Once upon a time there was a prince and he was the fifth of his brothers, which meant that he would never inherit anything if he did not marry rich. But the princesses around where he lived also wanted to marry rich, so they preferred his brothers to him. The prince was neither very handsome nor very intelligent. He was just ambitious.
So he travelled far and long until he came to the golden gates of a wealthy kingdom. He came before the king and queen, who were very old and had only one daughter.
She was ugly and old and bitter but decked in gold and jewels. When the prince saw this, he fell to his knees and declared his undying love for her. In reality it was the jewels and riches he was in love with.
Her father agreed to have them married under one condition: the prince had to lose his eye sight.
The prince thought long and hard but in the end his greed won. He thought to himself ‘She is so ugly, it’s better I don’t see her every day.’
And thus his eyes were blinded with poison and the wedding commenced. Once the vows had been said and the rings exchanged, he reluctantly leaned forward for their first kiss.
He was surprised to find her lips full and warm and soft. They hadn’t looked so inviting! And her smell was that of a fresh spring garden. He could feel the heat radiating from his bride and wondered if she was blushing.
That night he was still not looking forward to.
His bride would be skinny like a stick, without curves. Her skin rough and wrinkled. But he knew there was no way out of it. So when he entered the chamber and sat on the bed, he took a deep breath and then leaned forward for another kiss.
To his own surprise it was as delightful as the first. Soft and warm and welcoming. And it was the perfect way to describe the whole following night. The prince was surprised beyond his imagination. He had thought this would be an arduous task, as he remembered the princess to be ugly and the very opposite of charming. He realised that night, that all the jewels and all the gold of the world could not have bought him joy. Her riches he would give away in an instant for a wife, who was as willing and welcoming as this. But what happy coincidence that he must not give away riches or be denied happiness. He could have a happy life and be prosperous!
Sleeping in the arms of the other, the next day came as a complete shock. When had he fallen asleep? But the morning was dawning in fresh delight and the birds were chirping happily. Moody, as he was no morning person, he turned his back to the window, showing the rising sun.
The rising sun! In one moment he was wide awake – he had his sight back! Excited to share his news, he turned to his lover and to his utter confusion it was not the crown princess sleeping in his arms, but her poor lady maid. Beautiful as imaginable but poor without a penny.
And then he realised that the king had never married his daughter to him, but had given him a life lesson: That money isn’t everything.
For he would not exchange his fine young bride for any riches of the world.