Long ago before the world became so complex. When men still believed in the mysteries that lay beyond their science and understanding. When people were what they were and daily life left no time to worry about the “-ologies” that infest our understandings of the world around us. There was a legend.
It was told one slightly foggy night to Iris before she left the large fire grate and crept up to her warm bed.
“Now they say Lass,” her very old Grandmother began staring wearily into the dancing flames, as though in them she could see the story she was about to tell. “That these was a time when no clouds spotted the sky in all it’s vast expanse. The Prince of the sky was lonely, so they say. Oh yes child, there is a Prince which rules the sky. You see the King of the Heavens, Father Time, had a son and he was set to govern the sky. The The Prince of the Sky was a kind ruler who shepherds the great sun and moon across his fields and paints the beautiful sunsets. The lovely stars in all their glory dance just for him. Yes the Prince cared for his kingdom and it showed forth all its beauty for him. And yet with all that he had, there still remained a great longing inside of him.
Leaving his throne, he descended to the earth to visit the kingdom of the Queen of the World, Mother Earth. For it was known that she had many beautiful daughters. He went to see them one by one, the fairest of them, The Princess of the Forest in her sweeping green gowns, the Princess of the Lakes searching him with her shimmering blue eyes, the Princes of the Mountains so aloof and regal. But none of them would think of leaving her precious Kingdom to follow the Prince to his Kingdom so far away.
At last deciding to return to his home above he went one last time to visit the Princess of the lakes for of all the kingdoms hers reminded him most of his own, save the fish swam and birds flew. Dusk was falling and the lake turned and mysterious gray. Then at the edge of the lake he saw a woman glide across the surface followed by a thin blue mist.
“That is the child. The Princess of the Mists.” The Prince turned to see the Princess of the Lake, her eyes now as gray as the rippling waves and yet they danced in a fond sisterly love. The Princess of the Mist drew closer and bowed shyly before the Prince. She did not seem such a child to the Prince, indeed her smile glowed with the softness of womanly kindness.
At length he stood and bid the Princesses good night and returned to his home, a vague new longing entering into his heart, a longing no longer nameless.”
“Iris,” Her mother’s voice called impatiently. “Stop bothering your grandmother and get to bed. There’s much to be done tomorrow, a rain storm is due.”
“The child’s not bothering me dear.” The old woman chuckled looking at Iris as though she had just remembered her presence there and found it very amusing. Then her eyes floated to the golden flames once more lost in the tale. “He had not been long returned home when he looked down from his expanse and saw little mist staring back at him. Glancing at the sun, sure in it’s course, he quickly ascended to her side. Every day they met at sunset, to glide across the lake together. One day he spoke very softly to her, “My home is very different from yours, but I think you would feel at home there.” The Princess frowned uneasily and said, “I have no home. I roam the forests, skip through the mountains and glide across the lake. My sisters all give me a place among them to bring drink to their growing kingdoms. They need me, were I to leave them their lands would die.”
The Prince nodded solemnly, understanding her concern.
The Princess reached out her hand and touched his check, “I have wronged you by spending all this time with you.” The Prince tried to object but no sooner had she said the words than she vanished into the thick mist that surrounded her.
Knowing he had received his answer. He quickly whispered one last goodbye and returned to his home. For some time he walked his kingdom and governed his kingdom with only half his heart. “What would it be like to roam free with the mist?” “What would it feeling like to have her there with him?” But there were to many fantasies and a real kingdom to care for.
Then one day, as he lead the sun across the sky, he saw her. The Princess of the Mist wondering through the sky and crying as she went. No longer did a thin mist follow behind her but large blowy clouds thick with the emotions that filled her. Running to her, he saw her eyes brighten at the sight of him. And they embraced one another. Suddenly a bright colorful light burst forth and the first rainbow was seen.
Soon they were married and Mother Earth and Father Time gave the Princess a new name, Princess of the Clouds. And they climbed the sky together.
Alas, though she watered the kingdoms from her lofty perch the Princess of the Clouds was not completely happy. She longed for her old haunts and the freedom to move where ever the wind had blown her. Though she did not complain, the Prince could see her eyes linger longingly upon the crystal clear lakes and the forest glades. He told her one day that she could go if she so desired. With a cry of delight she kissed him quickly and vanished.
That night the sky shook with thunder as he wailed her loss. Far away in the meadow she heard his cries. Lifting her gown she wondered across the sky following the sound of his thunderous sorrow, throwing out sparks of light to show her the way. At last she found him and they wept their hellos.
And so they lived. He caring for the sky. She free to wonder as she pleased. Bending low to kiss the morning glories as the sun broke forth its newest rays. Rising quickly to cover his face and lovingly hold him when the day had been too long. When after long separation they embrace the beautiful rainbow bursts forth filling all eye with hope.
And that, my dear, is how the clouds came to roam the skies.” The Grandmother’s eyes left the fire and rested on her pretty granddaughter. “And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” A wrinkled eye winked gaining her a giggle from the little girl. “Now get to bed like you mother said. Before the Prince of Darkness comes to fetch you.”
Iris gave a squeal and ran quickly up the stairs, but quietly stopped at the top, not ready to go to bed just yet.
“Will you not stay mother?” Iris’ mother asked. “He’ll be home soon.”
“No thank you dear.” Came the reply as the rocking chair creaked. “Father comes tomorrow and I long to throw off this frail garb for my new spring gown.”
“And we all long to see you dawn it.”
“Mother!” Iris lept as her father’s voice announced his arrival.
“Hello son.” The old woman greeted him. “Did you shepherd well this day?”
“Ay,” He answered. “All are in their place.” A pause came in which no one spoke. Then her father’s voice mused. “Tomorrow is the day isn’t it? Well then, we’ll all be there. And little Iris will dance in your honor.”
The old woman mumbled her thanks and Iris heard the door open. “Goodnight my children.” She called.
“Goodnight Mother Earth.” Came the unified reply.