This is a fairy tale.
And like any other tale, it begins with a once upon a time.
Once upon a time, there was a young prince like no other. He grew up to be a fine man though nothing really exceptional. His hair and eyes black as night, his skin as fine as any wood. He stands like a sentinel in battle and speaks like a politician in pew.
“I never really believed in fairy tales, sire, if you asked me. “
“But I came from a fairy tale, and you won’t believe in me?”
“That is neither here nor there.”
One day he heard of a famine brought about by a raging dragon, so destructing that he sets out in a journey not knowing how and why, though one thing is sure - he will fight the devil.
So he left the confines of his castle, rides his horse with his sword on the waist, and trails the treacherous road to the realms of the unknown.
“You mean you don’t believe me to be a prince?”
“Pardon my uncertainties but you don’t look like one.”
“It seems to me that you have turned yourself into a stereotype.”
On his way, he saw a few people. He met his fellow princes. While some are vengeful, others prove to be frauds. Soon he surrounds himself with friends. A noble, a priest, a virgin, a whore, a thief, a clown and a piper, to name a few. And all they set together to find dragons of their own to slay.
And then the prince chokes on the apple.
“I see no favor in dressing in capes and proclaiming I’m noble.”
“And yet I must look clean and well so the town’s people won’t suspect.”
“Well, you may pass on being a beautiful stereotype but my conscience won’t allow it.”
The prince slept for years. While he is aware of himself, he is neither dreaming nor awake.
And then at one fine day, he spits the apple chunk and rises from the crypt. He picks up his sword, joins his joyful friends and sets out again to find the dragon to slay.
“If only one could agree for a dragon-bait, it must be well.”
“And I goddamn refuse. I am as capable of rescuing you as you are of rescuing me. I’m an outlaw, not a hero. We’re our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.”
Once upon a time, there was a young prince. But the story does not end with a princess on his side, or even with another prince, or with a kiss or in a happily ever after.
In fact, it doesn’t end at all.
with lines from Tom Robbins