The Life and Death of Magnus O’Leary

(or Goodbye Beastie)

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful princess. She was considered far and wide to be the most beautiful thing that had ever lived. Her eyes sparkled with a joy and life that was envied by those who could not tame her. The palace she lived in was a shining jewel. People would travel from all over the kingdom just to get a look at the palace and perhaps a glimpse of the princess.
Now in the same kingdom there lived a beast of terrible darkness. He lived in a dank, musty hovel of a home deep in the forest. The beast was old and mean. He was angry from many long years of persecution and hate. And most of all from not being loved. Inside the beast was really a gentle soul who just wanted to love and be loved but no one ever cared enough to give him a chance.
One day the princes was out riding and came across the house of the beast. The beast saw her and instantly fell in love with her. Not like the love a man has for a woman, for a beast cannot love so. He fell in love with her like a dog for its master. The beast looked at her from behind soiled curtains as she gracefully dismounted and looked around at the run down house. She knocked gently on the door and the beast’s heart skipped a beat. He was not sure what to do so he opened the door and stood there. From this distance he could smell the perfume the princess wore. He had never smelled anything so lovely in all his long life. It contrasted his own stench in such a way that, had he been able to, he would have blushed a deep red. The princess looked at him for a time and then she spoke. The words cut through his heart and stabbed deep into what we can only assume was his soul.
“My you are a cute beastie”. She said with a smile. She turned and began to walk away. The beast stood motionless unsure of what to do. The princess looked over her shoulder and called to him. “Walk with me.” Instantly the beast was at her side. They walked through the forest for hours. The princess talked sweetly to the beast and he answered with grunts and noises that even he didn’t understand. He tried to make sounds like she did so that she might understand him. But he just couldn’t. She would talk and he would babble. She would laugh and he would babble even more.
The princess began to visit the beast nearly everyday. She would make special trips to his home in the forest just to tell him that she couldn’t take a walk that day. The beast began to think that maybe she cared for him. But how could she? he thought or at least as close to thought as he could get. I am just a beast and she is a princess. She cannot love me. I am no more than a pet to her. The beast began to dread the visits from the beautiful princess. He would sometimes pretend he was gone in the hope she would go away. He would growl and howl something terrible trying to scare her away. Nothing worked. She would visit and they would walk and he would be happy…for a time. When he was with her he felt almost as though he mattered. The beast began to think that maybe there was some magic left in the world. If he could find it he would be able to transform himself into a man and then she could love him. Then she would go back to the palace and he was left alone in his dark home in the forest. He would sit and stare out of his filthy windows and picture her riding up to his gate. He smiled at the thought of her and cried for the same reason.
Then one day after the princess had paid him a long, wonderful visit, the beast sat alone in the dark and realized what he had to do. Beast though he was, he still had feelings. The pain he felt when she left had become too much for him. He knew what a hero would do. The hero would ride up to the palace and pronounce his love. Then he would whisk the beautiful princess away on his white steed and ride into Happily Ever After. But alas he was no hero. He was a mean, sad, angry, lonely beast that no one but her cared about. So he packed what little belongings he had and he left the forest. He traveled the world in the hopes of finding someplace to call his own. Someplace where a beast might be welcomed. He was already old when our story began but he was even older now. It seemed as though the time he had spent with the princess had some magic in it after all. When he was with her it was as if time stood still. He felt young and strong. When she left time took its vengeance. Months felt like years to him. Now that he did not see her he began to age quickly. His once black fur turned gray and began to fall out. His walk was pained and labored. The beast kept moving though for he didn’t know what else he was to do. He traveled mile after mile and found nothing to warm his cold heart. Then one day after many years he sat down against a tree. He closed his eyes and thought of the princess.
The beast had been dead for some time when the hunters found him. He was sitting with his back against the tree where he had stopped. They say that he had what looked like a smile on his face. The hunters buried him under the tree and told their story around the fire on dark and stormy nights. But they never knew what you do now.

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