Even with the bright sun shining, the gray stone walls of the magnificent 200 year old castle appeared dark against the blue of the skies. The castle, set high in the hills, overlooking a lush green valley with a river running through it has been home to the Duke of Klington since it was built in the late 900’s.
On this joyous day, Edward the son of the current Duke, is to be married to a young, vivacious woman of royal heritage, the Lady Arlene of Ruthin. This has been an arranged marriage, as the parents of the bride and groom have been friends for many years, and as children Edward, and Lady Arlene played together. They are no longer children. Edward now stands over six feet tall and has wavy black hair, fair skin, and dark intense blue eyes. Lady Arlene is equally handsome, about five feet seven inches tall, slim, with thick auburn-red hair and light golden-brown eyes and very fair color. Standing in front of the priest, exchanging their vows, they appear to be the perfect couple
During the first four years of their marriage Edward became the Duke of Klington after his father’s death. And, they had three children, a boy and two girls. All three of the children were as handsome and bright as their parents. William, the oldest, was very active and quite protective of his sisters, but did have a tendency to get into some trouble as boys are wont to do. The second child, Andrea, was also very pretty with her mother’s red-auburn hair, dark brown eyes, and smooth, ivory skin. She also was very active and very quick. She had a pretty smile that showed two dimples on each side of her cheeks. Both William and Andrea were very protective of their younger sister, Dianna. Dianna was the best looking of the three children. She had thick, dark golden hair, intense blue eyes, like her father, and a peaches and cream complexion, like her mother. She, however, was not as active as her brother and sister. There were times that that she would just sit quietly and listen to things going on around her.
When Dianna was a year old, she had been slow to learn to walk and seemed to have some difficulty walking. She frequently fell down and once she ran into a pillar that she apparently had not seen. As time went on, she dropped things and broke them and often ran into things. She seemed clumsy and awkward. She was a sweet child and had a bright smile and a pleasing personality, even though she was very quiet and somewhat reserved. Dianna would never hurt anything and she loved animals. She had a beautiful black and white Fox Terrier dog and a pretty brown-gray Siamese cat. She loved both of them very much. The dog was always with her and seemed to sense that Dianna had problems. He too seemed very protective of her. He would sleep at the foot of her bed, acting as her protector.
Because of her falling frequently and bumping into things and dropping things, William and Andrea both noticed that Dianna must not see very well. Lady Arlene also noticed this. One day she was observing Dianna and she noticed her squinting her eyes almost closed to see something only three feet away. She also noticed that when she was playing with her dog, she would often get very close to his face. Lady Arlene put things together and thought that Dianna must be nearly blind. She got close to Dianna one day and put her hand within one foot of one of Dianna’s pretty blue eyes. Dianna did not blink or respond. Lady Arlene moved her hand back and forth and Dianna’s eyes did not follow her hand. Lady Arlene softly called Dianna’s name and she turned toward her, but her eyes looked vacant and unfocused, and Lady Arlene knew that Dianna could not see her very well, if at all. She came very close to her mother, putting out her hand, which her mother gently took. They walked together and Lady Arlene asked different questions about things around her. She was shocked to find that Dianna could not see them.
William and Andrea took very good care of Dianna and included her in many things that they did. They had known for some time that Dianna could not see very well, and they realized that Dianna’s dog also looked after her and could sense that she did not see well. When William was 12 and Andrea was 11 and Dianna was 10, Duke Edward decided that William would go to the Benedictine Monastery at Shrewsbury to be educated by the monks, and Andrea would go to the Benedictine Convent at Polesworth to be educated by the nuns.
