The Muse ------------------------- by Luckymama
The Comfortable Couch
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This little story is dedicated to our real muse and to all the Chico Chicks who have allowed him to influence us and bring us together. Without him I would not have met you and my life would have been lesser for the experience.


Once there was a tiny country in a far off land in another time that once had a Prince. This Prince was a handsome man, one that made the ladies of his kingdom swoon. He knew he was not a perfect man, but he tried to rule his subjects with compassion and care. As he tried his best to make his subjects happy, he found himself becoming sad. The people of the kingdom did not seem to appreciate the compassion he showed them. Rumors were started about the Handsome Prince that were not true. He found the friends he thought he had were not true friends at all. All of this made the unhappy Prince fall into a deep despair until one day he decided he did not want to rule this kingdom any more and he died. Even after his death, rumors and lies were told about the Handsome Prince until time seem to erase the memory of the once handsome, compassionate man. His mother, the old queen, was very sad about what had happened to her son. He had once kept a beautiful book, encrusted in jewels, with his thoughts and dreams in it. He gave a detailed account of his reign in the pages of this journal. His mother found it after his death, and, even though it might have cleared her son's good name, she locked it away and went away herself, never to be heard from again.

With the passing of time, the memory of the Handsome Prince grew fainter and fainter. Many years had passed and the Handsome Prince, who had died of a broken heart for his people, was all but forgotten, replaced by other princes who reigned on the throne of the kingdom. But the Handsome Prince refused to be forgotten. His spirit became that of the Muse.

There lived in this kingdom five beautiful women. They were of varying ages and lived in different towns in the kingdom. Some of them remembered the Handsome Prince while he reigned, but they were only young girls themselves. Time had passed and they had gone on with their lives. None of them knew the others and would lived in ignorance of each other had not the Muse had other ideas.

As it happened in the kingdom, the historians were compiling the vast History of the kingdom to be published. News went from town to town in the kingdom that information for the History was being compiled and if anyone had anything to contribute, that the New Prince would like it brought to the palace. Now the five ladies were as excited about this grand project as everyone else in the kingdom. Each on their own, and according to their talent, began their own research in to the kingdom's History. And this was just the twist of fate the Muse needed to finally let the truth be told about the Handsome Prince that died of a broken heart for his people.

The first lady was a Musician. She wrote ballads of the history of her kingdom. In her research, she came upon the story of the Handsome Prince. She remembered how she loved him when he had been alive, but being a young girl, knew he was not hers to have love her back. She found portraits of this Handsome Prince and studied his features. She rekindled the love she had once had for him and wished in her heart that she could somehow have been there to make the sad Prince happy.

The second lady was a Writer. She had not written stories for a while, but with the new interest in the History, she wanted to participate in writing the grand stories of the kingdom. She was only a couple of years younger than the Musician, but she faintly remembered the Handsome Prince. As she was researching the History, she, too, came across the portraits of the Handsome Prince that had been painted by the great artists of the day and she immediately fell deeply in love with the Handsome Prince. She struggled with the knowledge that he was no longer alive, and secretly wished she could have been there to make him happy.

The third lady was an Artist of great renown. Her portraits of the current reigning monarchs hung in the great halls of the palace. She was much younger than the Musician and the Writer, and had not known the Handsome Prince, being a young child when he reigned. With all of the interest in the History, she went to the master portrait painters and looked for portraits of the past reigning princes. When she saw the portrait of the Handsome Prince, her heart immediately fell in love with him. She wanted to know more about him and so she started writing to people who knew him when he reigned and hearing stories about him.

The fourth lady was a Playwright. She worked in the theater, writing and producing plays for the people of the kingdom. She was the youngest of the five ladies and was merely a toddler in her home when the Handsome Prince reigned. She wanted to write grand plays about the History and as she researched, the story of the Handsome Prince came to her ears. She found plays that had been written about him, but they were not all true. Somehow she sensed that the truth had not been entirely written about him. She, also, had seen portraits of the Handsome Prince and fell in love with him.

