This is a story about a girl. A girl with a very pretty, but very common name- a fact that aggravated her to no end, especially because she quite liked her name. However, sharing her name with approximately 26% of the female population in her small corner of the world just simply would not do. It bothered her so much in fact that she went to extreme lengths to ensure that she would be the only one allowed to be called by that name. How, you ask, was she able to pull of such a remarkable, if not ridiculous task? Well, that’s easy, silly- when your father happens to be king of all the land with quite the sizable army at his disposal.
And so a decree was made- all citizens with the same given name as the princess would choose another name immediately and dispose of any personal effects, memorabilia etc. that referred to the now forbidden name. The king’s men scoured the land for months to ensure this decree was upheld, taking particular relish in destroying the personal property of anyone who dithered on giving up their name. For any who contemplated keeping their name, they soon vacated this idea after witnessing the brutality dealt out to their neighbors who resisted. Within a year, the name was stricken from the land and the princess was happy- at least for a time.
Her happiness was short lived however, as the people grew to hate the name that was ripped away from their children and wives, sisters and grandmothers. The name was cursed and the woman who now had sole possession of it was cursed alike. Now, wherever she traveled the princess received cold shoulders and glaring eyes, her invitations to the palace for tea or the grand masque ball were returned unopened, her halls were silent and empty of laughter- she was alone. Alone with her name.
And that is how she lived the remainder of her days- strolling her grand empty palace, her footsteps echoing through the cavernous space, her shadow her sole companion. When the princess was finally laid to rest in the royal graveyard, those burying her withered and frail body couldn’t bring themselves to mark the tombstone with her name- it had grown over time to be such a powerful cursed word. Marked with only the dates of her birth and death, the princess joined her ancestors, nameless and unmourned. The name she treasured, that she fought for and stripped for all others so to be its sole possessor is now lost forever. With no others to carry it forward through the generations it died that day in the palace.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Am I the only one who, when encountering another person with my name, gets completely flustered and a little weirded out? I mean, it’s not like Samantha is a super unique name, there are plenty of girls out there who are called Samantha, it’s just that when I meet them or have to call them by name I almost feel embarrassed, like I stole their name or something. I know, I’m a crazy person. It’s cool, just go with it (that’s what I do). Today I found myself having to leave a voicemail for another Samantha and it just seemed… wrong when I said her name… like I was calling myself or something. Luckily when the ‘other’ Samantha returned my message she broke the dual-name ice with this gem: “Hi Samantha! Great name by the way…” Is it wrong to want to be the only Samantha? I guess having to deal with this sort of thing is much preferred to the alternative, I mean who wants to grow up being known as Apple or Facebook or some of the other ridiculous names people keep picking out of hats and riddling their offspring with?