The Duke thought that Dianna must not be as bright as the other two children because of her lack of response to many things and her often-subdued reactions. Also, she had not learned her letters or numbers and could not read. He discussed Dianna with Lady Arlene, who told him that she thought Dianna was nearly blind. The Duke was shocked, and then decided that Dianna would not benefit from going to the Benedictine Convent with Andrea for an education. He, however, was not an unkind father and he assigned a young girl of 15, in the Court, to be Dianna’s companion. This girl, Rowena, however, was not as kind or intelligent as William and Andrea, and she thought Dianna was dumb and retarded. These were not happy days for Dianna. Her dog was very intelligent and he was always with her, protecting her from Rowena and some of the other children that tried to take advantage of Dianna not being able to see very well. Dianna was intelligent, and even not being able to see things very clearly, she still managed to get along by developing a keen sense of hearing and feeling. She now could sense when there was a pillar in her way, even though it was only a blur to her. She could also sense when a person was close by, even though the person was a complete blur to her and she could not really see them.
Dianna’s sense of smell also developed into a high degree of keenness. She could even smell and identify different foods that were being cooked and she could smell flowers and often identify them before she got very close to them, so she could partially see them by squinting her eyes almost closed. This usually had to be two to three inches. One of the most difficult things for Dianna was eating, as she couldn’t see the food on the table or her plate, unless she got very close to them and even then they were often only a blur of color. She could see different colors, but they were very blurred for her, if they were only a foot or two away. But, she learned to identify different foods by their color and smell.
The year passed and Dianna was very lonely without William and Andrea to play with and help her. But, she had her dog and cat and would go for long walks with her dog, along the stream that ran behind the castle. There she could hear the flow of the water and even identify in which direction it was moving. She could smell the water and even smell the fish in the water, and she could feel the sand along the banks with her fingers and toes. She longed to see better and would sometimes squint her eyes nearly closed, trying to make out the images around her. On one occasion, she was sitting on a rock near the stream, quietly crying, because she could not see much of anything. Her dog was sitting very close to her, also feeling sad for her. All of a sudden, the dog started to growl quietly and Dianna realized that there must be another person present. Dianna could not see the person but could smell a pleasant perfume, so she presumed that the person must be a lady. The lady spoke to Dianna in a sweet, soft voice, so that Dianna and the dog were not frightened. The lady asked Dianna what was the matter. Dianna responded that she could not see things and that she was sad because her brother and sister were away at the monastery and convent schools. The lady came closer and asked Dianna if she could see her.
Dianna said, “no, everything is very blurry for me”.
The lady came even closer and put her hand on Dianna’s hand and asked her, “Can you see my hand now?”
Dianna put her face very close to her hand and told her that she could just see her hand and then she squinted her eyes very tightly and pulled the corners of both eyes with her fingers to try and see the lady’s face. Dianna made a little gasp, as it was the most beautiful face she had ever seen, although she had never really seen many faces very clearly in her entire life.
The lady said that she was called Angela and that she thought that Dianna must be very nearsighted. The lady also said that she was a time traveler and came from a different time way in the future. Dianna did not really understand this, but the lady was so quiet and peaceful that she was not really frightened by her saying these strange things. Angela continued that she had come to help Dianna see better. She said that she wanted to take Dianna away with her to her own time, the middle of the 20th Century, to try and help her to see better. Angela said that she thought that the doctors in her time would be able to help Dianna see much more clearly and better. She also said that Dianna should not be frightened and she could take her dog with her. No one would even know that she was away, as time is a relative thing. Even though it would seem like several days to Dianna, it would only be a blink of an eye in Dianna’s time.
Dianna was confused by all of this, but the lady seemed so nice and peaceful, like an angel, that she was not frightened. The lady told Dianna to sit where she was and put her dog on her lap. The lady then took Dianna’s hand in her own hand. Immediately when she did this, there was a bright flash and Dianna seemed to be going very fast through a dark tunnel. Of course, Dianna could not see anything and then all of a sudden there was another bright flash and Dianna, her dog, and the lady were sitting next to a narrow stream, similar to the one near the castle. The lady gently picked Dianna up and carried her through the nearby forest. In a short time, they came to a cottage near a town.
The lady gave them some food and then put them into a bed, where they both fell into a deep sleep. When they awoke, there was an older lady there that said she was Angela’s mother. She spoke a strange language that Dianna could understand, but it was strange. It seemed to be like English, but it was different.
