The Tale of The Lost Princess8 min read
The Rebbe spoke up and said, “While on a journey, I told a story. Whoever heard it had a thought of repentance. This is the story.”
There was once a king who had six sons and one daughter. The daughter was very precious in his eyes and he loved her very much. He took very great delight in her.
On one occasion, when the king was together with her on a certain day, he grew angry with her and threw the following words from his mouth: “May the no-good one take you.” That night she went to her room, and in the morning, no one knew where she went.
Her father was very pained and he went here and there looking for her. The viceroy stood up, for he saw the king’s pain. He requested a servant, a horse, and money for expenses, and he went to search for her. He searched for a very long time until he found her. (Now we will tell of how he searched until he found her.)
The viceroy traveled here and there for a long time through deserts, fields, and forests. He searched for her for a very long time. Finally, while traveling through the desert, he saw a path to the side, and thought it over. “Since I have traveled for so long in the desert and I cannot find her, let me follow this path. Perhaps it will bring me to an inhabited area.” And he walked for a very long time.
After some time, he saw a castle. Many soldiers stood around it. The castle was very beautiful and neat and the troops were very orderly. The viceroy was afraid that the soldiers would not let him enter. But he thought it over and said, “I will go ahead and try.” He left behind his horse and went to the castle. The soldiers didn’t stop him at all, and he went from room to room. Finally, he came to the main hall. There he saw the king sitting with the crown on his head. There were many soldiers there as well as musicians with their instruments before them. It was all very beautiful and pleasant. Neither the king nor anyone else asked him any questions. He saw delicacies and fine foods there and he stood and ate. Then he went lie down in a corner to see what would happen next.
He saw that the king requested for them to bring the queen. They went to fetch her, and there was a great uproar and tremendous joy as they brought forth the queen. The orchestra played and the choir sang. They set up a throne for her and she sat next to the king. She was the lost princess! As soon as the viceroy saw her, he recognized her. The queen looked around, and, seeing someone lying in a corner, she recognized him. She stood up from her throne and went over and touched him. “Do you know me?” she asked. “Yes,” he replied. “I know you. You are the lost princess.”
He then asked her, “How did you get here?” “It happened when my father, the king, threw those words from his mouth (‘May the no-good one take you.’),” she answered. “This is the place of no-good.” The viceroy told her that her father was in so much pain and had searched for her for many years. “How can I get you out of here?” he asked. She said, “It is impossible to get me out of here unless you choose for yourself a place and remain there for a full year.
“All that year you must long to free me. Whenever you are unoccupied, you must only yearn, seek, and look forward to freeing me. And you must also fast. Then, on the last day of the year, you must fast and go without sleep for the entire twenty-four-hour period.”
The viceroy went and did what the princess had told him. On the final day, at the year's close, he fasted and did not sleep. He rose and began heading toward the palace. He saw a tree with very beautiful apples. It was very desirable to his eyes, and he ate an apple. Immediately after eating the apple, he fell into a deep sleep, and he slept for a very long time.
The servant tried to shake him, but he would not wake. After some time, the viceroy awoke from his slumber and asked his servant, "Where in the world am I?" The servant told him what had happened. "You slept for a very long time — for many years. I survived by eating the fruit." The viceroy was very upset at himself. He went to the palace and found the princess.
He found her and she lamented to him greatly, saying, “If you had come on that day, you would have freed me from here. But because of one day, you lost everything. However, it is very difficult not to eat, especially on the last day when the Evil Urge is very strong.” (The princess is telling him that she will make the conditions easier for him by allowing him to eat on the last day, for it is very difficult, etc.)
"Therefore, return and choose for yourself a place, and sit there for a year, just as before. On the last day you will be allowed to eat, but you must not sleep and you mustn't drink wine so that you don't fall asleep, for the most important thing is that you remain awake." He went and he did so. On the final day, he began approaching the palace. He saw a flowing river. The river was red and it smelled like wine. He asked his servant, "Have you ever seen such a thing — a river of water which appears red and smells like wine?" And he went and tasted from the river. He immediately fell asleep and slept for many years, a period of seventy years.
Many troops passed, with a procession and equipment that accompanied them. The servant hid himself because of the soldiers. After the troops passed, a chariot and covered wagon approached. In it, sat the princess. The procession stopped nearby. The princess descended and sat next to the viceroy. She recognized him. She shook him very much, but he did not wake.
She began to bemoan, "How many immense difficulties and toils he has undergone for so many years in order to free me, and on the day he could have freed me he lost everything…" She began to cry greatly over all of this, [saying], "For there is great pity upon him and upon me, for I have been held captive here for so long and I am unable to leave…" She then took the scarf from her head and wrote on it with her tears. She placed it next to him. She went and sat in her chariot, and they traveled on.
After this, the viceroy awoke and asked his servant, "Where in the world am I?" The servant told him (the viceroy) the entire story about the many soldiers that had passed, the chariot, the princess, and her great crying and grief. Suddenly he looked and noticed the headscarf next to him. "Where is this from?" he asked. The servant answered that the princess had written on it with her tears. The viceroy took the scarf and held it up to the sun. He began to see letters. [He read that] at this time, she is no longer in the previous palace. "Rather, you will need to search for a mountain of gold and a palace of pearls, and there you will find me."
