The Prince's Ears - A story of love, listening and being bold, p.1Ann Algie
The Prince’s Ears
- a story of love, listening and being bold.
copyright © Ann Algie 2013
Table of contents
2. About the author
3. Other books by Ann Algie
4. Contact the author
This book is dedicated to young people everywhere.
May you always follow your hearts!
Thank you to the following people for their advice, proof reading and general encouragement. Jo Hollands, Mary Gomersall, Denise Bradley and the always enthusiastic Tom Algie!
Cover design by Vila Design
The Prince’s Ears
Once upon a time in a land called Albion there lived a Prince with rather large ears! People sometimes laughed at him and called him names. They called him ‘Big ears’ and ‘Dumbo’ - after the elephant who could fly using his enormous ears. But in fact this Prince was very, very clever and he certainly wasn’t a ‘Dumbo’. He knew lots of things that other people didn’t know.
The Prince was a quiet, kind and gentle person, he liked people, and he loved nature. He liked plants and flowers and animals. Because he was a Prince in a land that was very noisy and busy it was sometimes difficult for the quiet Prince. His rather large ears meant that he heard everything!
He heard the thousands of cars rushing past his palace every day; he heard the aeroplanes, the helicopters and the sirens on police cars as they hurried to the latest emergency. He heard the televisions, radios, computers, mobile phones and game- boys as they constantly rang, bleeped and buzzed. He heard the millions of people that lived in his country as they talked, complained or shouted. He heard the noise of the tills in the supermarkets beeping as the many items whizzed past the scanners. He heard the leaders in governments around the world talking and debating about how to make economies grow. He heard the bankers and investors discussing ways to make more money.
All this noise made the Prince sad. He looked at his people and he saw that they were unhappy too. They were so busy rushing and had so many noises around them that they couldn’t think. The Prince was starting to find it difficult to think also. He knew that he was very lucky because he had a big palace with lots of rooms where he could sit quietly if he wanted to. He had lovely gardens to stroll in and woods to ride his horse in. But lately the noise of the machines seemed to be getting louder so that sometimes even in his beautiful woods he could hear fighter planes practicing for a distant war or huge farm machinery digging the earth.
As I mentioned before, the Prince was a clever man and he knew things that other people didn’t know. This was because his ears helped him to listen to little noises as well as big ones. He needed to spend time in quieter places and with quieter people otherwise the loud noises would drive him crazy or give him a headache.
So he listened to streams flowing and leaves on the trees rustling in gentle breezes; he heard butterflies fluttering, bees buzzing and cats purring. He even heard snowflakes falling, deer walking in the forest and his own heart beating. He listened to the words and ideas of thoughtful people; he listened to babies laughing, toddlers playing, teenagers’ bright ideas and the reflections of old wise men and women from all around the world.
He knew that everyone had something to offer. He knew that people were part of nature and so it made sense to look after the planet and all the plants and creatures on it. He knew that people were happier in natural surroundings. He knew that the loudest voices were not necessarily saying the most important things. He knew that having lots of money and possessions did not always make people happy. He knew that the world was in big trouble and needed help.
His eldest son had just had a son of his own and so the Prince was now a grandfather. This made him very, very happy. He loved his grandson more than anything in the world. It also made him sadder than ever about the noisy, busy world and he knew he had to try to make things better for his grandson and for all the other young people. So one day he decided that he would ride out on his horse until he could find a place where only the sounds of nature could be heard. He wanted to sit quietly and think until he could come up with a plan to help his people and the world.
He rode deep into the forest until at last he came to a huge oak tree. Its leaves were a brilliant yellow and orange and some were floating gently to the ground. His father had taken him on his first journey into the big forest and shown him this special place. His father explained about acorns growing into mighty oak trees and how fantastic things can happen as a result of small actions. The Prince had planted this tree sixty years earlier when he was just five years old.
The oak tree stood next to a small stream. There was a large rock with a smooth, flat top between the tree and the stream. The Prince tied his horse to the tree and sat on the rock gazing at the clear water as it gently made its way around stones and obstacles. Sometimes leaves from the oak tree were carried along by the stream and he followed their winding journeys until they disappeared out of sight. The Prince sat and listened and hoped to find an answer. He didn’t know what he hoped to hear. All he knew was that he loved this beautiful world; he loved his sons and grandson and cared deeply about his people who looked so unhappy.
He listened to his own breathing as his chest rose up and down in long calm, gentle sighs. He listened to the breathing of his horse making a snorting sound as its warm breath mixed in steamy trails with the cool autumn air. He listened to the little stream gurgling over the rocks. He listened to a robin singing in the tree above his head and to the rustle of dry leaves as a blackbird hopped about looking for worms. He listened and listened and waited for a good idea to come into his head.
As he felt the warm afternoon sun on his face he slowly began to realise that the answer to how he could help people was in his heart, not his head. His heart could feel everything - just in the same way as his ears could hear everything. He decided that he would listen to his heart and then decide what to do. As he listened he gathered acorns and put them in his pockets.
Slowly as the sun began to get lower in the sky, and the air began to get cooler, the Prince thought of a plan to help his people. It was a plan of the heart or a ‘heart-shaped plan’! He couldn’t wait to get back to his palace to make a start. He rode his horse quickly and he felt alive and full of energy for the first time in a very long time.
When he arrived at the palace he went straight to his study, sat at his huge desk and began to write down all the ideas that his heart was telling him. He wrote for a long, long time and then fell asleep with his head resting on his desk. In the morning he telephoned all his very best friends and also many of the leaders of governments, businesses, banks and newspapers and invited them to come to the palace to attend a very special meeting.
The next day when everyone arrived at the palace they were told that the Prince was in his greenhouse. This was not a little greenhouse like the ones people sometimes have in their gardens but a huge greenhouse full of plants from all around the world. The visitors walked into the greenhouse and saw the Prince at the far end - almost hidden by tall ferns and huge leaves! He was wearing an old brown jumper and big green wellington boots. He stood in front of a long potting bench and his hands were covered in warm, black compost. A pile of acorns was at his side and he was taking one acorn at a time and putting it into a pot full of the black compost.
The many visitors gathered round
After a few minutes a man who was from the Education Department cleared his throat noisily and asked. “Your Royal Highness, why have you asked us all to come here just to watch you planting acorns? I am a very busy person and have much work to do. I can’t stand around learning how to plant acorns!” I am in the middle of planning the curriculum for next year!
A couple of mobile phones rang and one lady sent a text to her friend to say that she had just seen the Prince wearing wellies and an old jumper! The Prince stopped what he was doing, raised his head, and looked at all the people squashed into his greenhouse.
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