As a child, the little princess had always been a handful for the king and queen. Once she turned eighteen, her parents decided that the best way to deal with her would be to find a suitable prince and to marry her off. “Let her be someone else’s problem,” her father, the king, lamented.
And so the king and queen sent the word out far and wide that they were seeking a suitable suitor for their daughter’s hand. She was, after all, royalty, and along with her came a royalty-sized dowry.
The princess, eager to get out from under the clutches of her controlling parents, welcomed the opportunity to be swept off of her feet by some charming prince from an exotic land far away. But as time went by, she was introduced to no potential suitors and grew quite impatient.
On her twenty-first birthday, the princess confronted her parents. “It’s been three years and you have yet to introduce me to a single suitor. Surely at least a few have been suitable.”
“We are looking for a young man of high moral character, integrity, honesty, who is pure of heart, and who possesses a strong and sense of responsibility. Only then can we determine who is worthy to be your husband,” the king explained. “But none of the potential suitors have met our requirements.”
“But how do you know these things after only one interview?” the princess asked.
“We have our ways,” the queen said. “You must trust us, daughter.”
The frustrated princess stomped off to her room and sat on her bed crying hysterically. Her lady in waiting came into the room and tried to comfort the anguished princess. The princess explained why she was so upset. “I probably shouldn’t tell you this,” the lady in waiting said, “but the king and queen take each prospective suitor to a secret pond deep into the woods and they make the suitor gaze into the pond’s still waters. The mystical pond is supposed to have a mirror-like surface and when anyone looks into the pond, what is reflected back shows the person’s true nature.”
The princess was livid that her parents could be so stupid as to manage her fate by using some mythological pond to screen potential suitors. The next morning, the king and queen were found dead in their bedroom, apparently the victim of poisoning. The princess was immediately crowned queen of the realm, and her first order of business was to be taken to this pond that could allegedly reveal the true nature of anyone who gazed upon its mirrored surface.
The knight of the queen’s guard reluctantly led her to the pond, but knowing the princess, he begged her not to look at her reflection in the pond water. She pushed him aside, stood at the edge of the pond, and looked down to see her reflection.
The new queen’s chilling screams could be heard for miles around.
Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.