An Original Fairy Tale: The Lying Prince

Once upon a time when time did not matter, and matters were dealt in time, there lived a prince in the kingdom of Noom. The young prince was as handsome as a prince ought to be, but he was as poor as a villager with hundreds of acres of land, a constant supply of admirers, and a “castle-hold” full of servants to heed his beck and call. It was never enough. As royalty he deserved the best, but his lands were unproductive, his admirers pitiful commoners, and his servants were so pleasing he was disgusted by them. He wanted prosperity, pleasure, and power because every man deserved to have such. And he was not just a man, he was a prince.

It came to be that his father had grown too old and sought to make his son the new king but the young prince had not proven his worth according to the unrealistic standards of his father.

“Son, have you increased the riches of the estates entrusted to you?” The frail king asked.

“Father, the weather has been poor and no crops have yielded for me.” Simply fabricated the son, for his father had been too ill to take notice of the weather outside.

“Son, have you found a beautiful damsel to present as your queen?” The frail king sighed.

“Father, no women have come to seek my hand in many months and I have worried over your health too much to seek a quest for their hand in marriage.” Again, lied the youth to whom a commoner by the name of Cinderella had come to visit, and the prince had tried, but to no avail, to rescue a long-haired woman in a tower the week before having heard that she was extremely wealthy.

“Son, I believe you because you are my son, but have you studied the kingdom and its laws and treaties?” The poor king cried, thrown into a fit of coughing.

“No, but-“Stammered the prince unable to lie quickly.

“Leave me child.” He was let down by his son’s laziness and his excusable nature.

A few days passed and the king passed away, but the expectant prince got no more than other’s sympathy as the steward of the castle became his guardian and ruler in his place.

The lying prince pretended it was all pleasing to him and insisted he was too grief stricken to rule anyways. He planned his escape to seek his true fortune in the world, because in Noom there were no prizes great enough for a handsome prince like him. When the day arrived that he could stand the mediocre life no longer he left on his finest steed and in the strangest clothes he had commissioned from the court tailor.

He rode to the highest mountain and saw that in the distance stood a castle made of solid gold. Here he would find his fortune. When he arrived in the kingdom of Prada, for that is what the place was called in those days, he was received with great enthusiasm.

“Here comes a wealthy prince from foreign lands!” The town’s people cried out with joy. The prince was pleased that his disguise had worked so well.

When he arrived at the Castle of gold he met a beautiful princess, but he quickly saw that in her eyes there was no spark. She was a dim-witted princess who owned a beautifully golden “short- carriage.” He would have been interested in her beauty if the gold had been absent. Soon the king asked him to accept his daughter as his bride, because in the land of Prada “if the wealth was there, then your heart was bared,” an old saying advised. The wedding was scheduled and he realized that he would find his fortune and leave. He had no desire for a slow princess or to be tied down through marriage. In Prada, according to tradition, the soon to be newlyweds spent the night together in the bride’s chambers. During the night they would pray to show devotion to each other and God.

The prince had read of this tradition and relied upon it as his best opportunity. Late that night he sat facing his fiancée with an ecstatic façade. He was happy at the gold, not her, and her room sparkled with it.

“…and Lord I thank thee-“Chanted the princess.

“Honey, I’m thirsty, will you get me a drink of water?” Asked the prince sweetly, begging with his eyes. If she just left the room for a bit…

“Certainly,” She responded sweetly and left to fulfill the request of her love.

As soon as she left the room he grabbed hold of as many jewels, gold, silver, jade, and silks as he could and stuffed a gold-threaded sack. He moved like a chicken thief into the night, jingling with his prize upon his back. He had fulfilled his first want.

Prada had boosted his self-esteem, if he could lie to the king and princess there, he could lie to anyone. ‘Wealth did not buy wits after all,’ he thought grinning. Soon enough he rode far enough that he heard no more of the” robber bridegroom” and came to the land of Esmerald. With enough money to live like a true king, he now sought pleasure. He believed that every beautiful man deserved a beautiful woman. And he was beautiful after all.

Esmerald had raised the most beautiful princesses in all of history. Even the common townspeople were attractive and he ogled at all the women and even some of the men! He soon came to the castle; it was not gold, but silver. He rode slowly and nearly fell off his high horse upon beholding the exquisite beauty of the princess. She was so beautiful in fact that any attempt to describe her with words or to draw her likeness would pale too much in comparison and be considered blasphemy punishable by death.

Now in this land the prince was amongst the lesser attractive people, but he was the only prince around. Other princes were daunted at the idea of even being considered by such a glorious race.

So his narcissism bought him entrance to the castle. And the lovely princess could not be more delighted. He stayed for the nightly feast and was seated by the princess. He shared with her tales of Noom’s wealth, his father awaiting his return with a wife, and the rumors of the “robber bridegroom of Prada” which are…

“Just rumors, of course,” he winked.

“Do you have any talents?” she asked fascinated.

“I can sing, and dance, and play a myriad of instruments, as well as write poetry for fair ladies such as the dear princess of Esmerald.” He flashed his winning smile. Of course his only talent was lying.

“Will you stay at the palace tonight?” She asked hopeful. He was so talented and wealthy and…who would lie to such a beautiful princess?

“If you permit it, but I have only one request if I am to stay…” He saw the light in her eyes, she was not stupid. But she certainly believed anything he said.

“Anything, just ask and it shall be given!” She had not seen a prince for a long time indeed.

