By Doc Walton
And they lived happily ever after.
If by ever after I mean about a year.
You see the thing is kids, and you might as well learn this now, Princes on the whole are not really a settle down and live happily ever after kind of royalty. At least not the young ones. They are generally handsome, they are generally rich and they are for the most part a fun loving bunch of fellows. And seriously, why wouldn't they be? Given that handsome and rich part there is not much in the way of fun that isn't available to them.
Take the case of Prince Charming for example. You all know Prince Charming. He's the one that went in search of the foot that fit the glass slipper Cinderella left at the ball. He finds it, of course, with Cinderella attached and bibbety bobbety boo off they go to live happily ever after…end of story. Well that's what they would like you to believe kids; they being the writers of happy endings. What really happened is a whole nother story. Who here wants to hear it?
Everybody? Alrighty then, I can't give you all the gritty details because you are too young for that, but I'll give you the story in short and you can fill in the rest when you are older.
Cinderella - let's call her Cindy - was in fact a beautiful young woman, especially so when her fairy godmother was seeing to her, but no eye sore the rest of the time either. For awhile this was enough to keep the prince interested. He was particularly enchanted by Cindy's lovely little feet which was, after all, why he had hunted her down in the first place. He would spend time every day caressing, fondling and kissing them. Cindy, for her part was still flummoxed and bewildered that she was there in the palace for real, so whatever the prince wanted to do was okay by her. She did, though, secretly wish the prince would move along to other, er, ah, entertainments a bit faster. Let’s call it dancing. The prince was a pretty good… dancer. Months go by and Charming’s foot fetish wanes some and the difference between his upbringing and Cindy's becomes more and more apparent. He has been highly educated and she barely. I mean they can only dance for so long and then talking is usually required. It turns out they have little in common to talk about. The prince rattles on about history, foreign lands and politics, boring Cindy half to death, because what she wants to talk about is the terrible mistreatment she had undergone at the hands of her step family. Neither one is interested in the other's day to day chatter and what with that foot thing occurring less and less often, the prince decides that riding about the countryside is more fun than hanging around the house. Cindy for the most part doesn’t miss him. She simply reverts to old habits and spends her days cleaning tapestries and polishing the armor of knights long past that are assembled upright in corners here and there about the castle. She has lots of pretty clothes and although it is not a great life, she thinks, it is better than her old one.
And this, children, is where the story takes a turn.
Bored Prince Charming is out riding one day in a part of the forest that was surprisingly new to him. He thought he was familiar with every rock and tree but here was a part of the woods he hadn’t seen before. What he didn’t know was he had wandered into an enchanted glade where a beautiful princess had been cursed by an evil witch and now lay asleep unable to wake for a hundred years unless kissed by a handsome prince. Curses in those days had to have an antidote and the witch had figured that finding a handsome prince and getting kissed…well, you know, what were the odds?
Charming wanders around in the magical glade delighted by the birds chirping and flitting about, the squirrels winding themselves around trees, bunnies hopping about and unicorns grazing on the plush forest floor, all the things anyone could ever expect in an enchanted setting and here it was in Technicolor, which as you know kids, is better than real color. A beam of light beyond a near stand of trees catches the prince’s attention and he wanders over to see what’s what. There on a bed floating slightly above the ground lies the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. The prince dismounts and kneels beside her. After gently shaking her shoulder and urging her to awaken he realizes the woman is in some sort of coma. He decides he needs to ride back to the palace and get help, but before departing he plants a deep, serious kiss on the woman’s lips. He figures why not. After she wakes up she might not like him, so this may be his only chance. He also notes that she has really nice feet. What he doesn’t know, kids, is that the princess was dreaming in the moment before the prince kissed her and what with her being in her late teens and all those crazy hormones that wash over a person of that age, her dream had taken a quite erotic turn. I’ll explain what hormones are later. Erotic too. She awakes to the prince’s kiss and kisses him back with a passion he had never experienced before. This kissing part goes on for awhile and then what ensues after that is a serious episode of what I will call shenanigans. Don’t raise your hands all at once, I will explain shenanigans at some later date when you are older… much older. What you need to know for now is the prince and the princess agree to meet on a regular basis there in the enchanted forest until they can figure out what to do with the prince’s principal problem. You know her as Cinderella.
Well this carrying on carries on for a couple of months until our Wide Awake Beauty declares she is tired of living in the woods even if they are enchanted and she doesn’t lack for comforts. She wants a roof over her head and a castle to princess about in. She has learned all about Cinderella and she wants the prince to make up his fickle mind.
Charming, for his part, is getting a little tired of trekking into the woods each day to attend to his paramour, that’s girlfriend to you, kids, whose name by the way, is Aurora, so he sneaks her into the palace. Oh, and here’s another by the way, a palace is actually just a fancy castle. He takes her to a wing of the building far removed from where Cindy mostly hangs out. It is, I hafta tell ya, a really big castle.
