisoned without even being able to look out. This distressed, tormented and angered him to the extent of ripping his clothes to no avail. Suddenly, he heard a humming sparrow. It just occurred to him that there was a caged sparrow in the palace. He rushed towards the cage and freed the bird bitterly saying to himself,

“O little one, you were left imprisoned with me in this place.

No fault of yours but because of me, admiring only myself and forgetting all about you.

I’ve neither food nor drink to offer you.”

As prince Henry was pondering, he heard the sound of dropping water. He managed to gather almost half a glass of water offering it to the bird while blaming himself for its captivity. As Henry was looking around in the rooms of the palace, he spotted a small piece of old dry apple, which he took to feed the bird.

The prince was totally absorbed in what he was doing and forgot about himself for a while. Slowly, a window started to open until there was enough space for the bird to get out. Henry gently took the bird, kissed it and set it free. Indeed liberating the bird satisfied him, even though he was staying behind. He realized that what became of him was nothing but his own doing and selfishness. Since Henry’s heart had opened for the freedom of that small bird, doors and windows were opened before him. The prince was at last freely moving and enjoying the palace and all that was therein.

Henry was cheerfully rejoicing and saying,

From my selfishness I’m free.

From the prison of my ego I am liberated.

Free to love others that I may love myself, as it should be.

Taking care of my brothers so God would take good care of me.

→ English translation of the story here at المرايا والنوافذ.

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