The Ballad of Praeteritia

Abstract Feb 11, 2021

Long long ago,

And Far Far hence,

There was a cursed island– forever lost in time

Its origins shrouded in mystery

Lying somewhere in the dark ferocious sea,

Nestled in the depths of anonymity.

Hidden away deep in the pockets of time and space,

Not even a single map in existence had contained its trace.

For time had forever stopped over here –

No living man or woman had aged even a year

The wind blew differently, and storms which ravaged the sea

Were all deathly silent, and the rains always poured quietly

The sun never set on this land, yet it was cloaked in gloom

For that one fateful night – no citizen had anticipated their doom

It happened on a cold winter’s night

When not a trace of evil was in sight

And the heir to the throne was born.

But the evil yet trusted minister, full of scorn

had already made plans to become the successor.

The beloved King and Queen were oblivious as ever-

Till the minister drew his sword, and in one sharp blow

Ended the king’s life, gave orders to kill the prince in the snow

The Queen, distraught and despaired was banished to the cellar

As the new king assumed the throne, much to the subjects’ horror.

On the same night, an innocent citizen, a humble dweller

Came knocking at the new king’s door, begging him to consider

His ailing son’s case – who was sure to die otherwise

If the King wouldn’t help the poor man by paying a negligible size

“Away, you fool! Stop wasting my time, I have no time to fend for the weak

Grow money on a tree, or let the bastard die, his chances of surviving are anyway bleak”

As the man’s cries fell on deaf ears, he had sworn to teach him a lesson

By cursing not just the king, but the entire island in his aggression

The name of the curse: “Aevum Proprius Perdita” fittingly translated

To “Permanently Lost in Time” – as was the town, now ill-fated

“Thy land shall never know any growth or prosperity, thou errant, decayed whey-face!

The curse shalt not break till thee die, and a deserving king doth take thy place”

Thus, the island remained, sinking lower in obscurity - as miseries unfurled

An “Ultima Thule” – lying beyond the boundaries of the known world

Having no knowledge of the outside world, the island was now renamed and resurrected

To “Praeteritia” – the one that passed by, disregarded, forever neglected.

Outside in the snow, the king’s servant didn’t have the heart

To kill the innocent little prince, who was destined to thwart

The evil king – as foretold at his birth, the prince would change the fate of the town

Only if he somehow survived right now, in order to reclaim his crown.

But for now, dangers lay outside so the servant thought it was best

To leave the cursed town, sail somewhere far far away and rebuild a nest

Where he would raise the little boy, to a fine young man

And that’s how it happened-the prince lived well, grew up to be a fine fisherman

But little did he know, his fate was still attached to that cursed night

As the birthmark on his forehead gleamed in the sunlight,

So did the chain hanging around his neck, carrying the royal crest

If he held onto it for long enough, it would prove to be the Queen’s test

For in the whole town, only she knew what these two meant

And the hopes of identifying their new king – rested on the delirious Queen’s bent

So, fate struck its chords, pulled its strings and orchestrated their reunion

In the form of a frightening storm - impossible to survive for any other human

Except for our prince - who was carried by the waves to the shore, unconscious

The islanders, terrified beyond their wits to discover another human, still conscious

Dizzy and confused, our prince woke up to a strange land beyond his imagination

Everything from the way they dressed to talked – seemed as if from another generation

The quaint old town was a unique sight to behold - like a frame paused in time

But all the citizens’ faces gloomy and petrified, as if someone had committed a crime

No sooner than the evil king find out about his new visitor

Was our prince thrown into the cellar, finally reunited with his mother

The haggard old lady didn’t fail to recognize her son, she was no longer alone

She explained everything to him, showing him a similar chain of her own

Supported by a few loyal men serving the previous king

The mother-son duo made a plan to regain everything

They successfully killed and dethroned the king - bringing an end

To his life and cruel regime, the town’s growth finally started to ascend

It was an end of a long, dark era -the curse was lifted, and so were the people’s spirits

Under the new regime the town made remarkable progress, reaped plenty of benefits

The island became the most developed and richest country in just a matter of time

Now everyone migrated and wanted to settle there, to live a life so sublime

The town was no longer called “Praeteritia” – but “everlasting good fortune” or “Aeva Felixia”

More commonly identified today as Île Verte off the coast of Southern France, or The French Riviera.

Divyashree Vaidya

DJLIT Editorial Co-committee member

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