09 May The Princesses
The Princesses is a folktale told to teach about humility, the challenges of privilege, and the cost of pride.
A long time ago, a very wealthy king had three daughters. These girls were very beautiful. They had the prettiest smile, but their characters were sometimes questionable. This could be because they had everything they wanted. Their father was very rich and ensured that all they ever needed was given to them on a silver platter. They never had to work a day in their lives. They didn’t even know how to cook a proper meal.
As they grew up and became ripe for marriage, none got a husband. This became a source of great worry for their father, and every night, he would always convey his concerns to his wife.
“Honey, what are we going to do about our daughters? They are very ripe for marriage, yet none of them is married or even has a potential suitor. What will we do about this matter?” the king asked.
“My love, you need to calm down. Our princesses are not that old. And besides, they are very beautiful. It is just a matter of time before suitors start roaming around them,” she said.
“Okay. If you say so. I won’t bother myself about this that much.” The king lied to make his queen happy, but deep down, he knew he would keep worrying about his princesses.
“Whatever the case, I want my princesses to be happily married.’ His wife said.
“I want the same thing for them, my dear,” the king responded, and they went to sleep.
Amid everything, the princesses were not bothered about their situation.
“I want to marry the richest man alive,” the oldest princess said.
“I want to marry the most handsome man,” said the second princess.
“I want to marry a king just like my father. The man must be the most powerful and richest man to walk the earth. Oh! How much I will enjoy ruling his empire with him. I will make such a beautiful queen.” the youngest princess said.
Months passed, and the princesses still didn’t get married. This became a source of great worry for the king. He was so worried that he finally made a decision, and he told his wife about it.
“I have decided that I will have to find men who would take good care of my daughters to marry them. I cannot stand by and watch them grow old without a husband or a child.”
The queen knew that the king’s word was final, so she didn’t object. Instead, she said, “Do whatever you want, but I will not allow my princess to marry anyone that cannot tell their names. If the man can tell their names, I will know he is the wisest man in the entire world, and I will give my daughters to such a man.”
The king listened to everything that his wife said and decided that he would work with her plan. So the next day, he called the town crier and told him to announce that the king would let his princesses marry the wisest men in the kingdom. These men would be considered wise if they can tell him his princesses’ names.
Now, this was a very difficult thing to accomplish because since the princesses were born, no one knew their names. The king and everyone in the palace always addressed them as ‘my princesses,’ so it was difficult to know their names. However, this didn’t deter people from going to try their luck.
The rich and famous were the first to go to the palace to seek the princesses’ hands in marriage. They went bearing expensive gifts and with charming smiles hoping that the king would be persuaded to give them his princesses in marriage, but the king didn’t budge. After they dropped their gifts, he would ask them, “So, what are my princesses’ names?” None of the rich and famous suitors that came were able to answer the question, so the king sent them on their way.
Soon all the eligible suitors in the entire kingdom had come to seek the princesses’ hands in marriage, yet none of them could tell the king their names. The princesses were not bothered by it because they believed that sooner than later, the man of their dreams would come and sweep them off their feet.
Then one day, Tortoise decided to try his luck, but he didn’t depend on just luck. He wanted to know the princesses’ names, so he started following them around. Tortoise followed the princesses for weeks, hoping that he would hear them mention their names; one day, luck smiled at him.
The princesses had gone to pick some apples on the outskirts of town. They were not so far away when the youngest princess saw a bike. Now, during this time, there was no source of transportation, so a bike was a sight to behold. The youngest princess, out of excitement, shouted and called the oldest and younger princesses by their names to witness the sight before her. The two princesses rushed to the scene, and they marvelled at the sight before them. They then started talking about the bike and called each other by name in their conversation. The Tortoise heard everything, and he went back home smiling.
The next day, he went to the palace to seek the princesses’ hands in marriage. The king asked him the same question he usually asked the other suitors that came. “So, what are my princesses’ names?”
The queen already had a sneer on her face when she saw Tortoise walking in, so she was very upset when he mentioned the names of all the princesses. Even the king was shocked, but his word had already gone forth, so he had to give his princesses to Tortoise in marriage. The princesses and the queen were very sad, but there was nothing that they could do.
So Tortoise took his wives home. On the way to his house, the princesses were so ashamed of themselves that they couldn’t get married to the men of their dreams, but rather, they had to settle for Tortoise. They decided it would be better to be alone and single than to be married, so when Tortoise was not looking, they ran away.
Since that day, no one saw the princesses ever again. The king and queen were extremely sad, but they couldn’t do anything about it. If the princesses and the queen knew, they wouldn’t have been so proud and arrogant in choosing a husband.
Never be too proud and arrogant in whatever you do.