“Where is the King?” shouted the midwife as she proudly thrusted the newborn baby into the air. Hundreds of servants and guards cheered. Everyone bowed in reverence towards the first male heir to the Tahliran throne.
In the midst of all the commotion, a royal guard pressed himself through the celebratory crowds and emerged beside the Queen and her midwife.
“Your Highness, the king is on his way. He has just finished quelling the rebellion at the southern gates of the Sand Valleys. His convoy will return before the first dawn.” reported the guard.
“But what about the ‘Ritual of the Whisper’?” questioned the worried Queen. “Are not the newborn sons supposed to hear the voice of their father’s whisper into their ear their identity and destiny? All the other males of our kingdom have had this ritual performed by their fathers. Shall our prince be deprived of this most sacred rite?” demanded the Queen as she glared at the jealous palace concubines from the corner of her eye.
“Relax my Queen. As long as the Ritual of the Whisper is performed within 24 hours of your son’s birth, he will still receive the full blessing. Your son will know his identity and destiny soon enough.” replied the head midwife reassuringly as she escorted the queen to the bathhouse; while also motioning for the baby to be sent to the nursery.
But in the middle of the night, a little princess, belonging to a concubine, snuck into the nursery to take a closer peek at the sleeping prince. When she saw him, she felt a pang of jealousy and spitefully whispered into his ear, “You are no prince. You are a mistake and no one wants you.”
Immediately, the baby boy awoke and began to scream hysterically. The little girl disappeared before the guards or midwives arrived. Despite everyone’s best efforts, the baby was inconsolable. It rejected all manner of comforts and denied all feedings. By the time the king held the frail newborn in his arms, the baby had died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Narratives are the stories we tell ourselves in order to make sense of our everyday experiences. Some stories may give life, while others take it away. Be careful of which stories we choose to internalize.