The last of the ladies was the eldest. She had remembered the Handsome Prince, because she was three years older than he. She was a Poet and Dreamer. She had loved the Handsome Prince and was still in love with him. Of all the ladies, she felt the loss of the Handsome Prince the deepest. The poems within her had died when he had died but the excitement of the History had reawakened the flame. She wanted to start to write the poetry of her dreams once again.

In those days, a person could write a letter to a town "to whom it may concern" and have it posted in the town square. There people could read the topic of the letter and decide whether to correspond with the writer or not. It was in the town square of the Musician that she found the letters of the Writer, the Artist, the Playwright and the Poet posted, all inquiring about the Handsome Prince. She herself had written similar letters of inquiry to every town in the kingdom. She hastily grabbed these letters and wrote to each one. She was to find out, throughout the weeks of corresponding, that each of the five ladies had found the other four and a circle of friendship was beginning to develop between them.

Each of the ladies were able to pool their knowledge about the Handsome Prince and even shared their secret love for him. The Musician had to travel on business and had gotten to meet the Writer on two occasions. This meeting fueled a desire among all of the ladies to eventually meet and share the information they had gathered and the love they shared for this forgotten Handsome Prince. It was in this atmosphere of love and devotion that the Muse, who was never far away from observing the correspondence of the ladies, decided it was the right time for his story to be told.

One day, the Musician was in her home composing a song for the children of her town, when a messenger came bearing a small parcel. As she opened it, her fingers began to tremble and her heart raced within her breast. The only other time she had felt like this was when she had dreamed of the Handsome Prince talking to her in her sleep. She had shared these dreams with the Writer when she visited her, wondering if any of the ladies had experienced a similar phenomenon. The Writer had shared with the Musician that she had felt the presence of the Handsome Prince and thought she had heard him speak to her only once, a whisper really. The Writer did not know why the Handsome Prince had spoken to her and would sometimes hold her in her sleep. The Musician wondered why the Handsome Prince came to her in her dreams, but neither lady had an answer for the other. They only knew that the Handsome Prince wanted to be remembered somehow. As the Musician opened the package, gold pieces fell out between her fingers. Inside the package was a note, beautifully scripted.

"You are invited to a meeting of great minds at the request of your host.

Enclosed is the money for your journey and the directions how to get there."

The Musician shivered as she pondered the meaning of the letter. The destination of the meeting was a large city near the palace. The place chosen for the meeting was the finest inn in the city. She counted the gold pieces and discovered that she had enough to hire a carriage and stay at this inn in a style she was unaccustomed to.

A few days later she packed her meager belongings in her carpet bag and set out for the city. The ride in the coach was everything she dreamed it would be. Once the Musician arrived at the inn, she showed the letter to the innkeeper, as per the instructions that correspondence had outlined. The innkeeper gave a knowing glance and told her to follow him. He showed her up a long flight of stairs to a large room dominated by a round wooden table in the center. Six doors opened to the sides of the room, three on each, with the seventh door, the one they came through, on a wall by itself. Opposite the entrance of the room was a huge fireplace, which held a roaring fire. The table was set for five people. The innkeeper showed the Musician to the first door on the left. It turned out to be a cozy bedroom with a four pollster bed in the middle. The innkeeper put the Musician's bag on the bed and told her that the others would be arriving shortly. She did not have time to ask him what this was all about as he disappeared behind the entrance door. The musician unpacked and went out into the central room to a chair sitting beside the fireplace. She sat down to wait for her host.

A few minutes went by and the entrance door once again opened to the innkeeper. The Musician recognized her friend the Writer behind him. Embracing, they said in unison, "You received and invitation, too?" They laughed and realized that something magical was about to happen that night. The innkeeper showed the Writer to her room, the center one on the left next to the Musician's room. As before, the innkeeper left before the ladies could inquire what this was all about.

Three more times the innkeeper delivered guests to the large room with the round table. These guests were introduced to each other. It did not take the ladies long to realize that they had finally gotten to meet the circle of corresponding friends, the lovers of the Handsome Prince. Each was shown to their rooms. When the innkeeper had shown the last of the ladies to their rooms, he turned and said that their dinner would be brought to them shortly.

The Musician decided that she who had arrived first should act as hostess to the rest. She asked each to take one of the five cozy chairs near the fireplace and started the conversation.