She said, “Oh my child, your eyes are so poor that you cannot even see me very well. Come closer so that you can see my face and my eyes”.
Dianna came closer and squinted her eyes so they were only small slits. The woman held out her hand and put Dianna’s hand in hers.
She said, “don’t be frightened, my daughter will return soon to take you to have your eyes examined by a doctor and they will fix it, so you will be able to see so much better”.
When Angela returned, she had some new clothes and shoes for Dianna. Dianna looked very pretty in a dark blue skirt and a white blouse and shiny black shoes. Angela tied her hair back with a large red ribbon. Angela took Dianna to a large mirror, but all Dianna could do was get very close to the mirror and she still could not see herself, even squinting her eyes almost closed.
Angela said, “Never mind, in a week or so, I am sure you will be able to see yourself in the mirror but now it is time to go to see the eye doctor.”
The doctor’s office was in a small building in a business district of the town. The doctor asked Angela what was the trouble and she asked the doctor to examine Dianna’s eyes. The Dr darkened the room and looked into Dianna’s right eye with an instrument that looked like a small telescope with a bright light. After a minute or so, he clicked his tongue and then looked into her left eye and immediately made a grunting sound. He said that the child was extremely nearsighted and asked Angela where Dianna’s glasses were? Angela stared at the Dr’s eyes and he immediately became much less aggressive. He said that he had not seen a child this young with such poor vision in all of his time of practicing. He then said that they should see one of his colleagues down the hall, who was a pediatric ophthalmologist and had more experience with this type of extremely high myopia. He said that he would call her and to see if she could examine Dianna’s eyes today.
Fortunately Dr Benita Brannen said that she had an opening at 11 o’clock and could see Dianna then. So, Angela took Dianna down the hall to see Dr Brannen at 11 o’clock. Dr Brannen was a very kind and gentle person that wore glasses with extremely thick lenses. Her glasses flashed when she moved and seemed to protrude about 1 inch behind the frame. She took her glasses off, and squinted her eyes, and put on an instrument that had two telescopes in front of each eye. She looked into Dianna’s eyes with this instrument that also had a light and said that Dianna was extremely nearsighted and essentially blind and probably had been born with congenital progressive myopia. She said that she needed to examine Dianna’s eyes more carefully to evaluate what should be done. Dr Brannen called her receptionist and asked how many appointments she had the next day. There were three in the morning and five in the afternoon. None of the morning appointments were urgent as they were all 6-month follow-ups. Dr Brannen told her receptionist to cancel all of the morning appointments and assign them to a later time, as she needed the whole morning for her newest patient.
Angela brought Dianna back the next morning. After looking into Dianna’s eyes again with the binocular-looking instrument, Dr Brannen made various measurements for an hour by typing on a keyboard. She then put another instrument that had a violet light on its end and placed it directly, first on one eye and then on the other. Several other tests were made. In one, she put drops into each of Dianna’s eyes and after several minutes, she put a probe on her eye and a machine moved it slowly over Dianna’s eye. This was repeated with the other eye. She did this several times, sometimes asking Dianna to look up to the ceiling or to the right and then to the left. This went on for over an hour with many strange images being projected on a screen that the Dr took pictures of. The Dr then cancelled the five appointments for the afternoon, as she needed more time to evaluate Dianna. She also asked where Dianna’s glasses were and again Angela looked straight into the Dr’s eyes and she seemed to forget about her question. She then put a relatively large instrument up to Dianna’s eyes so she could look through two holes. Dr. Brannen put up some letters, but Dianna could not see anything and anyway she did not know letters, as she had never learned to read, because she couldn’t see. So, the Dr then put up some animals. But, Dianna still could not see anything. The Dr then turned some wheels on the front of the instrument to change things, and at one point, Dianna told her that she could see a dog that looks like my dog, except he seems so clear. The Dr then had the dog move to the right, to the left, up and then down and asked Dianna to tell her where the dog was after she moved it several times. During this process, the Dr changed the lenses in the machine several times and then said that she thought she was close to the proper correction for Dianna’s new glasses. When she was finished, she told Angela that Dianna was extremely nearsighted and essentially blind, but that she thought that proper glasses would give Dianna much better vision. She wrote out the prescription, which read: RE, -20.50D sph, -3.75D cyl X 155; LE, -18.25D sph, -5.75D cyl X 75, with + 4.0D bifocals for both eyes. The Dr said that she would put a “rush” for these glasses, as Dianna needed them as soon as possible. She could probably get them in three to five days. She would call Angela when they were ready.
