The princess and the gardener

There was once a princess, a true princess who was about 10 years old. Her parents were noble and they were living in such a big castle that sometimes the girl got lost in it. For such a big castle they needed of course a lot of servants, some for the inside and others for the wonderful garden around the castle.

The princess liked very much to stay in the garden under some tall fir trees and to read stories. But she liked the more to listen to the stories told by one of the gardeners.

He was the oldest servant from the castle. At first the princess was afraid of him. That was because of his look. He had his mouth crooked and an eye was only half opened But when she grew she became very fond of him. He had a very kind soul and his stories were wonderful.

But for a few days the old gardener had not come under the fir trees to tell stories to the princess. She waited for a long time but he didn`t come. Later she heard from the other gardeners that the old man was sick.

`Yes he is very sick` her parents told her. `We are very sorry but the doctor said that nothing can be done now.`

`Please take me to him` the princess begged.

`The princesses don`t go to the servants` they told her and they didn`t want to listen to her demand.

The princess went out of the room with her head bent and instead of going in her room as she was told she ran in the garden and made a bunch of flowers.

`Please show me where the old gardener lives` she asked a servant.

`But I don`t think …`that one tried to refuse.

`I order you` the princess asked in a loud voice

Arriving at the hut of the gardener the princess knocked at the door.

`Come in` was heard the voice of the old man.

He was lying in bed leaning on some pillows and was reading. He had a pale face and his hands were shaking. His face became brighter when he saw the princess and the bunch of flowers.

`Will you die? The princess asked with tears in her eyes.

`ONly God knows` said the old man smiling and his eyes looked towards the icon from the wall before him.

`Is He God ?` the girl asked him. Mother tells me He doesn`t exist and father says that only the illiterate believe in such foolish things. Why don`t you ask Him to heal you? If He really exists He could do anything.

The old man remained silent for a while then he answered:

`I asked Him but only He knows when and how He will fulfill my wish. Maybe it is better for me not to fulfill it.

`Meaning that it is better not to get healed ?` the little girl wondered.

`He does only what it is best for us` the old man said and made the sign of the cross. But now I pray to see the priest from the village coming to confess me and commune me. The other gardeners told me they would call him but I don`t know if they had the time to go after him.

`Now I must go` the princess told him. Mother and father didn`t…they asked me to return quickly.

She blushed and went out in a haste.

Now take me to the priest from the village.` she told the servant.

The man opened his mouth but the look of the princess made him remain silent. They went in the carriage they had come by and he took the princess before the church. The door was open. The church was dark but the princess was not afraid to enter. The light from the lit candles made her feel safely. She called the priest many times. He didn`t appear.

`Princess, we must go` the gardener told her from the door.

The girl began to wring her hands looking around her worryingly. She cried two times more and she was ready to leave.

She saw the big icon where was the same man like in the icon from the house of the old gardener. She approached and told Him in a whisper:

`I beg you, the old man believes in you. I don`t know why you don`t heal him but at least send the priest to co…how was that…to commune him.`

The princess went towards the door but she changed her mind and returned.

`May I ask you for something? Heal the gardener. I don`t have grandparents and…`

The little girl started crying and she went out in a rush on the door

Her parents punished her not to go out of the palace for two days. When she finally could the servants refused to take her again to the house of the old man no matter how hard she begged them and how threateningly she looked at them.

She sat on the bench under the high fir trees and she looked blankly with the story book near her.

`Good day, princess` she heard a voice in her back.

`Did he die ?` the princes started trembling looking at the man in black long clothes

`No, he smiled. The gardener asked me to look for you and give you this bunch he picked.`

`It means he is better ?` the girl jumped from the bench.

`Yes he is full of life and soon he will return to gardening but there is something I don`t understand. Yesterday, late in the evening, a servant came to tell me that the old man had called me to commune him. So I went in the morning. But did I see? The old man looked surprised at me and told me someone I sent went to him and communed him. I know your parents punished you because you went to the old man and then to the church. I think you came to tell me the wish of the old man to commune. As long as I am the only priest from the village I don`t understand who came to commune the old man. To whom did you speak?`

`I spoke only with the man from that big painting from the church` the princess said

`You spoke with our Lord Jesus ?`

`It means He went to commune the old man.`

`I also asked Him to heal him. How nice of Him to take out time and fulfill my wishes` the princess clapped her hands and looking around whispered to the priest:

`Can you please take this to him from me?`

She took out a small brooch in the shape of a heart and gave it to the priest. 

`To take it to the old man ?`

`No, to Jesus, said the princess laughing. Tell Him I believe it too that He exists but I must keep this secret for the moment.`

The priest took the brooch looked at it and afterwards gave it back to the princess.

`You can keep it if you want. He had already received the brooch from you and He heard what you told Him.

The girl looked at him puzzled.

`But God is not here, how to hear me?`

`He is everywhere. You can speak to Him anytime you wish.`

Veronica Iani

Source: Facebook – Basilica.

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