"May I presume that each of you received an invitation similar to this one with enough gold for the journey?" She showed them her letter.

"Exactly like the one I received," answered the Writer.

"It says this is to be a meeting of great minds," said the Artist. "I guess we are they."

The Playwright smiled. "I don't know about great minds, but it seems like it is a meeting of like minds and kindred spirits."

The Poet was very silent. In a soft whisper like voice she asked, "Then who is our Host for the meeting?"

All pondered the Poet's question. None dared speak what each was thinking. The innkeeper knocked on the door and the Writer answered it. "Your dinner is ready, m'ladies."

"That is fine," answered the Musician. And the innkeeper and an army of servants brought in many dishes of wonderful smelling culinary delights. The innkeeper seated each of the ladies when the dinner was laid out and proceeded to serve them. The Musician took this opportunity to ask the innkeeper who their host was.

"I couldn't tell you, m'lady. I was given instructions by a messenger to accommodate five ladies of great wisdom and beauty. They were to pay me for their accommodations, but if the bill came to more, I would be recompensed by the messenger. I hope you find everything to your liking."

The ladies ate the delicious dinner and the innkeeper left them to chat away about the person who had brought them together by correspondence, the Handsome Prince. When the innkeeper and the army of servants came in to clear away the dinner, the ladies retired, each to their own rooms, to retrieve the materials they brought with them. The innkeeper bade them all a good night and left the ladies to enjoy their evening of discussion and story telling about the Handsome Prince. Each had brought with them the information they had gathered on him and shared their stories of inspiration in each of their talents about the Handsome Prince. Each seemed to hold a piece of the puzzle that had become the mystery of his life, but they could not make much sense of it. After an evening of song, story, poetry and sharing, the innkeeper once again knocked on the door.

"A thousand pardons for this intrusion so late at night, but this package came and the message was to bring up to you without delay."

The Playwright, who had answered the door, took the package from the innkeeper and thanked him. Taking it over to the table, she read the inscription on the brown paper. It was written in the same flourishing handwriting the invitations had been in. It was addressed to the playwright. It said,

"My dearest writer of fanciful fictions for the stage, this is the information you and your colleagues seek. Do not open it until you are instructed to do so. It is the final piece you need."

"What a cryptic message," said the Poet. "I wonder what it means?"

The Musician, who was sitting by the fire once again, answered, "I think I'm beginning to see."

"Well, the rest of us are in the dark," quipped the Playwright. "Would you mind illuminating us?" Each echoed this sentiment. The Musician got up and went to the table to look at the mysterious package.

"I received a dream the night before from the Handsome Prince," the Musician began. "I have been party to many such conversations with him since I started on my quest to know more about him. Last night's conversation centered around this very meeting. I should have seen this coming, but in the excitement of the journey, the dream sank into my subconscious. The arrival of the package and its cryptic message has brought the meaning of the dream a little clearer in my brain."

"And?," asked the Playwright

"Let me just give you the instructions from the dream," continued the Musician. "I'm not sure what it all means, but I think it will become clearer as we follow them. First we must each bring the instruments of our talent to the table and set them down before us. All except the Playwright, who is to do the same with the package she was given."

Each lady placed her items in front of her place at the table. The Musician brought her lute, staff paper and quill and placed them front of her as she took her place at the large wooden table. The Writer brought her parchment, inkwell and quill and place them in front of her and took her place. The Poet had similar instruments placed in front of her and she sat down. The Artist brought out her sketch book and chalks and placed them in front of her seat as she sat down. Finally, the Playwright took the package and set it before her on the table.

"All is how I pictured it in my dream," said the Musician.

"And?" said the others in unison this time.

"And now we wait for our host. I suggest we close our eyes and allow him to enter our circle of friends."

Each lady did as she was instructed. Electricity sparkled in the air as the Muse entered the room, invited by the love he found there. The hair on the backs of each lady's arms stood almost straight up. Each lady felt a soft massaging motion against their temples. The Muse wanted them to relax and be open to his presence that night.

"I can feel him," said the Writer. "It's like the other times he visited me."

"I know," said the Musician, "I feel him, too. But he asks us to be quiet and rest in him for the moment."