He left his servant behind and went to search for her, alone. His search for her lasted many years. Eventually, he came to the realization that this mountain of gold and palace of pearls certainly does not exist in the settled parts of the world, for he was an expert in all the maps of the world. [He said,] "I will go to the deserts," and he went to search for her in the deserts for many years. After this, he saw a tremendously large person, who didn't seem to be human at all because of his enormous size. He carried a huge tree — no tree in the settled world was as large as this tree. The giant asked him: "Who are you?" He responded, "I am a human." The giant was astounded, and he said, "It has been so long since I have been in this desert, and I have never seen a human here!"
The viceroy told him the whole story, and about how he was searching for a mountain of gold and a palace of pearls. The giant responded, "Certainly, this place doesn't exist." He repressed him, telling him that his mind had been led astray by folly, for it was clear that no such place existed. The viceroy began to cry very much, for he was certain that the place existed. The giant repressed him again, saying, "It is certainly folly!" And the viceroy said, "It certainly exists."
He said to him (the giant to the viceroy), "In my opinion, it is folly. But because you are adamant about it — I am appointed over all of the wild animals. I will do you a favor and call these animals, for they run all over the world. Perhaps one of them will know about the mountain and palace of which you speak.” He called to all of them from the smallest to the largest, all kinds of wild animals, and he asked them. All of them answered that they hadn't seen such a place. "You see?" said the giant, "you have been told foolishness. If you will listen to me, turn back! For you will certainly not find it, for it is certainly not in the world." The viceroy adamantly insisted, saying that it must certainly exist. He said to him (the giant to the viceroy), "Further in the desert you will find my brother. He is in charge of all the birds. Perhaps they will know something, since they fly up high in the air; maybe they saw the mountain of gold and the palace of pearls. Go to him and tell him that I sent you."
The viceroy searched for him for many years, until he again encountered a giant like the previous one. He, too, carried a great tree. The giant asked him all that the first one had. The viceroy told him his whole story and how the giant's brother had sent him here. This giant began pushing him away as well, telling him that it certainly didn't exist, but the viceroy remained adamant. He said to him (the giant to the viceroy), "I am appointed over all of the birds. I will call them, perhaps they know." He called all the birds, and asked them all, from the smallest to the biggest. They answered that they did not know of this mountain or palace. "Now you can see for yourself that it doesn't exist in the world. If you will listen to me, turn around and go back, for it doesn't exist!" But the viceroy adamantly insisted, saying that it certainly did exist.
The giant said to the viceroy, "Further in the desert, you will find my brother. He is appointed over all of the winds which travel throughout the world. Maybe they know something." The viceroy walked for many, many years until he found another giant, carrying a tree like the others. The giant asked him who he was, and the viceroy told him the whole story. Like the others, this giant tried to discourage him, but the viceroy stood his ground. The third giant said to the viceroy that he would call all of the winds of the world on his behalf and ask them. He called them, and they came. He asked them all, and they said they had never seen such a mountain or palace. The giant said: "Now you surely see that you have been led along by folly." And the viceroy began to cry very greatly, saying, "I know with certainty that it exists."
In the middle of this conversation, they saw that another wind had come. The giant grew very angry, saying, "Why did you come so late? I decreed that all of the winds should come, why did you not come together with them?" The wind answered, "I was held up because I needed to carry a princess to a mountain of gold and a palace of pearls." And he was very joyous.
The giant asked the wind, "What is precious there?" [Meaning, which items are valuable there and held in esteem?] The wind responded, "Everything there is tremendously valuable and expensive." The one appointed over the winds said to the viceroy: "Because you have been searching for her for such a great amount of time and you’ve had so many struggles, it is possible that you will now have a further obstacle because of money. Therefore, I will give you a vessel. Whenever you reach inside, you will take money from there." The giant commanded the wind to bring the viceroy to this place. The storm wind came and carried him there, bringing him to the gate. There were troops there who did not let him enter the city. He reached his hand into the vessel and took out money. He bribed them and entered the city. It was a beautiful city. He went to a wealthy man and paid him for room and board, for he would need to stay a while. He would need to devote much thought and contemplation to free her.
[Reb Nosson writes:] The manner in which he freed her was not told. But in the end, he freed her.
THE STORY OF OUR LIVES
Never heard this story before. Wow, crazy to think that he kept coming so close but still on the last day couldn’t hold himself back. Thanks for sharing!
Such a powerful story. I cannot wait to explore it in your new book.
What an interesting story. I love this so much
I will like to read more of this Interesting story.
Wow. This is so touching
I haven’t ressd such an interesting story. This is too stunning
Thanks to Breslev Israel/Chut Shel Chessed I was able to share the Rebbe’s story of the Lost Princess with my French class earlier this year. That was my small way of spreading Rabbeinu’s message. LPI is spreading the story and ideals of Rebbe Nachman not only to a small group, but to the Jewish people wherever they are. Ashreinu!
HI this story is soooooooo good