The Prince of Plenty©

There once lived a king who had only one son, a very spoiled and greedy prince. Though the prince had been given everything, he always wanted more. He owned several palaces, the best horses in the land, and the finest golden carriages to take him anywhere he wished. What the prince wanted most of all was to be king. And his father had promised to crown him king on the day he married. However, all of the princesses who came to meet the prince were not beautiful enough for him. He told his father he was going to find a maiden worthy of the word beauty. “After all,” he said, “there isn’t anything I wish for that I can’t have.”

“What would such a young beauty look like?” asked the king.

The prince replied, “I have a picture of her in my mind. I will draw her face and then search the land for the girl who matches the picture. She will be the beauty of all beauties.”

He gathered brushes and painting materials and tried to draw the face of the beauty he had in mind. But he could not draw well and the face he drew was ugly. So he decided to call all the artists in the kingdom. He had them draw beautiful faces until one matched the face he imagined. “This is it!” he shouted with excitement. “This is the beauty I have wished for. She will be my queen.”

He called for his carriage and began his journey throughout the kingdom. Crowds of young maidens in each village stood in line to be judged by the prince. But none seemed to match. As time passed, the prince became angry. He began to insult the young maidens who came before him. “Not you, ugly duckling. Get out of my sight,” he shouted. And the poor, dejected girls went away sobbing.

But something strange was soon to happen. A wicked sorceress was in the nearby crowd. Her face was covered with a dark veil, so no one noticed her. She moved closer to the picture. Then, staring at the image, she used her magic powers to make her own face like that of the girl in the picture. She then lifted her veil and stepped before the prince. The prince jumped up in excitement and shouted, “It’s she! It’s she! My wish has come true. This beautiful maiden shall be my queen.”

Though the sorceress was still dressed in tattered old clothes, the prince returned with her to the castle. Upon arriving, he had the servants and the ladies-in-waiting dress her in royal clothing so that she would be presentable to meet the king. Before the meeting, the king questioned the prince about her. “Have you met her parents?” he asked.

“No, not yet,” replied the prince.

“Do you know anything about her?” he asked.

“I know she is beautiful. Nothing else matters,” responded the prince.

“Very well,” said the king. “We will set the date for your marriage and your coronation as king.”

Soon the wedding day arrived. Crowds of people gathered both inside and outside the castle for the great event. The future queen arrived in a golden carriage and was escorted up the aisle to the king’s throne. Everyone applauded her beauty and the splendor of her glittering wedding gown. The prince met her at the end of the aisle, and the ceremony began. After making their vows to love one another till death do them part, they kissed.

The crowd cheered, and the king stepped forward to crown his son as the new king. He placed the crown on the prince’s head and congratulated him.

It was now the prince’s duty, as king, to crown his new queen. He took the jeweled crown in his hands and slowly placed it upon his bride’s head. But some unknown force surrounding the royal crown suddenly broke her magic spell. A puff of white smoke came billowing from under the crown. The crowd became frightened. So did the prince. As the smoke began to swirl around the queen, she began laughing hysterically. The smoke cleared, revealing her face, which had changed back to that of a wicked sorceress. She then screamed, “Hear me all, you poor and rich––your greedy prince has married a witch! Ha … ha … ha … ha.” She then jumped on the throne to claim her seat as queen.

The prince was horror-stricken. He staggered around in a daze, and then fell to the floor, wishing he had never made such a terrifying wish.

Beware what you wish for out of greed;
It could bring a nightmare you don't need.