When the first fair day arrived (for it was in the rainy autumn-time when the child was born), the King mounted a donkey with his baby son held in a sling across his heart, and bid his Queen and his palace farewell. The Queen would rule Colmar until his return, and that would be many years away. In the meantime the babe was his only concern.
The King rode away to the cottage prepared for him, deep in the Wilds where none other dared go, on pain of death. And there they remained always. The young King turned his strength to growing food and he put away thoughts of sorrow. . . they were forbidden here.
The child grew, and was as fair and merry as his midwives had thought, and in him the King found much joy. And each day the King took the boy by the hand, and led him through fields where the red clover grew, by a silvery stream that played over rocks, and under the leaves of the old oak trees that danced in the wind and the sun. And the little one smiled at these things that he saw, and hid them away in his heart.
Then at last, every day, they came to a hill, where the sweet grass flowed in a cool green wave whenever the breeze came along. There at the top stood a cabin of wood, and inside it the Stone of Possibilities. So said the King, and the little one believed him, though never, not once, did they open the door.
"Someday you will enter that door, little child, and that day will break my heart," the King said to him once, one fine summer's day. (for the days were all fine, in that time.)
"Oh, no, Papa, never!" the little boy cried, for he couldn't have borne to cause such a sorrow, and he loved his Papa most dearly. He promised with childish conviction, but after a moment the King looked down, fingering the necklace of silver he wore.
"No, child. . . that is a promise you mustn't ever make, for this is the thing you were born for. Promise me only this much; remember!"
And the little boy never forgot.
Each day the King would tell stories, there on the hill in the woods, of wisdom and truth and love long ago, and he filled his child's head with dreams. And all of these were sweet as mint, for all of them were true. And each day also the man would sing (and no two Songs were ever alike), while the little one listened in wonder. When twilight came, just one word was spoken, and that was the word "Remember."