There once was an orphan girl in the distant land of Isha.
There was an orphanage there where she lived.
She was left on the doorstep of the orphanage and no one knew where she came from or who she came from.
She was named Asav.
She lived there year after year and was taught many things by a caring woman who worked at the orphanage.
Though the other orphans were kind to her, she felt a sadness, an aloneness.
She was taught to read and would read folktales and stories of love.
To cure her sadness she would often daydream that she was the main character in the stories she read, sometimes a beautiful princess.
She would dream of marrying a prince who lived in the highest castle.
She would be so faithful to him and he to her, and they fell into a strong and sincere love.
Each day she would think about her love in some far off castle.
She then read the story about a princess who loved an ugly frog and the ugly frog was the kindest and most loving of gentlemen,
more worthy of love then the most beautiful prince. It was then that her entire perspective changed.
Asav learned to believe that beauty was unimportant. She learned to find beauty in ugly things and ugly people.
She loved ugly things and grew to despise perfect and beautiful things. She thought of ugliness as a treasure and gift.
Asav was gorgeous, beautiful, though she wished to be ugly because then she would know the true nature of people, and she could be with people that looked past beauty and truly knew how to love.
As she grew into a woman she was told that she must go and find work, and that she must leave the orphanage.
So she packed her things into a bag and set out on her own.
As she walked near the town well, she talked with a woman there washing clothing.
She told the woman that she needed some work and somewhere to stay.
This woman told Asav that she could work as a maid in the Royal Isha Castle.
So Asav began working in the castle.
She would do chores all day. Washing and cleaning, preparing and serving food to the Royal family.
One day the prince saw Asav working and took delight in her humble and modest manner.
The prince was the most beautiful in all the land. Princesses from all around the world had heard of his beauty, his riches, his perfect physique and perfect manners.
He was looking for a love conquest.
He began to take a liking to Asav, yet the more the prince liked her, the less Asav liked him.
One day the prince invited Asav into the garden. This was a most unusual request for a prince to ask a maid.
Asav politely said “No”. She had no interest in the prince.
The prince was insulted and because his pride was hurt he banished Asav out of the land of Isha.
Asav left Isha and she was happy to be away from the beautiful prince who she disliked so much.
Asav then started to camp in a desert and mountain land outside of the land of Isha.
She was with holy people whom she admired and valued. They were simple and honest people, these mountain dwellers.
They took her in and fed her and taught her their ways of sheep-herding and raising cows and farming.
She was content and glad to be there.
She still slept alone, dreaming often of love.
As she was tending the sheep, the sheep started to wander into a canyon where they should not be.
Asav yelled at them and tried to get them to turn around to the land they should be on, yet the sheep all went into the canyon and a storm was approaching.
The water from the distant storm started to flow into the canyon and formed a river. The canyon was narrow and the water started to flow to the canyon walls.
A shepherd from another desert village heard Asav yelling and went to the canyon to see what the yelling was about.
He saw the sheep were in danger of drowning and so he hiked down into the canyon to help Asav herd the sheep out of the canyon.
One by one he and Asav brought each sheep to higher ground.
The sheep were safe now.
Asav went to thank the shepherd yet when she looked for him, he was gone. He was nowhere to be found.
When she went back to her village she told the story of what happened and that she must find out who this person was so that she could thank him for what he did.
The villagers told Asav that the man must be the shepherd named Naem.
They told her about Naem and how he lived on his own, without a village, that Naem was an orphan who had no wife. They said that he preferred being alone.
The villagers spoke about how when Naem was a boy, a warring tribe came and cut the tip of Naem’s nose as an act of dominance. As Naem grew up, he was made fun of by his peers.
Behind his back, they would call him names. Naem tried and tried to be normal, yet he met no success.
Naem felt ugly and ashamed because of this and he gave up trying to find a wife. He would dedicate his life to being holy – in his own way, away from the people that hurt him so much.
In Asav grew a secret smile, a flame lit within Asav and she resolved that she must find Naem.
Day after day she would take the sheep and look for Naem.
She went through the canyon, to the other side of the canyon looking for him, yet she did not find him.
Year after year, month after month she would look for him and dream of him and think about how much she loved this man that she did not know, yet where was this shepherd, this alone and ugly and holy man?
One night Asav started to cry because she was alone. She wished to bear a child, a family, yet she had no one.
She started to wander in the mountains and came to the desert and wandered some more. Crying and giving up hope until she fell to the sand floor.
She fell asleep and as she awoke she found herself in a tent.
She got up out of the tent and saw in front of her Naem, with his ugly, cut nose.
Inside of her the flame of love was burning bright and they spoke to each other and the two became one.