Once upon a time there was a handsome prince, who was not the richest but at least had his own kingdom to reign. His kingdom was a small one but his position was enough to appear as a potential spouse in front of many high class ladies or princesses. He had decided that it was time to marry.
To propose to a princess of a bigger and more powerful kingdom was a very gutsy thing to do and needed lots of courage, but the prince decided to do it anyway. He went to his neighboring kingdom and asked the king for his daughter's hand in marriage. The king's daughter did not accept.
The prince, on his father's grave had a beautiful rose that only stemmed once in five years and when it did only one rose was produced. Also, he owned a nightingale that has a very melodious song which captivated people almost into a hypnosis. He had thought that these would be very nice presents befitting of the princess. So, he placed each on a silver box respectively and sent them to her.
When the princess saw the boxes she was clapping in anticipation. She was expecting a kitten since she has always wished for one or if not possible some other precious gift. When she unpacked the gifts, the first thing she saw was a very beautiful rose emanating an entrancing aroma. She liked it very much but after carefully inspecting it she said:
- But this is not artificial, it is a real rose!
Since, it was something that would wither anyway, she obviously didn't like it anymore. Then she moved onto the next silver box. The nightingale came out flying and started singing with its melodious and hypnotizing voice. The princess obviously liked the song, but she didn't believe that the nightingale was a real one and that it was some trick from the prince. She assumed he was trying to manipulate her.
The conclusion was that the princess was throwing tantrums at both of the gifts. Not accepting the gifts meant not accepting the prince's proposal after all.
But, the prince being one who never gives up started thinking of other ways to make an approach. He decided to mask himself and added some dirt on his handsome clean face, wore a pair of rags and a hat becoming unrecognizable. Using his riches and connections he managed to pull some strings to obtain a working position as a shepherd on the palace's farm for taking care of the pigs.
Of course, the palace had it's own managed farm where servants were employed and took care of growing and raising all the products and animals that would soon be presented as the food for many banquet's held in the palace. Having gained this chance the prince became a pig shepherd. They gave him a servant's cottage near the pigs, so he could live there.
Being a prince he was a very educated man and obviously had mastered different fields of knowledge. He was a very talented inventor and crafter.
After working all day, in the evening he started working on one of his inventions and crafted a beautiful enchanted pot, which when filled with water and put over the fire would let out a captivating singing voice singing a very popular song in that region which was called 'My Dear Augustine'. But the pot had another special function which allowed you to taste what every house in the kingdom was cooking when you placed your hand over the steam.
Coincidentally, the princess had gathered her personal maids and was having her evening stroll. By chance she heard the beautiful song coming from the farm sector in the castle. This was the song which she knew best and always sang. Naturally she sent a maid to investigate where the song was coming from. After learning the truth, she found it difficult to believe her eyes and ears, but she decided that she absolutely needed to get her hands on that pot.
Again she sent a maid to tell to the shepherd (masked prince) that the princess wanted to buy the artifact and that he could just name a price. The prince replied that his invention was not for sale, but he would consider gifting it to the princess if she gave 10 kisses to him.
The maid was in a difficult spot and after much struggling relayed the request to the princess. The princess thought that it was a very rude request. When she was preparing to leave, she heard the captivating song coming from the pot again and fell into a dilemma. After thinking for a bit she thought that if the maidens offered those kisses then she might obtain the pot.
Naturally, the prince was very firm with his request and he wanted none other than the princess to offer him those 10 kisses.
Begrudgingly the princess realized that she really wanted to own the pot and finally complied with the request. After having all the maids around them in a circle to cover what would happen, she started kissing the shepherd.
The princess and her maids were very happy with her new artifact and she left it on fire hearing the song and tasting different dishes all night. The ladies had a great time.
The prince, being one who never stays put, invented another enchanted object after a week. This time it was a strange musical instrument which played all valses and folk music known at that time. Again the princess got news of his new invention. She really liked the new invention as well.
Naturally, she sent the maids again to inquire for the new invention, but this time making it clear that kisses were to not be included in the negotiation.
To her surprise, the shepherd did not agree and what was worse, this time he wanted exactly 100 kisses from her. When she was struggling to accept to herself that this was not an option, she again heard the enchanting music coming from the farming area and had a change of heart.
Thinking to herself that this was a noble sacrifice that she, as an educated and art-supporting noble lady, was doing for encouraging arts and music she headed for the pig pens with her maids.
By chance, the king when having a stroll had caught a glimpse of a lot of movement at the pig pens area. Curious as he was, he walked over there only to find the maids encircling his daughter and counting the kisses that she was giving to a shepherd.
The king was very shocked and was disappointed with his daughter. She, a princess was having an affair with a shepherd, and what was more in public under her servants eyes. This was no princess behavior and she had ruined his reputation. Being a fair and just king, he did not take their lives but decided to banish them from his kingdom.
The shepherd and the princess were sent out of the kingdom. Now, the prince was facing a crying princess. She started wallowing about how she lost everything and how it was his fault. The princess requested of him to at least accompany her to the neighbor kingdom so she could go to the prince that had proposed to her previously. She argued that the shepherd owed this to her for putting her in this position .
She thought that was a very genial solution to her current problem
Calmly, the shepherd went behind a rock, cleaned himself and wore his royal clothes appearing as the prince.
He showed himself in front of her and said with an ice cold voice:
- I loathe you now. You didn't want to marry an honest and caring prince that would have loved you for life. You didn't like my rose and nightingale, but for a pot and an instrument you lowered yourself to kiss a pig's shepherd. You are pitiful. What you reap, you saw.
Then he left towards his own kingdom, leaving the princess alone, to her own pitiful fate.
Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on April 21, 2018:
unexpected endings are such a nice twist to a short story. Creative and entertaining. I enjoyed your story.