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Fiction by Pen . . . . . not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment

Fairy Tale

this was sent out in pieces and posted to journals as the recipients received it

Once upon a time, there were five princes. All of them were handsome, but the handsomest of all was Prince Justin. From the time he smiled his first baby smile, he beguiled all who looked upon him. He was of a fastidious turn of mind, and his servants were required to go to great lengths to maintain the cleanliness of his magnificent palace. His high standards extended to his future Princess, who must be a paragon of all virtues and, in addition, must share his passion for footwear.

Prince Christopher was not particularly interested in shoes. Neither was he noticeably fastidious, and he liked women of all kinds... although mostly, they were not so much princesses as, er, not princesses. One day, Prince Christopher was strolling through the forest, as princes are wont to do, when his attention was caught by a cry of distress from, as it turned out, a damsel trapped in a tower. After several minutes of conversation the damsel let down her long, long hair like a rope for him to climb up to her. Prince Christopher looked up at the tower, looked at the rope of hair, and at the distance he would have to climb to achieve the lady, and said, "Screw that." Ignoring the plaintive cries from the tower, he hastened onward through the forest at ground level.

Prince Joey was not fastidious either. He shared a dwelling with Prince Lance, who complained constantly about the mess, the scattered foodstuffs, and Prince Joey's rather… omnivorous habits with regard to the seduction of local maidens. And matrons. And… well, perhaps the less said about that, the better. Prince Lance was rather more repressed in his habits, and it was not until his own wandering through the forest led him to discover a beautiful young maiden encased in an impenetrable glass coffin that he declared he had found his true love, and caused the coffin to be carried back to the castle in a large, carefully padded cart.

In another part of the strangely ubiquitous and prince-filled forest, there was a particularly thorny, brambly patch of it in a locally enchanted spot, and the singularly handsome Prince Joshua spent a good deal of his time in this area. Prince Joshua believed that his one true love was imprisoned in a(nother) tower behind this barrier of bushes, and devoted a great deal of time to getting through them, for his one true love, being a princess of surpassing beauty, was worthy of considerable effort.

Prince Lance was extremely disconcerted to discover, when he had got his precious cargo back to the castle, that the jolting journey had caused his glass-encased maiden to wake up and unfasten the catch on the interior of her coffin, having—she explained—jogged the piece of poisoned fruit out of her mouth. Prince Lance was not at all sure how to deal with an actual maiden, but fortunately the maiden was—although grateful—not particularly interested in Prince Lance. Instead, she devoted herself to cleaning up around Prince Joey, explaining that she had previously been employed in doing the housework for seven diminutive persons and that to take charge of a single gentleman, however slovenly, would make a welcome change.

Prince Joey had little choice but to sharpen up, in these circumstances, but his maiden was buxom and comely, and picking up his own socks was not, after all, so very great a sacrifice.

Meanwhile, Prince Lance went on another wander through the forest and came upon the tower with the increasingly desperate golden-haired maiden trapped inside it. Intrepid, and perhaps a little foolhardy, Prince Lance was more than happy to scale the tower with the aid of the trapped princess's rope of hair, and as he never travelled anywhere without his grooming kit, was able to snip off most of the hair and fashion from it a sensible rope-ladder which allowed them both to escape from the tower forthwith. Saying "You're welcome," to the affectingly grateful princess, he continued with his exploration of the forest.

On his travels, Prince Lance soon heard tell of another unattainable maiden, who apparently was eternally asleep in a tower behind an unbroachable bramble forest, and it seemed to him that perhaps his quest for his true love lay on that thorny path—unattainable maidens being just his type—so he set off to discover her. He found, somewhat to his surprise, that there was another prince on the same errand, and the two of them decided to collaborate on the difficult task of getting through the forest. The task was arduous indeed, and required much unprincely exertion. So exhausted were the two princes that whey they at last broke through the last of the brambled barrier, they collapsed onto the ground and removed several of their sweaty garments in order to cool themselves.

After recovering from their exertions it did not take so very long to locate the slumbering princess. However, neither Prince Lance nor Prince Joshua felt any particular urge to kiss her into wakefulness. Instead, they retreated together the way they had come, and lived happily ever after.

Prince Christopher had, as it happened, also continued on his walk through the forest until he, too, arrived at the brambled hedge. Being of a curious habit, he followed the carefully made path through the brambles and eventually encountered the slumbering princess. Uncertain as to what to do with a sleeping lady, he sat guard for a while, chatting nonchalantly to her as she dreamed, but eventually decided he had better go home and, perhaps, mention the girl with the long, long golden hair to Prince Justin, whose quest for the perfect princess had become somewhat notorious throughout the land. So, saying farewell, Prince Christopher kissed the sleeping princess. She promptly woke up and invited him to make himself comfortable at her side. This being about the easiest courtship of his life, he accepted, and somewhat to his surprise lived happily ever after.

Prince Justin, meanwhile, still had not made the acquaintance of a princess of suitable quality. His mother—possibly despairing of ever finding a mate acceptable to her son—threw a ball to which all the beautiful maidens of the land were invited. Prince Justin subsequently engaged upon a rather unusual quest involving a shoe. The lovely, golden-haired owner of the vitreous pump, who had been living imprisoned in a tower and had not had the opportunity to discover the impracticality of footwear made of glass until she attended the ball, was at once invited to his castle, where his mother had prepared for her a bed consisting of twenty-seven mattresses, under the bottommost of which had been hidden a pea. The maiden having passed this test by emerging next morning complaining that the mattress had been uncomfortably lumpy, she was then offered the opportunity to spin straw into gold.

Prince Justin is, as yet, unmarried.


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