“Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit (of hate) flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanish it with a program, nor with a resolution.” Robert F. Kennedy
An Interview with a Princess on her way to Samarra…
Interviewer: Your highness, thank you for meeting with me on such short notice. The paper will convey its deepest gratitude in the obituary… Again, my condolences for your demise… I mean your loss.
Princess: It is well… I knew his highness, like each of us, would one day leave this world, but not so soon. It was rather sudden… He was healthy and happy and looking forward to our 35th anniversary. The rider from Samarra came for him sooner than we expected. Death, like time, is the great equalizer… Even his abundant wealth couldn’t keep him here… It was time.
The Appointment in Samarra by W. Somerset Maugham
There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, “Master, just now when I was in the marketplace, I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned, I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.”
Interviewer: I understand… What do you remember of your time together?
Princess: Ahh, the memories are rich and deep. He was my only love, our beloved Prince… I was an indulgent and foolish girl in my father’s house. I had everything at my feet. My father raised Arabian horses and the King was his premier client. My mother was a junior member of the extended royal family and so her marriage was without the pain of poverty; though she suffered the pain of a philandering spouse…
I met the Prince at 12 and my father informed me I was to marry him at a certain age. I didn’t care. My girlfriends and I lived exciting and frivolous lives; traveling everywhere and learning about art, music, haute couture and the occasional lesson in fine dining… We met all the great artists and entertainers of the day; each meeting was a quixotic escapade into the world of artistic excess… In hindsight, I should have studied something in the arts; created something as a legacy for my children, my subjects, the kingdom…
The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?”
Interviewer: What do you remember of your time with the Beloved Prince?
Princess: Oh yes… I did digress… We married at 16 and he was a handsome man; tall and broad shouldered, chin length hair the shade of a lurking panther, with a square face and dark piercing eyes, the color of the darkest sapphires. He was a charming and passionate lover and, in the palace, he protected me from his domineering mother. We traveled the world and for each birthday, he bought me an Arabian horse; purchased directly from my father. It was a way of helping my parents, for he always asked for the most expensive horse… and my father made sure to charge accordingly.
“Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever…” Isak Dinesen
Interviewer: Did he spend time with the princesses?
Princess: Sadly, not enough time and neither did I… We traveled a lot you see, and when I didn’t produce a male child, his mother implored him to seek another consort. I used everything I learned from the great books, the Karma Sutra, the Neotantras, and more, to ensure my place was secure. He had no care for other women, though he did entertain a few when our travels wore me down… The princesses grew to accept our travels and we bought them toys and trinkets from around the world. But in retrospect, a mother’s loving presence would have been preferred… I regret that I can’t turn back the time lost.
Interviewer: What do you cherish most? More Below…
“Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have – so spend it wisely” Kay Lyons
That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.
Interviewer: What do you cherish most?
Princess: I look around me and I see the luxurious things we bought and enjoyed over a lifetime together. On that table sits a diamond and ruby studded Faberge egg we got in Russia. On the mantle rests the pure gold twin elephants with ivory tusks studded with precious stones; a gift from a wealthy Maharaja we met in India. My drawers are full of gold and diamond trinkets and my bed sheets are made from the finest Egyptian cotton and silk. Yet, I cannot sleep…
Granted, all of those things are beautiful, but they cannot compare with the hours we spent on the Riviera whispering sweet nothings to each other. They cannot replace the times we sat at the dinner table enjoying a meal with our children, my parents, the king, even his domineering mother… Most of all, I cherish the time we spent together. I wish we had more time to say goodbye; I wish we had more time to say I love you to our children, our family and friends and our loving pets; I wish we had time to sit and counsel our daughters on what they should value most … Time. Time spent with family and friends; precious moments shared with those we love.
Interviewer: Do you wish you had more money or time?
Princess: Is that a rhetorical question? I must caution you, young man, to live life as if Samarra is around the corner; for money can’t buy you true love or extra time…
What are your thoughts? What do you wish you had more of? How do you spend your time? Do share! Thank you.
This post was inspired by a prompt from the WP Daily Post: Do you wish you had more money or time?
Positive Motivation Tip: Spend your money and your time wisely; both are always in short supply…