Mel: " So, um, things have been pretty...well not all that awesome around here lately so I-I'm going to tell you all one of my Favorite legends.
Once there was a beautiful princess of bath, who was very much in love with a prince of the mist folk. They loved each other with a love as pure as sunrise and a love that would last for as long as the moon would rise. However, their love was forbidden and the princess' father did all in his great power to keep them apart.
Many nights the princess tried to flee to her prince, only to be caught by the guards. And on equally as many nights, her prince would come for her, only to be stopped by the knights of the kingdom. Eventually the King ordered that every light in the kingdom be quenched so that no light was found, keeping the prince from finding the princess in the darkness. However, the princess was stubborn, singing out over the water to her lover in the night.
Enraged by his child's rebellion, the king declared that he would host a festival in which he'd meet the princes of the kingdoms far and wide and chose a bride for his daughter. The princess was heart-broken, for she knew the king would never invite her lover. On the first night of the festival the princess ran from her suitors, for none could love her like the prince.
Dejected, she cried out by the springs, praying that her lover would find his way to her. Far below, the crystal sponges heard her cries and had pity for her, for they knew what is to find love. The sponges began their spawn, releasing their glowing offspring into the waters illuminating the darkened kingdom. From his home, the prince saw the lights and made his way to his lover.
The two came up with a plan. Since the prince was forbidden to enter the kingdom during the day, he would enter during the nights, winning over the king and securing the hand of his bride before revealing himself. As the sun rose that morning the prince returned to his people, making sure that when night fell he'd be ready.
The princess returned to her father, telling him she would gladly participate, so long as he let her chose her bridegroom. The king would not have this, for he knew his daughter was clever, but instead said that he'd let the family, the kingdom and the princess all help in the decision. Each citizen was given a shell and flower crown to give to the suitor of their choosing, with the princess having ten crowns to the choice. Through the day, crowns were given to the suitors but not one of the suitors received the princess' crowns.
As night fell and the sponges returned their glow, a masked stranger entered the kingdom, presenting the king with beautiful treasures. The stranger introduced himself as the spirit of the springs, and with a handsome smile he asked if he might be added to the roster of suitors. With such a display of wealth and with the strange happenstance of the glow springs the king accepted, letting the stranger enter the ball.
Upon seeing the stranger, the princess was delighted. Knowing her lover better than anyone in the world the princess eagerly danced with him, giving him her crowns with joy. The pair spent the evening rejoicing, fully believing that they'd beaten the king's game.
However, just as the stranger began to leave, the king unmasked him, reveling his daughter's lover. Enraged by their trickery, he banished the prince and locked the princess in her tall tower, all of the crowns thrown in with her. Both lovers were heartbroken; the prince because he could not save his lover, the princess for she knew that by the next sunset her father would have chosen her groom. In her anger, the princess began throwing her crowns into the springs, wishing beyond wishing that her lover would come for her.
All day in her prison, the princess wished and prayed for a miracle. Just as the sun began to set and she began to fear that the King would separate her and her lover forever; her prince came riding in on a horse of sea foam and gold, both of them in armor. Behind him rode the armies of his kingdom, brandished for war.
“ My king,” said the prince, “ I have shown you wealth, I have now shown power, and I have shown love to your daughter for as long as I've known her. My love is as the sun, constant and dependable. I will never abandon her, never dishonor her, never misuse the love she has given me. For while her love is my sun, my heart is her springs; a safe haven for her heart, protection against enemies and a harbor for our future. I bring to you, humbly, the heart I have for the one we both love. Please, grant us our one wish.”
Won over by the prince's words and finally giving in, the king gave the lovers his blessing. As the sun set on the third day, the princess and the prince greeted their people with a kiss. To this day our people celebrate the kings festival and while the kiss tradition is no longer always romantic, I still think it's a pretty sweet story. It is in honor of these two lovers that we celebrate the festival of New Years, in celebration of new love, new life and the hope that the new year brings."