Everything on here is purely symbolic and nothing more.
By lunchtime, I was back at the inn. The grooms gave my horse and good rub
down and walked her, while I ate my meal. It took the innkeeper a few
moments to realize who I was. He smiled and shook his head in disbelief as
he refilled my drink. My horse was fed well, too.
Soon, I was back in my own lands. I let my horse trot as I took in the
scenery around me. It was good to be home. The guards looked up at me in
surprise as I approached the castle gate. I dismounted my horse, removed my
waterskin and ran inside.
The chapel was just as I had left it, except her skin had a grayish cast to
it. I knelt next to her and poured the spring water slowly into her mouth,
being careful not to waste a single drop of it. By the time I finished, I
was surrounded by the guards and staff, all watching me intently as the
color returned to her skin.
I sat back. She looked better, but there was no intake of breath - no
beating of a heart.
"She needs CPR," said one the guards. I nodded and began to administer it
to her. After a few repetitions, she coughed. We helped her into a sitting
position and held her up. When I was certain she could breath on her own, I
had her taken to her room and tucked her into bed. Then I went to my own
room and slept.
The sun shown brightly into my room the next morning. I put on a dressing
gown and went to check on my princess. She gave me a weak smile, but was no
longer in pain. I sat down next to her.
"How do you feel now?" I asked.
"Much better, thank you," she said. "That potion you gave me did work."
I gave a deep sigh.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
I told her what I had actually done. She listened without comment as I told
her about my pilgrimage and the lessons I had learned on it. She laid her
hand on mine.
"You did what you felt had to be done. What's more, you actually succeeded."
I chuckled. "Yes, I did. In spite of myself, I actually did succeed."
"That's the way life is sometimes," she said.
"So, are you ready to become a part of me again?" I asked.
She nodded. "Just promise me one thing."
"And what is that?"
"That you let Quixote know that I am alive again."
I rolled my eyes to the heavens. "Hear me out," she continued. "He
deserves to know, even if he's not interested in hearing from us."
"And how do you plan to achieve this miracle?"
"A thistle seed will tell him. Do you promise to let me have my way on this?"
"All right," I said, "I promise."
She stood up and I faced her. We put our palms together and closed our
eyes. When our eyes opened, we were one single being. I took a deep breath
and went outside to where a large thistle plant stood, its seeds like little
airy balls, waiting to take flight. I took another deep breath.
"Bear this message, seeds of thistle, to one who rode this way a few days
past: 'Go your way in peace. She lives again, but she is no longer what she
once was. Worry not for her sake.' "
Then, with a breath, I send the seeds into the air and watch as they float away.
Song of the Thistle