The tale of the proud prince and the tall, fat girl.
Long ago and far away, to a Kingdom now lost for ever in the mists of time, there came a family of travelling tinkers.
They tried to find work, but with no money and no friends, they could not find a respectable position.
The people of the Kingdom were very proud. They were good people but they were proud. They had worked hard and acted with nobility and sensibility, but they were proud.
The tinker family had a daughter who, though blessed with a sense of humour and a beautiful smile, was often seen to frown. People would remark on it.
"That child of the tinkers has a lovely smile but it's always followed by a deep frown", they would say to their neighbours.
The daughter of the tinkers grew sad. She tried to laugh but always her frown returned. And was not as normal girls for she was tall and she was fat.
One summer day the tall, fat girl was sitting in the market place trying to sell the few possessions they had left: her father's eyeglasses, the cart on which they travelled and a bird in a cage. The beautiful bird was unhappy living in a cage and had long ceased to sing.
The tall, fat girl wished to set the bird free but her mother and father would not allow her to. For the bird was very rare and very beautiful, and the mother and father of the tall, fat girl said that the bird would make them all a lot of money.
"But the poor bird does not sing," cried the tall, fat girl.
"What use is money if she can no longer sing? What use is money,if she can no longer fly?". But her mother and father would not hear her pleas.
The tall, fat girl did not want the bird to be sold; for fear that she would remain forever in the cage and never sing, and never fly.
So the tall, fat girl decided she would await the right moment and then go into the forest and set the bird free. Then she would run away from her mother and father. As she sat in the market place she saw a beautiful chestnut horse approaching.
All the people stopped to look at the horse and at the young man who sat astride his beautiful, broad chestnut back. They smiled and waved at him, they called out to him, the men raised their hats and the women curtsied. He seemed to be a very popular young man.
"Who is that young man?" said the tall, fat girl to a man in the crowd.
"Do you not know, you tall, fat, ignorant girl?" replied the man in the crowd.
"Why, you silly child, he is the King's son. He is very virtuous and very clever but he is proud".
The tall, fat girl looked upon the King's proud son and fell in love.
"But what can I do?" she wailed. "He is the King's son; he could never love me in return."
The King's son did not look at anyone as he rode through the market place on his beautiful chestnut horse. He gazed ahead of him as if seeking his destiny on the horizon.The tall fat girl was sad and her frown returned.
"What can I do"? she wailed, wringing her hands. "Is he a good man, this Prince?" she asked the man in the crowd.
"Yes he is good, a good and noble man, but he is proud," replied the man in the crowd.
"His father the King has taught him to be proud, to do good deeds and give money to the poor but never to look at them. His father the King is so proud that the Prince must never be seen to look at anyone until a Princess can be found for him to marry. This Princess must be very worthy. But above all, she must not be tall."
The tall, fat girl thought deeply."This proud Prince is a good and noble man. If I give him the beautiful bird and ask him if she can live in the trees in the grounds of his castle,will he not see that this is a good and beautiful thing and will he then love me? I will tell him that she is a very beautiful bird who is worth a lot of money but that she does not sing.
And I will plead with him to let her live in the trees in the grounds of his castle so that one day she may sing again, and that one day she may even fly".
She followed the Prince and, as she was so tall and so fat, she reached the horse's head and she hid the sun from his eyes.
The Prince rode on, searching the horizon for his destiny. Suddenly the Princes' horse, frightened by the tall, fat girl and the beautiful bird, reared up in fright, throwing the Prince to the ground.
The tall, fat girl ran and cradled the Prince's head in her lap, after carefully resting the beautiful bird in its cage on the ground beside him.
After a few minutes the Prince opened his eyes and saw the girl's face. The face looked so beautiful against the sky with the sun behind it that he did not notice that the girl was so very tall and so very fat. For the first time in his life he looked upon someone and he smiled.
The tall, fat girl told him about the beautiful bird and begged the proud Prince to let her live in the trees in the grounds around his Palace. She showed him the beautiful bird in its cage and pleaded with him.
"If you do not, my father will make me sell her and she may never sing and she may never fly again," she pleaded, crying and wringing her hands.
The Prince agreed and took the bird to his palace. The girl followed him on foot for 60 leagues, never tiring because she loved him so.
At last they reached the palace and the Prince turned to look at the girl. He had been thinking what a beautiful soul she must have to want to free this beautiful bird and he was beginning to fall in love with her. But when he looked back he saw that she was tall and that she was fat.
"You must leave the Kingdom" he commanded her. "For you are too tall and fat for me to love, even though your soul may be as beautiful as the bird that is now free to live in the trees around my Palace grounds".
The tall, fat girl cried,
"But where can I go and what can I do? I have not sold the beautiful bird for money. I cannot return to my mother and father".
"I do not know" said the Prince. "But you are too tall and too fat and you must leave this place".
So the tall fat girl went to live in the marshes at the far, far end of the Kingdom. For many years she lived there under the protection of the Marsh Baron,who, though good and generous had a fearsome temper. The Marsh Baron would shout and he would roar, clenching his giant fists until them cracked like the bones of the damned.
He would not let the tall, fat girl leave the marshes, she must stay in the Marshland and she must cook, and clean the Baron's castle.
The tall, fat girl thought of the Prince and missed the beautiful bird so much that she could not eat. And she became thinner and thinner. But she could not make herself shorter.
"What can I do to win the proud Prince's love?" she raged to the open sky.
"I am not fat now but I am still too tall. He will not love me unless I can make myself shorter".
The tall girl set out, walking. She walked and she walked for she had come to believe that by walking the thousand leagues to the Princes' castle she would be shorter when she arrived there. The tall girl walked and walked and after many, many days she arrived at the Palace of the good but proud Prince.
A great crowd thronged the gates of the palace.
The tall girl, who to her great sadness had grown no shorter despite her walking, asked a woman in the crowd what the happening at the Palace.
"Why, you tall, silly, ignorant girl", said the woman "Do ye not know? The Prince is to marry a beautiful Princess today. He has searched and searched the Kingdom for someone who is beautiful and virtuous and, above all, is shorter than himself and at last he has found her"
The tall girl wailed and cried.
"I have walked a thousand leagues to see him. I have tried to grow shorter, I have tried".
She resolved to ask the proud Prince to set the bird free so that she could go with her, for she knew she would die inside without her.
"If you will not love me because I am too tall, please let me take the beautiful bird with me and I will go, oh proud and noble Prince, she pleaded.
The Prince was moved by her pleas and took the tall girl to the tree where sat the beautiful bird, singing. But the proud Prince did not want to let the beautiful bird go, for he had grown to love her.
"I do not know if the beautiful bird will go with you, oh still too tall girl. said the Prince. "For she has lived so long flying from tree to tree in the grounds of my palace that she has learned to sing again."
The tall girl looked at the bird, which looked back at her, still singing.
"Oh beautiful bird" said the tall girl. "Do you remember me?"
"I am still too tall but I am not fat any more. Oh please say you remember me, because it was I who set you free to live in the gardens of the Princes Palace"
The bird flew onto the tall girl's shoulder, believing her to be another tree. The girl walked away from the Palace with the bird on her shoulder.
And it is said that the tall girl and the beautiful bird can still be seen on the horizon, walking, walking, and walking.
And it is said that the beautiful bird flies around the tall girl's head and brings her berries and flowers.
And it is said that now they both sing.
ends Marguerite Hegley
This was based on a real experience. I thought it would be interesting to put it into the language of the Fairy Tale.