The miracle maker with the long purple hair and in his purple garment stepped into the center of the theater .
“Let the DAYS OF MIRACLES commence,” he said. “The world contains as many fates as there are families and that is why every angel makes a different miracle come true.” Then he spread out his arms and darkness descended immediately as if someone had switched off the sun. An angelic woman's voice sang an enchanting melody (1). The miracle maker clapped his hands together above his head. As if a thousand torches had been waiting for this sign, they released the dancing fire fairies.
“Isn't it marvelous?” a woman sitting next to him asked the prince. Without waiting for an answer, she continued: “The miracle maker is a powerful man because he makes our dreams come true.” Miss Monti was somewhat ill at ease and snuggled up to the prince. The miracle maker now raised both arms with the words: “Light, search for your angel.” The torches immediately began to move. They circled back and forth until they clung to one point in the sky. At the end of the light road countless angels stepped from the sky. They were either leading a child by the hand or on each hand one parent. Then they walked through the air, guided by the light ray of their torch, into the amphitheater and lined up next to each other in the grand arena. Walking through the air (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) while coming directly out of the sky that was a truly grandiose spectacle. Miss Monti squeaked overawed: “What a pageantry!” The exchange was ready to begin.
The miracle maker approached one of the angels and had him place an energy sphere with a number into his hand. “The DAYS OF MIRACLES opens the number three,” he began the distribution. The front rows were occupied by all those who were expecting a miracle, in the seats above them was the audience. So it wasn't far to go for the parents with the number three to reach the miracle maker. “This is the child they have always wanted,” explained the miracle maker to the audience and pointed to the child at the hand of the angel. The excitement made the mother's face break out in red spots and the father kept touching the tip of his nose. “Endowed with practical abilities, the child will gladly till the paternal fields and perform work in the farmyard."(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) The angel handed the new child over to the parents, who took it into their arms brimming with joy. This child was a clone, (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) an identical copy of their natural child. Its spitting image that would from now on replace their own child. This one would fulfill the dream of the parents who smiled happily for they knew this one wouldn't disappoint their expectations. How could it if it went to bed with the chicken and got up at the first cock's crow. The life of their new child would be determined from now on by the farmyard, just as the farmyard gave meaning to the life of the parents. This had always been the parents' dream.
Monti whispered: “There you have it again. Parents want their children to be what they want them to be.”
Aron placed his finger on his lips indicating to the cat not to disturb the proceedings. However, secretly he agreed with his cat for he had never heard that children are made of clay and can be formed (1) completely according to order into peasants or princes.
With the next energy sphere, the miracle maker called up the child with the number seven and said: “This child will now leave forever his natural parents with the number three. Too great expectations have made it sick. It is as if this boy was wearing oversize shoes in which he slides back and forth and cannot find support, as if he had to run after his parents' expectations.”
The boy looked at his feet in shoes that were actually a size too big. “Even if it is his parents' most ardent dream, he cannot be happy as a farmer. He would never be resigned to taking over his parents' farm. This boy just wants to be allowed to be what he is.” A bit shy, the boy looked toward his new parents whom the next angel was still holding by the hand. “Having to do something against one's innate nature is as if a circle were ordered to become a rectangle. Therefore, fate has thought of a different route for this child, for he is a dreamer,” the miracle maker continued. “He prefers reciting prose writings and loves singing rather than cleaning out cowsheds. For this child the angel has a set of parents in store who travel the country as itinerant theater performers.” The child's eyes gleamed with enthusiasm when the angel presented the happy child to his new parents.
Even though they looked exactly like his birth parents, they understood his dreams and didn't expect the impossible of him. They wouldn't push him to do anything his heart abhors. He would never feel falsified. These are the kind of parents the child had always wished for—and that was the miracle.
Monti was again shooting her mouth of: “It's always the same. Parents have big plans for their children, but the children have a mind of their own.” Aron didn't answer. Something seemed to bother him until he could no longer bear to stay in his seat. He jumped up and ran outside.
“Not so fast,” Miss Monti protested. “Why aren't you staying?”
“I have to find out something important for me. My angel will help me with it. In the end, I may not have to continue this journey as the miracle maker already foretold in the temple garden.”
