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A man of his thirties, the imperial son had recently been commanded to choose an acceptable bride who could bear an appropriate heir to the throne.
Envious and obsessed, the conjurer brewed a potion to shield her paramour from being considered the land's most eligible bachelor. To all else he appeared a loathsome toad, yet beneath her gaze he retained his normal aspect. They continued to rendezvous and exchange vows of devotion.
The queen was afraid her son would never induce a nobleman's daughter to marry a hideous amphibious creature. The guy was no Prince Charming before the spell was cast. His personality lacked charisma. His eye lacked sparkle. And now he was a lowly lumpen leaping thing -- how terribly appalling!
The monarchy was in an uproar. A circus of physicians summoned from every continent prescribed every sundry cure imaginable. The prince was tested, poked and prodded, jabbed and stabbed, hypnotized, X-rayed, gamma-rayed, acupunctured, leeched, transfused, injected, bandaged, rattled and chanted over, mud-packed, microscoped, stethoscoped, telescoped, even gyroscoped. Nothing helped his unsavory size, appeal, or skin condition.
The castle advisors, at their wits' end, paced frantically chattering about dwindling options. The queen was in a dither, an absolute frenzy, piping orders, screeching, desperate for answers.
"A kiss!" cited the sovereign abruptly.
Activity ceased. Chaos subdued. Ears strained, praying for a repetition. Nobody cared to divulge having not apprehended the royal utterance.
"A kiss should reverse the curse!" the queen declared. And fired a few advisors for failing to suggest it first.
Alas, no promise of betrothal or riches could entice a damsel of breeding to perform the task. Ostensibly the prince would be stuck a toad the rest of his days.
Hopping a forest trail, gallivanting toward the witch's shack, he came upon our innocent maid enjoying a rare and tranquil interval.
She jolted at his clumsy approach, the snap of twigs, the stir of brush. An unassuming figure hove into sight, bounced to the middle of her glade and spoiled the moment. "Oh!" she cried, a delicate hand to her throat. "Are you alone, or with an unruly mob of calmness crashers?"
"It is only Myself," the truncated heir replied, haughtily drawing himself to full height (which wasn't a lot). "Is that not sufficient?" He was touchy on the subject of his unprincely guise.
"Yes, I quite guess it is," remarked Lady Di, "for I value my peace and am hardly fond of a crowd, especially a noisy herd of doting fawners. I respect them as individuals, but together they can fray my nerves. Is there such a thing as too much love? I'm beginning to think so. A slight bit of company might be nice."
"Pity, I can't stay. I have another engagement," the toad contended, miffed that no gaggles of gawpers chased him.
"Do you? I am sorry to be presumptuous!" exclaimed the divine miss.
"Very well, you are excused," the toad decreed.