Angela made the time go quickly, so that Dianna would not suffer too much not being able to see in the strange surroundings. The call came after five days, and Dianna’s glasses were ready to be picked up. Angela took Dianna to Dr Brannen’s office and she put the new glasses on Dianna. The assistant made some adjustments to the frames, as the lenses were quite thick. Dianna, however, was overjoyed as they let her walk around looking at everything. The Dr said that Dianna’s glasses were not as strong as her own glasses, but Dianna was much younger and would probably need stronger and stronger glasses, as she got older. She made an appointment to bring Dianna back in 6-months to have her eyes examined.
As Dianna left with Angela, she was very excited to be able to see so many things that before were just vague blurred images to her. She could see in the distance, she could see intermediate, and she could see close-up by looking down through the bifocals. At one point, she took her glasses off and everything seemed to just disappear. She immediately put the glasses back on and started to cry as she was so happy to be able to see. Angela just smiled and told her not to cry. Then they were back at the cottage. Dianna ran to the mirror to look at herself and was very excited to see herself for the first time and to see the glasses in front of her eyes that allowed her to see so many things that before she could not see. Dianna smiled at Angela and very quietly said, “Thank you”.
Angela had Dianna sit with her dog in her lap and then took both of her hands and there was a flash, as before, and Dianna was again being hurled through the tunnel with her dog and Angela. Another flash and they were sitting by the stream in back of the castle. Dianna had the glasses on with the lenses that were over ½ inch thick and reflected light when she moved her head, but everything seemed so clear and sharp to her. In some respects, it frightened her a little, but in other respects, she was overjoyed to be able to see things that she had never been able to see before. Angela told Dianna to take her dog and go up to the castle and act as normal as possible. She said that she would be around to help her if she needed her.
Dianna went into the castle, wearing her new glasses seeing everything for the first time. No one seemed to notice her for several hours. When she came to the dinner table, no one said anything, as she started to eat, being able to see the food for the first time. When Lady Arlene saw Dianna, she asked what were those pieces of glass in front of Dianna’s eyes. Dianna replied that they were called, glasses, and she could now see quite well by looking through them. Lady Arlene was puzzled and asked where she had gotten them. Dianna answered that a very nice, beautiful lady gave them to her. Angela had told her to say this. Lady Arlene wanted to see the glasses and Dianna took them off and gave them to her mother. Lady Arlene looked through them but could not see anything very clearly. Dianna was sitting there with her eyes squinted into slits.
Lady Arlene said, “Well child, if you can see with them they must be magic and I am very happy that you can now see” and gave them back to Dianna.
She then asked Dianna to tell her where her dog was. Dianna pointed to the end of the room, where her dog was resting. Her mother gasped and shook her head, being somewhat frightened by the miracle that the glasses performed for Dianna.
Dianna wore her glasses all of the time that she was awake and many people wondered and some asked about them. Many people also noticed that Dianna was no longer blind when she had the thick pieces of glass that reflected light before her eyes. Some said that the glasses made Dianna a witch and others said that an angel had given Dianna her glasses, so she could see like a normal person. Many people were amazed and some were frightened by Dianna, wearing her glasses and being able to see, when before, without them, she had been blind.
