Rainbow Prince

He’s a changeling, but doesn’t know it.

This is not my baby, says his mother, closing her arms and turning away. 

“We all feel that way at first,” lies the nurse, hiding her misgivings, “You’ll feel differently once you get used to one another.”

The mother knows she’ll never get used to him.  His eyes are as bright and brown as a bush creature’s, and his ears are much too delicate, flat to his head on its little stalk of a neck.  He has an arcane beauty.  She feeds him reluctantly, wonders if her milk will tame the faerie in him.

He hears his people singing to him as he sleeps at night, faint through the closed window.  Their voices are sharp like pine needles.  He knuckles his almond-shaped eyes, and whimpers in a world that doesn’t belong to him.

The mother becomes attached to her elf baby.  He grows as a human child, but he’s slow to learn to read, his teachers say.  He loves to kick a ball and watch comics on tv, but it’s all a second language to him.  You can see that in the shy way he dips his head when strangers approach, in the distance he keeps from others, in his wonder and confusion at the strangeness that surrounds him.  Through the rice-paper wall that divides the boy and his adopted world, they perceive one another dimly, a shadow play.

The elf prince grows, and becomes a man, tall and beautiful.  He finds a human mate.  Sometimes, she imagines she sees his skin shifting colour like a rainbow reflected in moving water.  He’s as warm as hot springs, cool as cloud shadows.  You think you have him safe in your arms, she thinks, but all you really have is a borrowed coat, left behind and smelling faintly of its last owner.

In time, the old ones draw him back amongst his own kind, having undergone his apprenticeship.  Everything makes sense to him.  He’s a foreigner no longer.  His own mother plaits his long silver hair.  He misses the human world, slow and plain as it is, and sometimes he reaches out across the dimensions with his tendril fingers, and touches the forehead of his wife as she dreams of him, her rainbow prince.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Like this story? Check out www.fallaciousrose.com for more stories plus my latest releases


    1. That’s true, you could make a short novel out of it. Although…I like my books to have a guiding theme that matters to me, and this idea is really just pure what if.

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