“Why not?” asked Miss Monti. “Did you find your parents?”
“Who knows.” Then the prince wrapped himself in mysterious silence.
“Just don't make a mistake,” warned Miss Monti. “We're a long way from Caligo land.”
“Wait here for me,” the prince asked the cat. “I have to get my angel's advice.” The prince turned away and sat down under a huge tree. He asked his angel to appear to him. When he perceived the light and discovered the stellar fog, he awaited full of trust for his angel.
“What do you want to tell me?” asked the angel.
“All these miracles have enthralled me. There was so much hope and light over the theater that I'm seriously considering to wish for me the kind of parents of whom I've always dreamed.” As he spoke, he held the energy sphere in a tight grip with his right hand. “And everything would be much less complicated,” he defended his idea. “I could spare myself the dangerous journey. Everything would be easier.”
“Sure you could do that,” said the angel. “And it would surely be easier too. But think it through carefully whether this is really what you want.”
“Why shouldn't I want it. The other better clone parents would look exactly like my natural parents, only they would have time for me. I would be an important part of their lives.”
“You could become a completely ordinary boy,” the angel retorted.
“That's exactly what I would like. I would be rid of the responsibility and could lead a normal life.”
“You are a child, use your brains! Can it be that clones fall from the sky?” the angel turned away angrily.
“Wait,” pleaded the prince. “What should I do?”
“If it is that important to you, go tomorrow one more time to the DAY OF MIRACLES and watch exactly what is going on. Make your decision only then.” The angel disappeared.
“We'll stay another day,” the sun prince tried to soothe Miss Monti. “Sorry, it has to be.”
The cat couldn't help but wonder. “Think of your parents. We'd better keep on going.”
But the prince didn't listen to Monti. He was elsewhere in his thoughts. “Now I realize what the miracle maker means by eliminating disappointment. He gives the parents children who fulfill their dreams and he gives children parents who meet their expectations. Nobody will hurt or disappoint the other anymore.”
“Well, I've never heard anything like this,” protested Monti. “Only in the land of clones! The miracle maker exchanges parents and children for perfect duplicates so that none will run afoul of the other's expectations. And then he calls that a miracle. And a miracle it truly seems to be, for in reality doesn't everybody try to follow his own dream?” Monti put her knapsack down next to her. “Then the land of clones is truly the land of well-contented, smiling people.”
“I knew right away that there was a secret behind the smile,” stated the prince. He was completely taken with the idea that the miracle maker was able to intervene in life and bring parents and children together who share the same dream in life. The prince found that incredible. He took his ballerina from his left pocket, had her dance to the harp, and smiled. Suddenly he was confident that he could arrange the matter about his parents.
The next day the prince didn't linger for long. He was among the first to arrive at the arena. And since much time passed until all seats were occupied, he started a conversation with the woman who was just sitting on the hard stone next to him. “It must be a good feeling when parents are happy with their children. Did you ever experience such happiness?” Aron asked pretty nosily the complete stranger next to him. But she didn't seem to be offended and freely told her story as if she had only been waiting for someone to at last showed any interest in her: “All the hopes my father placed in me, I could never fulfill in life.”
“But why not? What happened?” asked the prince taken aback.
“The circumstances mitigated against it,” the woman answered simply. “And yet, everything I did, I did with dedication. I gave my whole heart to my family and my roses. I'm just a simple cultivator of roses. But loved what I was doing. I would have loved to become the right daughter for my father for he had big plans for me. Meanwhile he has died. But my roses are being torn from my hands. Isn't that crazy? Some expectations are fulfilled only late in life and some never. But are we therefore the less desirable children, only because we follow our own dreams?” she asked. The prince guarded a shocked silence. Could it be that the expectations he had of his parents were too lofty?
“Maybe we should just leave ourselves as we are?” the prince retorted.
“. . .to follow our longing and just be happy?” the woman sank into her thoughts. Then she added: “Doesn't matter what my children become. Main thing is they are good human beings.” But before the woman and the prince were able to go deeper into the subject, the angels began to hover over the amphitheater to bring hope to the disappointed families.