After several minutes of this preparatory massage, the Muse was ready for the main event. Soon the five were swept away in a dream like state to a time in their past. The time of the Handsome Prince. Each saw the story of his life unfold in their mind. Each showed the emotions they felt on their faces as both the happy times and the sad times were revealed to them. Each saw the truth the dream had brought to the stories they had heard from other sources. And for the first time since the life was lived, the truth was made known to living people once again. The muse smiled as he inspired each of his lady loves. He longed to be alive again, to be able to feel and love once again, but he knew he had given all of that up when he gave into his despair so long ago. He shed a tear, a sweet angelic tear, for the foolishness of his youth. Seeing so much love and emotion being displayed had momentarily distracted him from his real mission. As he brought himself back into focus to the task at hand, he worked his magic on the ladies once again. He set in their minds and hearts the inspiration that would spur them to their next task.

The five ladies slowly returned to the present, but each with a mission. Each silently went about the task assigned to them, according to their talent.

The Writer began putting words to the story she had seen. More eloquent words had not been expressed before. Every line was a masterpiece of literature. But most of all, it spoke of the unspoken truths of the past. Finally, the Muse was able to see his story told, the way it should have been so long ago.

The Musician started composing a score so rich in dimension, that none had been heard quite like it before. The Poet set about putting words to the songs the Musician was composing. She used every rhyme and poetic device that was ever devised, but none could match the depth of feeling the Poet used. Neither had to look at what the other was doing, because the Muse was putting the notes and the words in each one's hearts.

The Artist took a hold of her sketch book and chalks and began to illustrate the story. Her colors expressed all the feeling and beauty the story conveyed. The Muse looked on with love as she drew his handsome face.

The Playwright knew it was time to open the mystery package. As she watched the others hard at work, she carefully unwrapped the brown paper. It fluttered to the ground as a book bedecked with jewels appeared in her hands. She saw a note on top of it in the same flourishing handwriting. It read:

"This journal has been in the safe keeping of the one who gave me life. She is to soon take the journey to be with me forever. I instructed her to send it to you to confirm the story you have just witnessed. Keep it and read it and share it with the others in your circle of friends."

The Playwright's hands trembled as she opened the pages of the Handsome Prince's journal. Each page told the inner thoughts and feelings of this sensitive man. Each page held the confirmation of the truths that had been revealed in the dream story.

Several hours went by as the ladies labored in love well into the wee hours of the morning. When the dawn finally peeked into the window next to the fireplace, the Muse knew his time was up for that evening. He gave each of the maidens a spirit kiss on the cheek and departed the room. He had left each of them with a desire to spend another night with him. As he left, the ladies returned to reality and realized what had happened. Wordlessly, they packed up their work and went to get some sleep.

By late afternoon each of the beautiful ladies awoke and entered the large room with the round table to find it set with another delicious dinner. As they dined, they each shared the most wonderful dreams each had after they retired.

The Musician told of being in a concert hall playing for all of the royalty of the land and having the Handsome Prince not take his eyes off of her. After the concert was over, the Handsome Prince asked her to be brought to his private receiving room and asked her to play for a private audience, himself. As she played, he asked his page to bring his Royal Lute. He asked her teach him the love songs she composed for the concert. She smile as she remembered his sweet crystal clear tenor voice as it filled her soul. She remembered the touch of his arms as they entwined around her to share the lute in her hands. He enjoyed her singing and compositions so much that he proclaimed her the Official Court Composer of Love Songs.

The Artist told the ladies about her dream. In it, she was chosen to paint the Official Royal Portrait of the Handsome Prince. He posed upon a white charger and she spent long hours trying to capture his grandeur and his beauty. When she was finally finished, the Handsome Prince was so touched by the Portrait, he proclaimed her the Official Portrait Painter of the kingdom. The Handsome Prince wanted to show his gratitude to the Artist by asking her to spend the evening with him. The Artist could not help but blush when she recalled how sweet the Handsome Prince had been to her. He insisted on her teaching him to paint and she remembered with relish his large, soft hands and long tapered fingers as he held them around hers on the paintbrush.