This new situation suits the prince for a couple of weeks, but in truth he grows somewhat tired of slipping about and making excuses for his absences. He declares to both women that he has to go away for awhile on tax collecting business. The upkeep of a castle requires some funding, he tells them, but he will return shortly. The fact of the matter is the prince is loaded and doesn’t need money, but it is the best excuse he can come up with that will get him out of the castle without having to take one or both of the ladies with him. Tax collecting, everybody knows, is dangerous work.
He wanders alone deep into the woods, far deeper than he has ever gone before and one day, when he is nearing what he thinks should be a turn-around point, his steed crests a hill and the prince finds himself looking over a spectacular valley. He sees on the far side of this splendid basin a cottage nestled among a grove of trees. As he watches, seven little men exit the cottage in single file all carrying one sort of digging tool or another. They disappear whistling into the trees to the left of the cottage and the prince notes that as they do a lovely looking woman appears at the cottage door and waves them a cheerful goodbye.
What happens next, kids, is what we now have come to expect, but not precisely in the manner expected. The prince rides down to the cottage and introduces himself to Snow White, who it turns out, has been hiding with the dwarves for fear of an evil step mother who wants her dead. Step mothers, you should know, children, are not all evil, just the ones in fairy tales and probably yours if you have one. The prince is invited in for tea and what with Snow being another extraordinary beauty one thing leads to another. All right, all right, I’ll explain.
You see, Snow had also reached an age where romance is generally desired and although each of the seven dwarves had made their advances, she couldn’t actually settle with one and break the other’s hearts. Besides that she had her own idea of what a suitor should look like and it was here that tall, dark and handsome factored in. The prince fit THAT bill exactly. Seduction ensued. Okay, okay! It means she put the moves on the prince and, of course, horn dog that he was, he caved right in. Before the day was out and the dwarves returned Snow and the prince were riding off together, hell bent…I mean heck bent for the castle. Things were about to get complicated.
Like I said kids, it was a very big castle. Snow White was tucked into yet another wing far removed from the others. The prince merrily returned to his bed hopping ways.
What? Oh yeah, that means he didn’t always sleep in the same bed. Hey come on kids, he was a prince. Who cares if he had weird sleeping habits?
Anyway, just like before, he quickly grew tired of this arrangement. But this time, unlike before, he decided to not ride out but simply bring the women together and select once and for all which one should be his true princess.
Well, you can imagine how that went. First the ladies got after each other like alley cats over a fish bone, each declaring they were Charming’s one real love. Eventually, though, they calmed down as this was getting them nowhere and it became clear to all three the decision was really the prince’s to make. They gathered ‘round him ominously and demanded he choose choose CHOOSE!
But the stubborn and spoiled prince wouldn’t do it. He would not commit to one princess and one only and let the others go. He was, like I told you at the beginning, accustomed to privilege and here were three ungrateful ladies – as he saw it - who he had rescued from dire circumstances now trying to tell him he couldn’t do exactly as he wanted. He was getting riled and somewhat miffed. What’s that you ask? Oh, sure. Miffed means just a little short of angry. The prince turns his back to the more than miffed princess wannabes and walks to the nearest castle window. It is there that he sees something that clears his head and makes him decide what he truly wants to do.
“Guards” he cries out! “Guards!” And faster than you can say Rumplestillskin six armed men enter the room. “Take these women to the tower,” he commands, “I don’t want to see them again.”
The stunned ladies are escorted out while the prince hollers after the guards. “Put them in Repuzel’s old room. And make sure they keep their hair cut.”
The prince returns to the window just in time to see the young woman he had spied a moment ago disappear into the forest. She’s carrying a basket and is dressed in a bright red, hooded cloak. Hmm, he thinks. I do believe it is time for me to ride out again.
“Guards,” he shouts anew. “Ready my horse.”
And that, kids, is the whole story.
The prince follows - I guess you could say stalks if you want to be accurate, kids - Little Red Riding Hood for a couple of days and learns the location of her grandmother’s cabin. He thinks it would be a great idea to go there, charm the grandmother and thus smooth the way to getting the girl. He arrives at the cabin on an overcast, gray sort of day about an hour before Red Riding Hood is expected. He figures that is enough time to get all his charming done. When he opens the door he finds it is quite dark inside. There are no lanterns and what with the day being dark, there is no light coming through the windows. He can barely see Hood’s grandmother across the room. She is sitting in a rocking chair. From what he can tell at that distance, she has large eyes, pointy ears and, when she smiles, quite large teeth.
“Hi there Good Looking,” he says to her in his best oily voice. “I’m Prince Charming from the castle beyond the woods. Mind if I come in?”
“Please do” says the grandma. “And come closer, I can barely see you.”
Doc Walton October 2014