The father of twins stepped into the middle of the amphitheater and the miracle maker began his story with the words: “This man will now be especially happy. The angel presents him with the wife he lost so tragically.” The man looked from the corner of his eyes at the woman on the side of the angel and his knees weakened.
“This man and this woman,” continued the miracle maker, pointing at both, “loved each other very much. They saw their divinely ordained destiny in the baking and distributing of bread. They were so preoccupied with fulfilling their life's task that they failed for years to wish for a child. Only when they were almost too old, it came to them like a revelation that they had missed what was most important in life, namely to wish for a child. But the Eternal blessed them and gave them twins. When the news reached the father he was almost mad with bliss. As fast as his legs would carry him, he stormed from the bakery to his wife at home. But before the woman was able to embrace the twins and the man she loved, she was already dead.” A murmur of sympathy went through the audience. “This family is only complete with the mother and that is why the angel gives you back your wife.”
Tears filled the father's eyes when he touched his wife's hand. Even though it was only a duplicate, it didn't seem to bother the man. “How I missed you,” he whispered. The audience in the galleries went wild with compassion. Some had tears in their eyes.
“The events today are similar to yesterday's, only the stories change,” the sun prince wondered why his angel had asked him to come again to the amphitheater.
Miss Monti reassured her master: “Wait and see. Angels live in heaven. They can see everything.”
“If you say so,” answered the patient prince. The prince kept a close eye on what was going on. The man embraced his wife. She tolerated it and then extended her hand to her husband to greet him.
“Did you see that?” whispered the prince. “The woman behaves like a stranger.” He leaned further forward to look into the woman's face. Her gaze made Aron shudder. The prince grabbed his cat by the scruff and stormed from the amphitheater. He ran as fast as his legs would carry him. Breathless he called out: “For nothing in the world will I exchange my parents. I love my parents the way they are and I will get them back. Do you hear my angel? I want only my own parents. They are absolutely unique. They are irreplaceable,” the prince, who had run away from the dead gaze, screamed full of despair.
“You are a good child,” said his stellar angel who appeared at the moment the amphitheater disappeared. “Feelings cannot be duplicated. Even if people resemble each other like one egg the other, their feelings for each other are not the same. The perfectly reproduced people, which are called clones here, first have to learn to love their family.”
“They will never be able to love their family because they are dead,” the prince got terribly upset.
“How did you come to that conclusion?” asked the angel, impressed by the little prince's wisdom. “I looked into the mother's eyes. These eyes were lifeless. Two big white eyes stared at me. I had no doubt: this creature was dead and that's why I ran away in panic,” the prince screamed as in a fit of insanity.
“Don't worry.” The angel's little bells jingled softly in the wind. “You discover a person's soul in the eyes. But because the clones don't have a soul, the woman looked at you with dead eyes. But that is no longer your problem. You made the right decision.”
Just then, Prince Aron saw the purple creator of miracles rise into the air and gradually turn into Kofur. The malicious eagle described three circles over the angel's head, as if to threaten him, and then disappeared into the sky. The prince felt the shock deep down to his bones.
“Where is the amphitheater?” he asked startled. “It's all Kofur's invention in order to test your love for your parents.”
“What? The amphitheater and the DAYS OF MIRACLES were not real?” the prince questioned the angel.
“It all took place in your head only,” the angel explained.
“You mean to say that the equestrian squadron, the gate of illusion, the temple compound of the miracle maker, the amphitheater, the three days of miracles, and the smiling people— all this, I imagined?” asked the prince, apprehension in his voice.
“That's right,” confirmed the angel.
“Then I should worry about my mental condition,” concluded the prince.
“Don't worry about it. I am with you in your fight against evil. This was an attack from Kofur, who never forgave you his fall from the third castle tower. Beware of him for the land of clones was an elegant method to lead you off the straight path. Kofur took over your thoughts in order to entice you with a kind of happiness that will never exist on earth. Like a butterfly that flutters before your nose and proclaims eternal beauty and freedom, Kofur wanted to encourage you to wish for soulless fake parents. Parents stuck in the same skin as your natural parents, but who live without the beat of their heart. It would be easy for Kofur to seduce you with a perfect copy of your parents. If you had gone along with the game in order to be rid of the disappointments your parents had been for you, then the whole family would have collapsed. Kofur would have seized you by the scruff of the neck and dragged you into the realm of darkness. So you would have seen it sooner than you would have liked.”