The Writer was the next to share her dream. The Handsome Prince loved fairy tales and had invited all of the best story tellers of the land to hold readings of their work before the Handsome Prince and his court. The Writer told a story of lost love and magical beauty. It was about a young maiden who loved a peasant boy. She wanted to marry the lad, but her father did not want her marrying beneath her station in life. He had arranged a marriage for her to a ugly old Lord. The peasant boy told her not to worry because things were not what they seemed. In the end the peasant boy revealed to her that he was not really who he seemed to be, he was in disguise to find a bride who would love him for who he was, not what he was. The peasant boy was really the king of the land and took the young maiden for his bride. The story moved the Handsome Princes heart and brought tears to his eyes. He was so moved, that he proclaimed the Writer the Official Teller of Tales for the kingdom. She paused to recall how the Handsome Prince's eyes sparkled with tears in them, brought on by her moving tale. She felt the softness of his cheeks as he allowed her to dry them with her hand.

The Playwright related her dream. The Handsome Prince was having a birthday celebration and his mother, the Old Queen, asked the Playwright to write and produce a play for the Handsome Prince. She knew he liked romantic comedies and wrote a play about a little dwarf who finds a treasure only to lose it. He sets about looking far and wide only to find that a beautiful princess in now in possession of it. As he is about to give up every getting the treasure back, the princess bestows on him a greater treasure, her heart. Because she sees past his size the dwarf realizes he is not an ugly dwarf after all and turns into the Handsome Prince. The Handsome Prince loved the play so much, he proclaimed the Playwright the Official Writers of Dramas for the Kingdom. The Playwright smiled as she recalled the Handsome Prince's full laugh that rang out like the peals of the bells in the cathedral. His full hair gleamed in the light and shook like waves on the shore with each spasm of laughter. He saw how she admired it and allowed her the pleasure of feeling its softness between her fingers.

The Poet sat quietly listening to her friends relate their dreams. Then it was her turn. In her dream, she was the servant to a powerful Vain Princess who wished to marry the Handsome Prince, not for love, but for the power it would bring her. She knew her servant was a Poet and commanded her to write the most beautiful love poetry to win the Handsome Princes heart for the Vain Princess. What the Vain Princess did not know was that the Poet was in love with the Handsome Prince herself, although she knew he could never love the Poet. She wrote the most moving love poetry to the Handsome Prince. He was so moved by the poetry he proposed to the Vain Princess. On their wedding night, the Handsome Prince asked the Vain Princess to compose a new poem for him. When the Vain Princess could not, she was forced to admit who had written the beautiful Love poems. The Handsome Prince sent for the Poet and immediately proclaimed that she would no longer be a servant, but the Official Poet of the kingdom. He saw that the sentiments expressed in the poems resided in the Poet's heart and was drawn by her beauty as well. She woke with the Handsome Prince's kiss still fresh on her lips.

Each of the of the ladies fell into silence as they savored the beauty of the Handsome Prince that was revealed by each one. The Playwright was the first to break this silent revere. "We each had a mission last night entrusted to us. Let us now bring all of the pieces of the story together."

The ladies retired once again to their chambers and the servants came and silently cleared the table. When the ladies returned to the large room, each took the seat that was assigned to them from the night before. Each set before the rest the parts of the Handsome Prince's story that they had so lovingly worked on under the guidance of the all knowing Muse. The sun was starting to set and the golden colors reflecting off the clouds in the eastern sky shone in the window by the fireplace. Soon the Evening Star peeked in through the pane. The Muse had arrived.

"He is here," whispered the Poet in tingling excitement. Each of the ladies could feel his presence as well.

The Playwright took the lead tonight. "Oh wondrous Muse, we who love the Handsome Prince, welcome you as our guest again tonight. What is our task of love this evening?"

Each of the ladies closed their eyes and could smell the bitter sweet scent of hazelnuts. The Muse once again lay his fingers on each of the ladies temples and gently massaged each until they were ready to be open to his gently inspiration. The Muse started with the Playwright and prodded her to speak. "I see a wonderful production, a play of vast size and scope. A saga, that the people of the kingdom will flock to. I think our host wishes us to put together the pieces of his story in to one Grand Drama. He is asking me to produce this with your help. You each hold a piece and the Journal is the key. It is the blueprint for the Grand Drama. The people of the kingdom will finally know the Truth regarding the Handsome Prince."

