The Man and The Sundial

Submitted into Contest #88 in response to: Write a story about an ordinary person speaking truth to power.... view prompt


Fantasy Inspirational Romance

Long ago, there was a man living with his wife. She was one grouchy woman but apparently, the man was loving enough to consider her. They had no children for his wife couldn’t bear a child because of her condition. They lacked every luxurious thing in the world and lived under the shabby thatched of nipa hut in a place unheard of. A far-flung land where they needed a day or two to reach the market.

The couple were thrusted with such weights in their hearts, yet they were generous. They loved each other and together, they were living happily.

One day, the wife asked his husband to deliver the corn to the town and sell it to the market. She gave him a small rattan bag with a big bread, milk, and water since he needed it to survive in his long journey.

“Take the cow and the small cart. Please take care of yourself.” The woman said.

The man embraced the woman. Then he prepared his cow and went on his journey.

He crossed the seemingly long bridge and a trail in the forest leading to the barren road.

On his way to the barren road, he met a young lady.  She had bruises and gashes. The man immediately helped her and saved her from death not knowing that the lady was the missing daughter of the eminent Rajah in the town. While cleaning her wounds, the man couldn’t help but to adore the lovely face of the young lady. She had the face that will make a thousand ship sail. Her hair was long and shiny, and her skin was sparkling, looking like a high-end porcelain. He asked her about her place and offered her a ride. Then the young lady accepted his kind heart since the man seemed harmless.

The two travelled for weeks and talked like they have known each other for years. Their hearts seemed to link with each other and now the young lady’s smile started to make the man’s heart flutter. Day after day, the little sprout of likeness outgrown.

Few days passed by. The two finally reached the maiden’s town. She asked him to come with him and to see her place.

The man was astonished after seeing a gigantic palace. He never thought that the maiden was the lost daughter of Rajah Mangubay and now he found her.

The Rajah was delighted after knowing that her daughter was alive, so he decided to repay him for his deeds.

The Rajah gave him a ton of gold and promised to give him a land. He even declared that day as a special occasion for her daughter and for the man.

The man was overwhelmed of the wealth that he even forgot his wife.

Meanwhile, the whole town became busy preparing for the celebration. People went back and forth as they set the things they needed. While resting the man overheard the two servants talking.

“ Isnt it the man who helped the young lady?” He heard and somewhat felt proud.

“Yes he is. Ohh. I also heard that the young lady like him and she wanted to marry him.”

“Really?” Then he faked a cough to let them know that he was there.

He felt pleased and thrilled for the news he heard. Now, he finally had a chance to live in deluxe. He no longer needed to work from dusk till dawn just to have a food on a table. He felt like it was a blessing from above.

That night, the event started happily and at peace. Everyone gathered around. They were dancing and singing. They felt happy seeing their maiden back.

The celebration started and he sat near the young lady. The Rajah smiled as he mention the man's name to show his gratitude. The man felt delighted when suddenly, a familiar flower captured his attention.

“It’s gloxinia” said the old man as he caught him staring at the flower.

“Do you know what it means young man? It means love at first sight” he resumed while drinking the rice wine up to the bottom.

“It’s a beautiful flower, with a beautiful meaning, indeed.” The man said happily.

 “My wife loves it.” he unconsciously uttered.

Then he stopped for a moment, flabbergasted but finally remembered his wife.

“Yes, my wife!” he exclaimed and the young lady who was sitting next to him felt astounded .

Without hesitation, the man picked the flowers then run to get a chariot and leave. The lady halted him yet the man told him about the truth. He had a wife and they will never be together.

He rode into the chariot until he reached the long bridge.

On his way he met a sick old man begging for some food.

“I haven’t eaten anything, please give me some food.” the old man pleaded.

The man checked and found the bread in his bag. Then he gave it to the old man.

“Blessed the soul of those who give. May your vessels of food won’t be empty.” the old man said.

A sudden surge of thoughts came to his mind. Why would he comeback to his wife. She was always grumpy and old. She couldn’t even give him a child. Moreover, this opportunity was way better than his old life. He even remembered the tons of gold given to him. He could share more once he had more.

 Now, the man started to doubt. He had more reasons not to go back to his old wife and stay with the young lady he met.

Then his reverie stopped after the old man spoke.

“You have a good heart and because of that I will give you this magic sundial. You may go back to the time your heart yearned the most, but you only have one chance to use it and your forever will change. Think about it wisely.”

Although he felt confused, he still thought that he had nothing to lose.

He paused for an hour and without hesitation, he excitedly picked the time.

The whole place plunge into deep darkness and the man lost consciousness.

Some minutes passed by. The man found himself lying inside the cart of a barren road. Then he saw a beautiful young lady, but she looked weary.

He looked at her like he knew what was going to happen next and the woman smiled shyly.

“Are you going to the market? if so, I may take you there”. The man asked.

The woman took his hands and noticed the flower on his cart.

“Isn’t it a gloxinia?. It’s so beautiful.” She said delightedly.

Then the man gave the flower to the woman and smiled.

The woman accepted it shyly and said happily “This is my favorite flower”

The man smiled and whispered. “I know.”

And Underneath his smile was a choice he will never regret.

April 05, 2021 06:32

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Jade Young
03:42 May 01, 2021

This was such a beautifully written story❤ I was captivated immediately and couldn't wait to get to the end and find out what the moral of the story was. Your story is easily one of my favourite fables I'll be telling my future children about😂🙈❤ I loved the beginning, the middle and especially the end❤ very well written with a great moral behind it👍 PS: could you take a look at my new story, Salutations? I'd really love to know what you think🙈


Show 0 replies
Ethan Gardner
17:10 Apr 13, 2021

I really liked your story. I love the sweet ending, where the man remembers why he married his wife. I think it has a great lesson there. There was one detail I noticed that confused me, if you're able to edit it. At the beginning, it says the man and woman live a day or two away from the market, but when the man finds the daughter of the Rajah, he travels for weeks before reaching his destination. Are there two different towns mentioned, or is a day or two just an understatement? Other than that, the story was wonderful.


Rose Ann Paga
04:35 Apr 14, 2021

Thank you for your comment .I'll take into account the things that you have mentioned . :)


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Chris Wagner
19:05 Apr 11, 2021

Great story. I like folktales and this has a really good folktale style. I liked the moral, and there's no obvious typos. I could see this in a book like The People Could Fly


Rose Ann Paga
04:34 Apr 14, 2021

Thank you. :)


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Ann Tillinghast
14:15 Apr 10, 2021

I enjoyed reading your story 😊 I was wondering how it was going to end. Please read mine and like it if you want 😀


Rose Ann Paga
07:41 Apr 11, 2021

thank you so much for this appreciation . the story ended though it was not stated directly


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.