Tale of the Mushroom Prince
Once upon a time, back when the world was still new, there was a young boy. He traveled far and wide, exploring the world without fear, without worry. Alone he traveled until he found a forest of grand mushrooms. The mushrooms were bigger than any tree he had ever seen before in his travels. They blocked off the sun’s rays far above.
“You are a strange- looking creature,” he heard from voices sounding like whispers coming from the giant mushrooms all around him. Frightened, he started to run, but he only got himself lost deeper into the forest of giant mushrooms.
“Don’t run, we won’t hurt you,” the voices said, and the boy stopped. He looked all around and saw nothing but the giant trunks of mushrooms around him.
“Don’t be scared of us, we were once alive like you, but a Pythoness killed us and trapped our souls inside these grand mushrooms. You must fi nd your way out within three years when she comes out once more from her castle in the middle of the forest,” voices whispered.
The young boy walked and walked all around the grand mushroom forest but couldn’t fi nd the exit. The spirits of the once living kept him company throughout his endless walk. They would tell him stories and give them clues of what they were when they were alive. And as the years went by, they all became his close friends and they called him their prince.
The three years were about to be up when the prince found an opening at what he thought was the end of the mushroom forest. Overjoyed, he ran to it, only to realize that it was not the end of the forest but the very middle of it. He had reached the Pythoness’ castle.
He was in the middle of the mushroom forest with only one day left to spare. There was no way he would be able to fi nd his way out in just one day being so deep in, he thought. Then the prince started to take his fi rst steps towards the castle.
“No, no, prince, you must not enter there. That’s the castle where the Pythoness rests,” the voices of the spirits warned him.
But the prince was sure in what he was about to do as he responded, “My dear friends, I will end the Pythoness’ hold on you and set your spirits free.” The voices started to weep and cry as he disappeared into the castle.
Inside the castle, he found a sword and found the Pythoness resting on a bed of feathers. But, as he raised his sword to slay her, he felt mesmerized by her beauty and hesitated.
Just as the sun was going down, ending the third year of the Pythoness’ rest, she awoke and saw the prince holding out a sword at her in the air. The Pythoness killed him and trapped his soul in a grand mushroom.
And the mushroom prince and the other souls remained trapped in the forest until the Pythoness fi nally died and their souls were freed to roam the earth.