sasha pivovarova paolo roversi
Princes are very rarely like those that appear in fairytales. On paper Dante was the ideal husband. Wealthy, handsome, perhaps even intelligent. His personality, on the other hand, left a good deal to be desired. The princesses he met didn’t bother getting to know him and quite honestly he was only after one thing (a wife). As the only heir to the throne it was crucial he carry on his lineage. In truth he didn’t want to marry. At least he didn’t want to marry so soon. He was only 21 and he still believed in love (he loved himself a good deal at least).
The prince’s ideal wife
She must be beautiful with a waist no larger than her thigh. She must have a good singing voice. She must be able to talk to animals. She must make sandwiches. She must be able to ride a horse bareback. She must do precisely as I tell her. She must be constantly in peril. Yes the prince wanted a bonafide Disney princess. Oddly no matter where he looked Dante could find no such woman. Most of the princesses he met were practical. He was rich, they liked expensive clothes case closed.
Dante’s father King Renault sent for the oracle. The oracle presented the young prince with a plain girl, a blind princess living in a collapsing kingdom. A princess who had no suitors and from the looks of it no real inclination toward marriage. “Do you jest oracle? Have you seen me? I can do much better than that…try again…” The prince said, his smile smug.
“The oracle has spoken….I will send for the girl at once…” The king announced. He did not care what the girl looked like so long as she had a kind heart. Though long dead, his own wife, had been a remarkable woman and he wanted his son to know such joy.
“Do not send for her….I will find a wife…just give me a little more time…” The prince’s face was earnest, his father relented.
The prince fell into his old womanizing ways no sooner than he left the oracle. He still had plenty of time to find a wife. His father, though old, was reasonably healthy. Their kingdom was flourishing. He was handsome and of noble birth any woman would be lucky to have him.
As it so happens the prince soon found a wife only she belonged to someone else. The man for whom she did belong was jealous and though he warned the young noble on a numerous occasions the prince could not be dissuaded. The two men fought violently and though the prince was well-trained he was no match for a solider with real-life battle experience. To say that Dante lost would have been an understatement. He was nearly killed and his once handsome face was scarred beyond recognition.
Despite his wealth the princesses were frightened away by his grotesque appearance. That he’d been beaten by a lowly solider put into question his competence as a future king and no father was willing to commit their daughter to such an uncertain fate. Suddenly his courts were empty. Even the servant girls who’d admired him at a distance had lost interest.
“There is still hope let me send for the princess the oracle spoke of…” The king said for now his health was not so good and he was beginning to worry over the fate of his kingdom. “I do not deserve that girl or any other…I must first become a man….send me to war…” King Renault reflected long and hard on his son’s words but he could not risk the prince’s death.
“I will send you to the temple…live as the monks do….train with them and then if you still want to go to battle I will send you….”
The prince agreed to the arrangement though he underestimated the hardship greatly. He expected special treatment but even his rank did not afford it. He was made to shave his head, to dress as a monk, to eat nothing but rice and vegetables in meager portions, to sleep on a thin straw mat, to pray for hours, and to train until he could no longer move. Despite his complaints he never sent a letter to his father begging release. By the end of his first year his father came to visit. King Renault was astonished by the change but his son would not return home. The second year he came the young noble requested permission to exchange letters with the princess. Though it was forbidden for monks to have contact with women they allowed him this exception for the sake of the kingdom.
For the next few years he exchanged letters with the blind princess. Who he found was nothing at all like the other princesses he knew. Their letters were chaste. They spoke of their lives, their feelings, they composed simple seasonal poems to one another, and bit by bit the prince opened up to the girl. He told the princess about his scars and how he’d acquired them. He even told her about the oracle and she told him that the oracle had been to see her father as well. If he was scarred as he described than they were to be married.
The prince left the monastery after five years. Shortly after he and the princess were wed. The princess was stubborn and self-reliant. She made sandwiches just as he liked them but she did not do as he said. She could in fact ride a horse bareback but she could not sing. She talked a good deal (to animals, people, shrubberies and everything inbetween) and he found her most interesting (though sometimes infuriating). Most importantly she had a kind heart.
I’m afraid I’m not very good at Fairytales. Finding a plain princess was impossible so I just went with a photo where you can’t see the face.