The Sacred Marriage


When the king returns from the war, he finds that his wife and child are gone. His mother shows him the eyes and tongue, informing him that she was simply following his orders. The king is abhorred by the thought of his wife being murdered, especially as his own request. He breaks down and laments her loss, assuring his mother that this was not the message he sent. She realizes that he is truly upset, and informs him that she is not dead, but was sent into the forest for her own protection. The king decides, that from that day forth, he will dedicate his life to finding her again. He sets off into the forest for a period of seven years. At this time, he will not eat or drink, but will be sustained by the same spirit that supported the maiden through her trials. As with the maiden in her first forest ascent, he will become disheveled. His beard will grow long and he will care little of his appearance. He will discover his wild nature, his lost inherent masculinity. During the whole of this time he neither ate nor drank

After seven years, he came to a great forest, and found therein the little house whose sign was, “Here all dwell free.” He enters it for respite and falls asleep. Upon his face is a veil. The child raises the veil from the king’s face, which causes him to awaken. When he beholds the child and the maiden, he does not recognize them. The maiden says to him, behold your wife and child. He tells her that she cannot be his queen, for the woman he loves has no hands. At first, the King didn’t recognize her for her hands had grown back and by her side stood a precious seven-year-old boy. But when the Queen removed the silver hands from a shawl woven from butterfly wings and her heart’s desire, he knew her immediately. She goes to the trunk and pulls out the silver hands and shows them to him to prove her identity. With great joy, he embraces her. They have a royal wedding, and perform the rites of a sacred marriage, attended by the child and the old mother. They produce many more children, and live in happiness for eternity.