Once upon a time…

Mira-Dera in San Diego, California

Once upon a time, long, long ago there lived, far away on the prairies west of the mountains, a strong, tall dark-haired young man who was intelligent and brave. As he grew up, he learned the ways of farming in his land. He drove tractors and trucks from a very young age. He learned how to care for animals and how to till the soil. He watched over his younger brothers and he loved to study science.

His childhood home was far from the sea, but nevertheless he was required by the ruler of his land to travel to a different part of the country, to be trained to take his place on a ship of war. The brave young man followed his ruler’s orders, and he traveled many hundreds of miles to the west of his home to receive his training. 

The training was long and difficult. First the young man had to prove his physical strength. Then he was tested, and he was sent to receive more training, to learn how to manage and repair the large calculating machines on the ships. These machines were called “computers,” and they were very new. Very few people understood them. 

Now, it so happened that one day during his training, this young man and his companions heard about a military ball that would be held nearby, and they all decided to attend it, dressed in their finest uniforms. There the young man met an intelligent, fun-loving princess, with shining chestnut hair and beautiful green eyes.  He courteously asked to see her again, and she consented. 

Together they visited many wondrous places. They had picnics on the beach, they toured many old museums, and they went to music festivals. They explored the mountains and the cities throughout the area.  The princess knew that she would be returning to her home within a few months, and she enjoyed these adventures with the gallant young man very much. Finally the day came when her mother, the queen, came to take the princess back to the place where she had grown up, a tall castle on a cliff overlooking the ocean. 

The ship travelled far away.

The king of the castle had once said to the princess that he wanted his daughter to stay home with him forever. He had said that he would not consent to any marriage for his daughter, and he had often tried to prevent the princess from ever meeting a young man who loved her.  But when she left the castle for a few years, the king could not prevent what happened, and the gallant young man had won her heart. (The queen of the castle privately approved of her daughter’s suitor, and instructed the young man on how to speak to the king about the marriage in such a way that the king could not refuse it.)

And so the gallant young man finished his training. Then he went to sea, while the young couple longed for each other, and many letters passed between them. The young man’s ship was sent to the far western ocean, where a war had been raging for many years. The ruler of the young man’s country wanted to end the war, and he sent the young man’s ship, and many others, to help blockade a harbor, so that a peace treaty could be negotiated. The battle was long and fierce, but when it was over, the young man’s ship was able to return home.

And so, finally, after a long year of separation, the young man’s ship came into the harbor below the king’s castle. At last the brave young man was able to claim the hand of his princess, and they were married in the chapel of the cathedral near her family’s home. From all reports, they lived happily ever after, and they loved their family very much.

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