One evening, Dianna was in her room, preparing to go to bed. She had just taken her glasses off when Rowena came into the room. Dianna could tell that someone had come into the room, even though she could not see them. So, she immediately put her glasses on. Rowena came close and asked her what the pieces of glass that she had in front of your eyes were? Dianna said that they were her glasses that allow her to see. Rowena grabbed the glasses from Dianna’s face and stepped to the back of the room. Dianna was now blind and could not see Rowena. Rowena looked through the lenses and said that she could not see anything and that Dianna was either a liar or a witch that used the pieces of glass to see. At that moment, Angela appeared from nowhere and said in a very stern voice that Rowena should give the glasses back to Dianna immediately. It was now Rowena’s turn to become frightened and she moved farther away from Dianna and Angela. Angela was immediately next to Rowena and put her hand on Rowena’s wrist and told Rowena to give them back to her or I will turn you into a stone.
Rowena started to cry and rushed to give the glasses back to Dianna, who put them on to see what was going on. Angela then told Rowena that she should never take Dianna’s glasses again and if she did, Angela would turn her into a stone pillar to hold up part of the castle wall. Rowena was very frightened and said that she would never do it again.
Angela said, “good, but you must also protect Dianna from any others from doing it too, because if you don’t, you also will be turned into a stone pillar along with those that do it”.
Dianna always wore her glasses and everyone wondered what the strange looking pieces of glass were in front of her eyes. Some whispered that it was witchcraft. Nevertheless, Dianna excelled now that she could see. She learned her letters and numbers and learned to read the books that William and Andrea had read when they were little. Duke Edward had been away from the castle for some time and when he returned he heard about his daughter being a witch. He talked to Lady Arlene about this nonsense and then saw Dianna wearing her glasses. Lady Arlene explained that Dianna could now see everything through the two pieces of glass that were in front of his daughter’s eyes. He, however, was secretly pleased and happy that a magician, an alchemist, or someone had given Dianna the glasses that allowed her to see. And in due time, he decided that now Dianna should go to the Benedictine Convent in Polesworth to be educated by the nuns.
Angela appeared to Dianna and told her that she would always be with her and would look over her at the convent school. When Dianna appeared at the school, the nuns were also curious about the pieces of glass that Dianna had in front of her eyes. The Lady Abbess called Dianna to her office and asked her about the glasses that she wore. Dianna told her that a beautiful lady gave them to her and that with them she could see, and without them, she was blind. The Lady Abbess was interested and asked Dianna if she could look through her glasses. Dianna took her glasses off and gave them to the Lady Abbess. She looked through them and also was amazed that she could see better, although not perfectly.
She said, “child, you are indeed very fortunate to have met such a lady that could give you these glasses so you can see. I can tell that you are indeed blind without them and that with them you are able to see and function normally. I too would like to meet such a lady, as I have not been able to see clearly for a long time and have to squint my eyes almost closed to try and see better in the distance”.
Dianna went with Angela many times to have her eyes examined and she received new glasses almost every year that allowed her to see better. When she finished studying at the Convent School, she had become a very beautiful young woman that was quite accomplished in music, the arts, and literature. Her glasses, however, were now much thicker, but her eyesight was still quite good when she had them on. Dr Brannen said that she had now passed her in the strength of her glasses, but her eyesight, while not perfect, was quite good for an extremely myopic young lady.
One summer day, her brother, William, introduced her to his classmate, Prince Richard, who was quite taken with her beauty and with the strange, flashing pieces of glass that she wore in front of her eyes to see. One day he was walking with her in the King’s Garden and he asked her to take her glasses off, as he wanted to see her without them. She removed her glasses as she had fallen in love with Prince Richard and she thought that he too had fallen in love with her. He said that he could not see her eyes very well when she had her glasses on, but now that she had removed them, he could see that they were very beautiful. He told her to put her glasses back on, so she could see. He said that he loved her with and without her glasses and that he wanted her to wear her glasses all of the time so she could see him, but once in a while, when they were alone, he wanted her to take them off for a short time, so he could see her beautiful dark blue eyes. In due course, their engagement for marriage was announced and little, blind Dianna was soon to become a Princess and maybe even a Queen some day, even if she had to wear glasses with bifocals and extremely thick lenses to see.
A story by Aliena, with editing by Specs4Ever, Christmas 2002