The Princess' Baker, A Tale From Gadaene

By FlyingMonkey

[Although almost unheard of in Iridine, 'The Princess' Baker' is a widespread fable in Gadaene. It's origin is unknown, but it has been passed down orally by storytellers for at least two hundred years. Karimous was an Iridine-born scholar who was fascinated with the unique, playful culture of the Gadaene travellers who came to the capitol of the Republic. He produced a book entitled, "Tales From Gadaene", which was a compilation of his own translations of the stories he collected. The version presented here is from his book.]

Many generations ago, when the hills and fields of Gadaene were split among several different kings, there lived a princess named Forcynthia. Forcynthia spent her days riding her horses, tending her garden, or exploring the seaside, but never gave any attention to the scores of royal suitors with eyes set on her heart. They tried coaxing her with jewelry, impressing her with monsters slain, and seducing her with song, but she disarmed them all with a turn of her head.

Her father, the King, was worried that his daughter would never marry, but showed it only with occasional discouraging remarks, such as, "Your horses may keep you company now, but when you're an old maid, you'll wish you had found a husband while you were still young." However, when she reached the age of twenty-one years, the King had lost all patience. On the eve of her birthday, he demanded that she go into town the next day to see three princes who had just arrived, and choose one of them to be her husband. Forcynthia was very upset but also a little frighted of her father's uncharacteristic anger, so she agreed to go, thinking there could be no harm in at least seeing them.

The next morning, she rode her finest horse into town. The Princes had been expecting her and were waiting at the town square, each with his own gift to give her: a fine satin dress, an assortment of exotic perfumes, and a silver locket set with many tiny emeralds. Forcynthia dismouted when she neared them; right into a mud puddle! Mud was splashed all over her plain white dress. She asked the three Princes if any of them had a rag, but all were at a loss at what to do. Etiquette provided them no solutions pertaining to the situation. Surely they could not embarass themselves by using they're own rich cloaks. Finally, the Princess looked up and saw a young peasant watching. Without a word, he offered her the rag dangling from the ties of his apron.

However, her eyes lingered longer than neccessary. To her amazement, she saw much that admired in the simple youth: unexpecting kindness, humility, and deep appreciation for all the things around him. She accepted the rag and smiled at him. When he smiled back, her heart was set. "Who are you?" she asked gently. Evenly, he answered, "I am Tobby. Apprentice of the village baker." "Tobby, do you like horses?" "I've never ridden a horse, my lady." "Would you like to rid with me?" "I'd love to."

And without any more ceremony, the pair hopped onto the horse and rode away. The Princes called after her, and one even pursued them, but soon got lost in the unfamilair realm. When they returned to the castle, the King became quite flustered upon seeing the man his daughter had returned with. He wore black cloth boots and a plain tunic, and his linen leggings were in poor condition. Immediatly he questioned Tobby: "Are you a prince?" "Yes, in my own domain, I am a prince." "Are you wealthy?" "I am rich in many ways, sir." "Then why are you dressed like that?" "I already have many things that make me happy. Dress no longer concerns me."

The King was impressed, and so he gave the two his blessings. Tobby and Forcynthia's love grew rapidly over the next few days as they wandered the country and rode horses together. Eventually the two were wed, and the teary-eyed king bade his daughter goodbye for the last time as they left him to go and live in Tobby's kingdom. And so they lived happily ever after in a small cottage by the sea not two kilometres away from the castle.

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