Once upon a time a king in a faraway kingdom was sponsoring a competition of the hand of the princess. One young man, not content to be a peasant and a farmer for the rest of his life saw this as an opportunity to escape his station. He went deep into the forest to seek the aide of a local witch. He explained how badly he wanted to marry the princess and wanted to know if she could help him. She listened patiently. When he was finished, she began to speak.
"I can make this happen for you," she said. "You will, indeed gain the Princess' hand in marriage, but I need something from you first."
The young man was visibly excited by his good fortune and eagerly agreed to do whatever the crone asked him to do.
"You must bring me your mother's heart. Place it in this box and bring it back to me."
The young man barely gave it a second thought. He was going to marry the Princess!! He ran all the way home where his mother was waiting for him by the fire. She listened carefully to what he had to say. She quietly asked him if this is really what he wanted, what would make him happy.
"More than anything," he said
She sighed and handed him a knife. Without hesitation, he cut out her heart and placed it in the box. Without looking back, he was racing back through the forest to the waiting witch. As he ran, a raised root sent him and the box sprawling, spilling the still beating heart onto the path. The young man was frantic. As he collected himself, the mother's heart asked "are you alright, my son?"
My mother told me this story growing up. She said it was a Lithuanian folk tale told to her by her grandmother. It was one of her favorites. As a daughter, I could not relate to this story at all! Not even in the least!! All I could think about was the betrayal and the selfishness of the son. How could he do that???? My mother calmly said I was missed the point.
"How?" I asked. "The guy is a jerk!!"
"It's not about him!" she insisted. "It's about a mother's love and what she is willing to go through and sacrifice for her child."
I was still not impressed. The guy was still a jerk!!
It was many years later, years after my own mother's passing and a mother in my own right, that I finally began to understand what she meant and what she was trying to tell me. I was going through my divorce agonizing over what to do, how much to fight, especially when my own child made it clear he did not wish to live with me. As my heart ached, and yes, felt as if it was being cut out, all I could think about was what would be best for him and make him happy and still 'protect' him. I was willing to sacrifice any and everything to make that happen. As I was trying to figure out what to do, it hit me!!
My mom was right!!!
Regardless, I still think that guy was a jerk!!!
God, I hate that story!!!!