Once upon a time, the sky held three suns.
Men said that the sky was so powerful for being able to have three suns in its hands. And the earth was indeed blessed to have three suns shining on it. And men prospered because the earth yielded so many crops.
Men said that they should want to be like the sky and their wives to be like the earth.
So it came to pass that every family yearned to have three sons, for three sons meant honor, riches, and happiness.
Everywhere the suns shone, families were smiling—except in the royal house of the Rajah.
The Rajah was the third son. And his father was also the third son. He wanted to have sons of his own! But he couldn’t have even one. For his wife could not bear any at all.
For years and years, the Rajah and his wife have traveled far and wide, across sands and seas, searching for a solution. But none could ever give them what they wanted. And they always returned home, sadder than they were before.
It was dusk. And the three suns were beginning to sink into the horizon. The Rajah’s wife, lamenting the dying daylight like the three sons she never had, began to sing a song that broke the heart of everyone who heard it.
Then she heard her own song being repeated. It came not far from where she was. And from a little bird no less.
She was about to look for the Rajah but she did not have to go far for the he was searching for her. He heard her song and he too was saddened by it. And they wept together. And as their two hearts were breaking, she felt a third one beating.
Or she thought she did.
The Rajah’s wife was walking by herself, amazed by the beauty of the evening. And it dawned on her that the skies are so much to be envied: the morning has three suns and the night has the moon and innumerable stars. She thought to herself how she would like to be as blessed as they were.
Just by looking at each one twinkling, she began to sing again. She sang to each to star that she saw. She continued singing, even when she was already asleep.
She woke up when she heard her song being repeated again by a bird. But what surprised her was that the Rajah was lying next to her. So she lay back down. She could hear his heart beat. She could also hear hers. And she could still hear that little heartbeat.
Come morning, she brushed aside the curtains to see all three suns. She sang to them. And no sooner had she finished her song that it was being repeated by a bird again.
While still singing, she began searching for the bird. She listened. She stepped closer. And she could almost see it. When it suddenly disappeared.
The Rajah was beside himself.
He kept collecting books. He kept buying and making toys. He kept building a palace meant for children who were not there.
Whenever the pain was unbearable, he would take refuge there: the rooms he had made for his sons. Walls decorated with murals of fishing, frescoes of battles, and tapestries of hunts. Corners filled with playthings from faraway lands.
He touched bars made of solid gold, cold to the touch. Large not because of its size. But because it was empty.
The whole palace was in an uproar. The Rajah’s wife was in labor. She was having a baby. And it was coming out!
Outside the palace of the Rajah, the people waited anxiously for the news of the delivery.
He saw the concern in the eyes of the women who were helping with the delivery. He began to wonder until he could not hold it anymore. He asked if there was something wrong.
The midwife said that there is a child. It was alive and very strong. But it would not leave the womb. They have been doing all that they could to get the child to pass thru but it would not. And she said that if morning comes and the baby is still inside, she fears for both the mother and the child.
He went to her side and held her hand. It was shaky. He tried talking to her. She had already lost her voice. She still shook, even after he stood just beside her. The midwife wanted her to be calm but they could not give anything to her that would not endanger her or the baby.
Once more, he was beside himself. He wanted to be of help but he didn’t know how.
He may not be able to. But maybe something else could.
He came to her side again. He told her that he had a present for her.
If she had a voice, she would’ve exclaimed that this was not a good time for gifts but then he revealed what beneath the cover. It was a golden cage. And inside it was the same bird that had been mimicking her songs. And once it saw her, it began singing.
The bird sang its first song. And at dusk, a prince was born.
The bird sang its second song. And at evening, another prince was born.
The Rajah was so happy to have two sons. And he wondered if he had only two sons. He wondered if there was another one. The midwife said that there was. But, of the three, that one’s hold was the strongest.
He went to the bird and implored it to sing one more song.
(I still have work tomorrow and half my brain just went to bed ahead of me. So I’m submitting this unfinished and unedited.)