There once was a king who took for himself a suitable wife of desirable heritage and traits. They lived happily for some time before bearing a single son, Peru, who resembled a full moon in temperament and appearance. They reared him with the finest tutoring until he was well versed in all academics and swordsmanship. Intellectual, kind, and courageous his peers paled in comparison. On a day in his fifteenth year he sat painting with his teacher in the garden.
He teacher bade him, “Fetch my folder from beside the pear tree. Leaf through and find the drawing of a sparrow.” Standing from his seat prince Peru walked to the tree and brought back what was asked, flipping through page after page of artwork before happening upon a drawing of a young girl as beautiful as the sunset.
“Who is this?” Peru asked in awe.
“Months ago I toured Asia. While there the wife of a high ranking noble commissioned me to draw multiple portraits of her sole daughter, Florette. That is an flawed copy I chose to keep.”
“She is perfect.”
“Gentle and kind in every way. I remember she wore a small bell in her left ear, so every time she moved the air filled with music.” His teacher mused.
“How could such a thing of grace be imperfect?” Peru wondered.
“The wife ordered twenty copies to be sent to different kingdoms, encouraging the many princes of the land to court her daughter’s hand in marriage.”
“Consider her hand won.” Peru determined. “Tell me where this city is so I many leave immediately for travel.”
The teacher laughed at his young student. “Prince Peru, you are smart and bold but still a young boy. You cannot expect to travel across the world and be certain of success, or even survival. By the time you arrive she will most likely already be married to another. Rid yourself of this foolishness and find my sparrow.”
But Peru would not be dissuaded. Keeping the imperfect drawing he gazed at it long hours that night, sleeping little. The next morning he found audience with his father, the king, and asked him permission to make the journey. He father, like his teacher, scoffed at his ideals. “Wait a few more years and I will find a girl from one of our allies suitable for marriage, not one halfway across the globe. Now, grieve me no more with your fantasies.”
Denied permission the prince lost all motivation to continue with daily life. Locking himself in his room he sore lamented over the drawing, knowing future happiness could only be found by the side of Florette.
Seeing his son suffer so moved the heart of the king. Consulting his officers as well as Peru’s tutor, the artist, the king called his son. “I give you permission to make this journey. Twelve men have volunteered as crew. Go now and return quickly.”
Pleased beyond belief the prince thanked his father many times, blessing him as he kissed the hem of his robes. The rest of the day was spent in preparation and with the prayers of the kingdom behind him the prince set sail, the drawing of his lovely Florette tucked safely in his pocket to serve as guide.