“And in all that, the miracle maker wanted to make me believe that I could spare myself the dangerous journey. His staging at the amphitheater then served only one purpose, namely to awake in me the desire for these perfect clone parents. I would finally have gotten the loving parents I had always dreamed of and the purpose of my journey would have dissolved in air. What a monstrous plan to deceive me. For the opposite would have occurred. Those who break the rules get faster into the realm of darkness than he can imagine. No clone in this world can replace the natural parents, that much I know now for certain.”
The angel nodded and ascended into the dizzying heights.
“It was the dead eyes that opened my eyes and permitted me to see that a copy can never be as good as the original. What stupidity to wish for different parents,” the prince admitted.
And the angel reassured him: “Despite many disappointments, there is nothing in this world that can change the love between children and parents. It is divine like a single breath that lasts a life time.”
“And why, despite it all, are we doing things that hurt us in our soul?” the prince inquired.
“Because you are human, because you are not infallible, because each of you chases after his own dream which the other doesn't want to understand or simply cannot understand, and because you find it difficult to keep peace with each other. Only when you humans learn to accept the other in his imperfection, then the soul will smile.”
“And why are parents the way they are?” The prince took the opportunity to question the angel further.
“If you want to find out something about your parents, put yourself into their shoes, then maybe you'll get to the bottom of it. This time I shall help you. If we ask the question together why parents are the way they are, one of the possible answers would be: Because parents always want the best for their children, because they want to be the best parents in the whole world, but also because they want to be happy too. And sometimes parents can only be happy with all their heart when their children become what they secretly have wished so often. Then it can happen that children have one image of life and parents have another. The images just cannot be made to match. They simply won't fit together. When parents and children do not have the same image of life then the dream doesn't add up and it begins to shatter. Nevertheless, it will all be well for the rain is always followed by the sunshine, it's as simple as that,” the star-like angel was absolutely certain.
For you up there perhaps, thought Prince Aron, but for us down here this is pretty difficult. And Aron had to admit that his parents were very happy as king and queen. Even if they fought sometimes, they loved what they were doing and took care of their country with good intentions. But the prince also admitted to himself that he often thought about whether he wanted to follow his father as king. It is true that apparently parents and children try their best, only to go in different directions, pondered the prince. He knew all too well that basically he wanted to escape the responsibilities so he wouldn't find himself in his father's shoes. My dear swan, thought Aron in Monti's language, things there are between heaven and earth. . .
The angel disappeared leaving a speechless prince behind. The wind, who as always loitered nearby but didn't make his presence felt, seemed impressed as well for he didn't make a sound. He really didn't want to interrupt the conversation between the angel and the prince, only eavesdrop on it.
“I thank you, my angel. Without your warning I would have fallen into Kofur's trap.” These were Aron's words before he opened his eyes.
He was lying on his back next to a gleefully gurgling little brook. The cat sat on his chest and was shaking him.
“The poppies probably fogged up his head. Well, finally. The prince is waking up,” proclaimed Miss Monti all excited.
“It's about time. My feet have already fallen asleep. I need to get some movement,” the windy one added, as always, his ten-cents worth. The red poppies swayed mysteriously in the wind. Aron sat up somewhat dazed, took a deep breath, and after a while mounted the unicorn with Miss Monti.
“We were waiting for you half an eternity,” the cat admonished her master. “It's hard to believe that one can sleep so deeply.”
The prince looked at his cat as if she came from another world.
“I was full of thoughts that didn't belong to me,” Aron said more to himself. “And you,” the sun prince asked Miss Monti, “do you remember the knights of the order of the miracle maker, the amphitheater, and the DAYS OF MIRACLES?”
“What's an amphitheater?” asked the cat whereupon the prince remained silent. He looked toward the sky and knew, angels (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) always say the truth.
“Tell us about the days of miracles,” begged Miss Monti. “Then the time will go by faster.”