“I would sleep under the bed of the princess,” he said placing a flower from the table behind her ear. “No other place will do, for I cannot sleep on top of beds, and even back at home I have a special bed under which I sleep.”

The princess unsuspecting and concerned at his special condition nodded assent and asked the servants to place a cot beneath the bed. Her bed was exceptionally high off the ground and the prince had known that if he spoke the right words he would succeed. And he did.

That night the princess slept upon the bed, while he poked her back with a stick. In the morning she would be sore and not know what happened. Because she was so beautiful he abused the kindness she extended and even emerged from underneath the bed to pace and gaze upon her still figure. He had slept with the most beautiful woman he could find and despite how gullible she was she would never allow it again. His trick would be announced and her father would be outraged, so he hurried away from Esmerald having fulfilled his second want.

There once was a princess quick as a whip and smart, she wasn’t as beautiful as Esmerald’s pride and joy, or as wealthy as Prada’s princess, but she certainly had titles and lands to spare. Her father recently spoke of her arranged marriage to the King of Jaip (or Just Another Important Place). This king was young and he had been raised to be a ruler of many lands, her father said she would be pleased with him. As a diplomat she owned many implements of truth, some were illegal and were only used to inspire fear. She possessed a stash of truth serum, a tell-tale mirror, a binding ring of truth, and some rusty scissors. Scissors were not illegal, but that would be debatable if they knew how she used them.

The King of Jaip was due to arrive in two days and she waited patiently to meet her future. Surprisingly he arrived that very day laden with treasures and with a very handsome face. She sensed something amiss in the way he moved his eyes, or the nervous movements. He was wrong, but she could not tell how. Another point of importance is that the King was travelling by sea, supposedly, but this man had just arrived from the inland regions. She was disappointed that a politically involved suitor could not lie properly.

“Did you arrive from the sea?” She interrogated.

“Yes, my princess.” He bowed and responded, while seemingly unaware of the travel dust on his boots.

“I am hosting a party tonight to honor your presence sire,” She spoke sweetly to the deceiver, deceiving him in turn.

“I would be honored to attend,” The king responded eagerly.

The king left to freshen up in his guest chambers and the princess did not hesitate to use her arsenal of truth. She prepared drinks that would force the truth and others that would be harmless, but even if innocent people drank the truth serum no one would be surprised of hearing the truth under intoxication. She placed her tell-tale mirror upon the wall. When she gazed into its depths she did not change appearance for she was a true princess, but any who lied about who they were would reveal their true selves. The ring and the scissors she carried in a waist pouch.

That night she floated amongst the guests and regularly brought drinks to the king. He drank and drank and drank and said he was nervous. He soon began to babble.

“I deserve the best. But a true prince needs a wife, and money! Some pleasures too….This is good wine. I wish I could take your lands away, but I really have to marry you don’t I?” His speech slurred and his steps stumbled as he left to his chambers. He realized he was saying too much, but could not stop. He had to get away.

When he passed the mirror the princess saw that he wore no crown, that he had royalty but no kingship. She was saddened at this sad excuse for a prince and followed. In his guest chamber he had thrown himself on the bed and tried to hold the words in with his hands.

“Mmhmmm…rich, mhmm marry a true princess, mmmmhmmm not as pretty…hmmm I’ll just leave then…–“The serum was too strong to allow the censoring of all his thoughts. And the princess with her intelligence in lies quickly deciphered a scam in his words. She took a deep breath and walked into character.

“Do not worry good king; we are destined to be together as my father wishes.” She held his hand. His serum wasn’t working very strongly because he believed in his lies.

“Thank you, I want to marry you very much.” He expressed longing, but he probably had her titles and lands in mind. She knew this, but still played along.

“I have a ring to commemorate our union, and may it remind you of me for eternity.” She undid the strings of her pouch and took the ring into her hand.

“I do…” The king said with greed coursing through his veins. She slid the ring into place and he sat upon the bed gloating at its beauty.

“Why do you want to marry me?” She asked innocently.

“To take your lands and titles of course.” He responded absently still enraptured by the ring.

“Have you tricked women before?” The princess asked, and her voice had become slightly edged.

“I do it all the time; it’s a lot of fun.” He said looking up.

“Do you know what you’re wearing?” She smiled slyly.

“You…you, witch!” He stumbled to his feet in anger.

“I have placed upon your finger a ring to bind you to the truth. But in those rare moments that you desire to tell the truth by your own free will, you will be unable to. For he who takes the truth for granted and tricks and cheats must be punished by his own tongue. Only true love can remove the ring.” The princess speaking those words left the “king” to himself.

When her true king did arrive she welcomed him with a party as well and learned that he was honest with her, for a marriage based on lies would never last. She happily married her appointed fiancée and never used her implements again. The true king of Jaip learned her techniques and is known as the Scissors Wielder of Jaip, feared and renowned in all the lands. They lived happily ever after.

The lying prince on the other hand, never did find true love, because he was too honest and hurtful, but most of all because he cold never say “I love you” when he did find his true love. The prince wore that ring all of his days waiting for someone to set him free.

-Melisa E. Im

{Author’s Note: I wrote this for a 12th grade Mythology assignment approximately 4 years ago (April 2010). The recipe for the fairy tale was: 1 part character development, 3 parts quests, a pinch of female empowerment and a teaspoon of euphemisms. I hope you enjoy and share with fellow fairy tale lovers.}

Image: “Le Petit Prince” protected by a Creative Commons license belonging to Xava du]

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