Once upon a time long ago there lived a king who built an amazing castle high atop a mountain in the desert.

From his aerie, the king could see almost his entire kingdom except for his capital city, which lay far to the south. Still, from the great height of his castle’s ramparts, he could see for many miles and it was magnificent.

But there were hardly any people. Eagles flew by. Sometimes one of these great birds would stop and perch on the castle walls, but then they moved on to wherever eagles go. Sometimes a passing mountain goat, looking for greener grasses came close, then wandered off.  No one came to visit. It was too far and too hard to reach.

castle colorado

Eventually, the king felt so isolated he barely remembered what it meant to be a king or why he had moved to a place so beautiful but empty. Realizing he was lonely and would remain so if he stayed where he was — after a few more years passed because he was a stubborn ruler and the real estate market for second-hand castles on desert mountaintops was soft — the king abandoned his mountain retreat.

He left the walls and the turrets for the wind, rain and wild creatures to do with as they would.The monarch took his most treasured belongings and returned to his city to be with people, his people. And there, with life bustling around him, he was no longer alone or lonely. Sometimes he missed his castle in the desert and dreamed of it.

By the Little Colorado Arizona

Away in the desert, atop its mountain perch, the castle began to crumble in on itself, yet even to this day, if you travel through the desert, you can see it. There it is, high on its perch in the Painted Desert, overlooking a tiny, silvery river. You can visit, if you like.

Categories: Fiction, Magic, Myths and Fables, Nature, Photography

Tags: , , , , ,

23 replies

  1. Been there… Great story, Marilyn. 🙂


  2. Somewhat like our castles. Those kings must have really felt lonely out there.While reading the story I hooked on the feeling.


  3. It almost reflects on the polictical leaders of the day. They are out of touch with what is going on with the people.


    • I wasn’t thinking of that, but it could fit. That’s the cool thing about mythology, even when you make it up. It fits into our world in a lot of ways because it comes out of a primitive part of our brains (or so I believe). Things like this write themselves, more or less.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A great story – good for Once Upon a Time. It really does look like an abandoned castle.


    • Thank you. I’ve always thought that rock formation didn’t look like it had been carved by wind and water. But of course, you’d have to be a very skilled rock climber to get near enough to it to see what it really looks like. It doesn’t make a good “once upon a time” theme 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Quite an image.
    Better to be a peasant among people than a ruler in a empty castle.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. isnt that lovely. And yes, it does look like an ancient castle. Considering where the original London Bridge now lives, why not an ancient castle in the Painted Desert?


  7. I wish the story would have went on. I enjoyed it. Great pictures, where is it?


  8. Nice photos! Is that a little bit of flash fiction or a local legend?


    • My own local legend (flash fiction). It’s a natural rock formation, as far as anyone knows … but it looks like an ancient castle to me. Each time I’ve seen it, I wonder who would build a castle in so desolate — yet beautiful — wilderness? So I made it up. Someone will believe me. There’s always someone to believe you.

      Liked by 1 person

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