Every day he wakes up to the same routine living life in a body that is not his own. However, this all changes when the clock strikes 12 and he is able to fall asleep into the world of his creation. His days go by slowly, but the thought of being able to be truly himself in his dreams is what keeps him going. As a baby, Atlas was very difficult, refusing to sleep, and crying for hours on end. The king and queen tried for weeks to get this to stop but had to rely on the castle’s sorcerer for help. She placed an enchantment on his bed so that every time the clock strikes 12 Atlas would fall into a deep sleep and be able to create his own world through his dreams.
As he grew older, his dreams grew more intense, when he fell asleep he was this beautiful happy young princess With hair of gold thick clustering around her ears and the brightest green eyes you will ever see. Yet when he awakes, he is the opposite of what he desires to be most. This frustration of not being able to be his true self drove Atlas crazy. He sought help from the person that gave him this blessing and this curse.
One night, Atlas wandered down to the dungeons and found the castle’s sorcerer. Atlas mostly kept to himself and did not share a word about what was truly going on inside, but there was something about the comfortability of the sorcerer that led him to open up to her. He explained his struggles and sought her advice on what to do. She offered to change the spell so that Atlas could stay inside his dream forever, but he would have to leave his family and life behind. Atlas pondered this thought and imagined himself blissfully staring in the mirror applying the most vibrant shade of red lipstick and admiring her beauty in the mirror. Something he couldn’t even imagine doing in his real life. He asked the sorcerer for time to think about her offer, but she explained how the spell was to expire at midnight on his 18th birthday in 2 weeks.
That night, before bed, Atlas sat, looking at his ceiling, which was beautifully painted with images of white doves, Behind, wide fields, and reapers all a-rows. He pondered his decision, looking at both options and weighing the possibilities of what could occur. On one hand, he kind of enjoyed his life. He loved his friends, he loved his castle, he loved his room, and he loved his parents. He loved his dog and his butler, but most of all he loved his dreams. So, on the other hand, in his dreams, he could be who he truly was. He was no longer Atlas, but Aria. Aria’s life was not as fun, but at least it was hers. In her dreams, although her real family wasn't there, SHE loved HER room, and SHE loved HER castle. He wished and wished that he could be Aria in real life. But, he was scared. No one else he had ever met or read about in fairy tales had ever done such a crazy thing. Everyone else seemed to be happy exactly as they are, which frustrated Atlas. Why was he the only one? Why was he so alone? He thought these thoughts as he started to slowly drift away to sleep, transforming into Aria just as he had many nights before.
In the morning, he was awoken to the sound of his mother coming into his room, saying that today, they had a visitor from the king two kingdoms over. His mother was nervous about Atlas turning 18 and running the kingdom, so she wanted to introduce him to another new king, the young Robert who had just turned 19 five moons ago. He looked out his window and sighed.
“How am I supposed to be a king,” he thought, “when I'm not even truly a prince?”
He saw the sun is shooting wide its crimson glow, as it rose above his kingdom. As Robert arrived, Something about him felt familiar. They met in the dining room as the royal chef brought out a most wonderful breakfast, and Robert looked at him and smiled. For a young man, he had quite a high voice. Atlas was struck by Robert's comfort in his confidence while he battled his inner turmoil. He couldn't quite put his finger on what it was but he almost felt like he had met Robert in a dream.
After breakfast, they went for a walk in the palace garden. Robert led as if he had walked this path before. They found themselves in the palace courtyard, facing the largest window in the entire castle, with a small waterfall flowing into the pond below. The window was blessed with condensation and like the bluest water seen through mists of rain, the reflections were clear.
Robert, who had appeared so brute-like, spoke strongly, “I felt the sorcerer's magic all the way from my kingdom.”
Atlas looked up, shocked. His biggest secret was his dreams. So how come Robert seemed to be drawn to him with such force?
“Before I was king I was a princess,'' Robert said. “The sorcerer performed the same magic on my dreams, but I broke the spell.”
Altas looked at him stunned, “how did you make your dream come true?” he asked.
“Well,” Robert replied, “By not being afraid.”
The young prince Atlas faced Robert, so miserable and reserved, his longing eyes half-veiled by foolish tears. Robert then demanded Atlas go face his reflection, hesitantly raising his gaze. Met with Arias' warm regard, her eyes filled with the same foolish tears as the princess in the reflection.
Robert turns to Atlas and says, “I see you. I was once miserable and reserved and I came to a reflection like this to see who I needed to be.”
Everything fell into place, Aria realized she didn’t need to lose her family to become the Queen she was always meant to be. Aria went on to rule her kingdom with great pride alongside her grateful family who supported and loved her just as much as before.
With hair of gold thick clustering round his ears,
And longing eyes half-veiled by foolish tears
Like bluest water seen through mists of rain: -
Pale cheeks whereon no kiss hath left its stain,
Red under lip drawn for fear of Love,
And white throat whiter than the breast of a dove.
Alas! alas! if all should be in vain. -
Behind, wide fields, and reapers all a-row
In heat and labor toiling wearily,
To no sweet sound of laughter or of lute.
The sun is shooting wide its crimson glow,
Still, the boy dreams: nor knows that night is nigh,
And in the nighttime, no man gathers the fruit.