“In the tall main wing of the convent, which overlooks an immense landscape of hills and valleys, there is a long gallery with a black and white marble floor.
On the walls of the gallery, side by side, hangs a long row of heavy, gilt frames, each of them adorned with a coroneted plate of pure gold, on which is engraved the name of a princess: Donna Christina, Donna Ines, Donna Jacintha Leonora, Donna Maria. And each of these frames encloses a square cut from a royal wedding sheet.
Within the faded markings of the canvases people of some imagination and sensibility may read all the signs of the zodiac: the Scales, the Scorpion, the Lion, the Twins. Or they may find there pictures from their own world of ideas: a rose, a heart, a sword – or even a heart pierced through with a sword….”
….But in the midst of the long row there hangs a canvas which differs from the others. The frame of it is as fine and as heavy as any, and as proudly as any carries the golden plate with the royal crown. But on this one plate no name is inscribed, and the linen within the frame is snow-white from corner to comer, a blank page.
I beg of you, you good people who want to hear stories told: look at this page, and recognize the wisdom of my grandmother and of all old story-telling women!
For with what eternal and unswerving loyalty has not this canvas been inserted in the row! The story-tellers themselves before it draw their veils over their faces and are dumb. Because the royal papa and mama who one this canvas to be framed and hung up, had they not had the tradition of loyalty in their blood, might have left it out.
It is in front of this piece of pure white linen that the old princesses of Portugal — worldly wise, dutiful, long-suffering queens, wives and mothers — and their noble old playmates, bridesmaids and maids-of-honour have most often stood still.
It is in front of the blank page that old and young nuns, with the Mother Abbess herself, sink into deepest thought.
It is the most divine & poignant short story & you can read it at the above link…