We like to think that Ryan is hanging out with David Bowie, wherever he is, and making him constantly reenact the Magic Dance song from Labyrinth (‘again, Mr David, please!’ ‘OK little Ryan, one more time… You remind me of the babe…’ Squealing: ‘WHAT BABE?!’ and so on. *Ryan dissolves in a fit of giggles*). Ryan has always been our starboy.
When he was born we got a lot out of reading the Little Prince (Ryan means little king) and I now have a necklace which reads ‘I use the stars to find you’ which is attributed to the Little Prince, but I con’t actually find the quote in the book. It captures the sentiment of the final few pages regardless.
When Ryan’s body was released after his post mortem, we arranged with the funeral parlour to put some letters into his tiny coffin with him. He already had his white handknitted SiMBA teddy. It was an incredibly difficult experience writing my letter, but so great to do it, and even better to read the words of pure love from Niall and my family. My Dad woke up at 3am on the morning we were going to drop off the letters and wrote this story in one sitting. It’s still difficult for me to read it, but I think it’s a perfect fairytale of Ryan’s birth story.
The Moon Princess
Once upon a time there was a prince who slept a deep sleep in a cave beside the sea. There he dreamed and in the dream he saw the moon princess and she called him; her arms stretched towards him.
A beam of moonlight reflected off the waves sparkled on the cave walls and the prince awoke and remembered his dream. Quickly he made ready for the journey, left the cave and walked along the seashore to the ferryman’s house.
“Ferryman, ferryman!” he called, knocking on the door. “Please take me over the sea to the farther shore, I have to meet the moon princess.”
The old ferryman stepped out of his house, his long grey hair and beard stirred in the sea breeze like spindrift.
“Alas,” said he, “my boat has been dashed to pieces by the last storms. But come let us go to the boat builder and see if there is a new boat we can use.”
Together they walked along the beach to the little harbour and there, tied to the quay, was a beautiful new boat, its freshly varnished planking gleaming in the moonlight.
They climbed in and cast off. The ferryman plied his oars and with strong strokes rowed out of the harbour and into the waves of the ocean.
The spray of the waves that slapped the side of the boat was blown over them and the prince, licking his lips, laughed. “Why is the sea so salty?” “Oh,” came the reply, “that is the tears of those on the farther shore.”
The Prince was silent for a while watching as the water parted, as the boat cleaved through the waves which rippled past the boat, sparkling. Then he became merry again, dipped his hand and let the water pearl through his fingers. “Look how it sparkles” he exclaimed. “That is because of the laughter and joy of those on the farther shore,” the ferryman explained, “now settle down, it is a long journey.”
And so it was. The sun rose and still the little boat travelled on. The Prince could hardly settle though, he was full of excitement. looking over the side he saw fishes gliding beneath them. He watched the birds flying by and tried not to miss a single thing, so that the ferryman grumbled, good-naturedly, that if he didn’t settle down he might upset them both. The Prince laughed in reply.
As the sun was setting the prince saw far ahead of them the hills of the farther shore. “Soon we will reach land!” he said.
The ferryman answered “it will still be some time, the tide is against me and my arms and back are tired.” So the prince settled down to watch the approaching shore. As he sat his eyes grew heavy and he fell asleep.
The ferryman rowed steadily on as the sky darkened and the stars began to show. Then softly, slowly, silently the moon rose, its beams picking out the pebbles of the approaching shore, making them appear like a silver arc edging the dark waves.
Stepping down the moonbeam the moon princess arrived on the shore and waited as the boat ran up the shingle. The ferryman stepped out, pulling the boat out of the waves.
“Come on prince, you must wake up now, we have arrived”. But still he slept. The Princess approached the boat, smiling at the ferryman.
“Look!” he said, pointing to where the prince lay sleeping, “he doesn’t wake. He was so excited about meeting you and being with you here on the farther shore.” The ferryman’s face grew sad. “I don’t understand.”
“It’s alright,” said the princess, “if we cannot be together here on the farther shore, I will take him to my home.” She bent and lifted the sleeping prince and, stepping onto the moonbeam, softly and silently carried him to her home.
Slowly the ferryman pushed his boat back into waves, climbed aboard and began his long journey home. His eyes were filled with tears that flowed down his cheeks and the sea became just a little bit more salty.
The moon rose steadily into the sky and at the midnight hour the ferryman rested and gazed about at the sparkling waves. He dipped his hand into the sea letting the water pearl through his fingers, and he smiled.