Each of the ladies sighed and shed a tear for their love at the mention of his beautiful name. The Muse again cried at his foolishness for giving into the despair that robbed him of the chance to experience more fully the love of each of the five wise, beautiful ladies sitting before him. He was shaken from this sadness by the voice of the Poet.

"The people need to know the truth, but my heart is close to breaking because he is not with us. If only I could feel the sweetness of his kiss like I did last night in my dream."

The Musician echoed the sorrow and regret expressed by the Poet. "Oh, my, yes. To hear those dulcet tones from my dream and feel those strong arms around mine would be heaven to me."

"And to feel his fingers entwine in mine again...." said the Artist.

"And to feel the softness of his cheek against my hand..." added the Writer.

"And to hear his laughter ringing in my ears and the softness of his hair between my fingers..." uttered the Playwright.

The Muse realized his longing was being transferred to the spirits of his lady loves. Almost in one voice the ladies spoke, "Show yourself to us, O Handsome Prince."

The Muse pleaded to the powers of heaven and earth for the ability to honor their request. "O almighty creator of love and beauty, grant to me this night the gift of mortality once again. I know I so foolishly gave it away so long ago, but for one night, allow me to feel love and give love once again. These, your daughters, have labored long and hard for me, your lowly servant, setting right a wrong done so long ago. Allow this humble servant the ability to reward each of them as they are set to the task ahead of them."

The Muse could feel a fire arise in the base of his spirit. In the room, the candles in the center of the table flickered and the curtain on the window by the fireplace shook with the breath of strong breeze. The ladies never wavered from their meditations inspired by the Beauty of the Handsome Prince. The Muse retired to the sixth chamber and waited as the Evening Star, the one the ancients called Venus, called each of the beautiful maidens to the sixth chamber, one by one.

When each lady in her turn, entered the sixth chamber, the Muse, who had now been granted the ability to become the Handsome Prince once again, was there to greet her. Each was led to the bed, one more grand than the ones in the other bedchambers. There, the Handsome Prince found his love and enjoyment in the aspect of the lady before him. Never was there such a night of love and passion as was that night when Spirit and flesh met, not once, but five times.

For each lady, the experience was different, each according to her talent. The Musician found her pleasure in the voice and the strong arms of the Handsome Prince and the Writer in his soft skin and piercing, soulful eyes. The Artist quivered under the touch of the large hands and tapered fingers and the Playwright melted in the playful ringing laughter that emanated from the Handsome Prince's inner being and delighted in the softness of his full hair as she ran her fingers through it.

As always it was to be the lot of the Poet to be last, but to her the handsome Prince saved the best part of himself. Because of her love that spanned the years since his departure from this mortal world, her gift was the gift of the Handsome Princes kisses.

As each lady completed her time with the Handsome Prince, she wordlessly retired to her own bed chamber. When the Handsome Prince quietly gave the Poet her fair well kiss and she departed the sixth chamber, the Handsome Prince looked heavenward and thanked the almighty creator for the gift he had been given and had bestowed upon each beautiful lady. Exiting the chamber and seeing the first rays of the Dawn, he faced it and said, "I can now be at rest, to wander this earth no more in search of Truth." And with that the Handsome Prince once again became a spirit being and flew to be with the spirit of his mother, the Old Queen, who had died that very evening.

The weeks and months went by as each of the ladies met to complete and finally see the fruit of their plan, the Muse's plan, come to pass. The Grand Drama touched the hearts of the people and the History was re-written to include the Truth about the Handsome Prince. Now his name is remembered with love and devotion through out the kingdom, and down through every generation. His name will not be forgotten and his deeds are written on the hearts of the people.

And what of the Beautiful Ladies who were so devoted to their Handsome Prince? Each returned to her own town to live the rest of their lives in relative peace and tranquillity. They still corresponded with each other. They met once a year in the same room on the anniversary of their first encounter. It was on the first anniversary that each brought with them the gift that the Handsome Prince had given them as a reward for their love and faithfulness. Five infant sons, who bore the beauty of their father, the Handsome Prince.

And what of the jewel encrusted Journal? No one has seen it since.