The Prince of Small Intellect

  Once upon a time there lived a princess and a prince. The princess had an enormous brain—not in size, exactly, but rather in intellect—and she lived in a castle.  The prince, however, lived in a far distant land in an ensorcelled castle and had a brain the size of a pea—not in size, thank heavens, but in the amount of information it was capable of containing.  While the princess spent her days thinking, the prince gave no time to thinking at all.  If the princess was prone to feats of reason and grave intellectual debate, the prince was unaware that such things were possible.
  The princess spent her days among the finest scholars in all her land, writing treatises and grave moral thoughts, and ruling with careful well-reasoned judgement according to the ancient principles of justice.  The prince, on the other hand, spent his days wandering the garden within the ensorcelled castle, talking to mice, and putting bits of sticks and grass in his mouth to see if they were cheese.

  One day the prince’s family decided they were tired of the prince living in the castle, but as it was enchanted by a grave spell that only a princess who fell in love with him could break, they were at pains to do anything about it.  And so they decided to issue a reward for his rescue.  It had to be a rather sizable reward—half their kingdom and their wealth (of which rather a lot of it was made up of jewels)—for the prince was very stupid.

   The princess heard tell of the ensorcelled prince and—most particularly—of the reward.  She knew that such a reward would bring an influx of assistance to her people, and was not something to be merely tossed aside.  While she doubted whether she could fall in love with such a person, she knew, for the sake of her kingdom, that she had to try.

  The problem with ensorcelled castles is that it is impossible to get inside them before one breaks the spell.  Thus, the only thing the princess could do was watch the prince as he strolled about his garden.  It wasn’t long before the princess had every desire to pack it in and go home, for it was clear to her that this prince was an idiot.  However, the size of the reward was too high, and she knew that suffering could lead to perseverance which could better develop her character, so she stayed.

  She watched the prince every day, talking to mice and birds, bats and rats, and all the creatures that had been trapped within the castle garden.  She watched him listen to their squeaks and squawks, and saw him respond in kind.  One day the prince looked quite distressed while bending over one of his furry friends.  As the princess narrowed her eyes and leaned forward to see better, pressing her brow against the invisible barrier that kept her out, she saw that the prince was bandaging the leg of a tiny bird, with grave patience and intense concentration as though it were the hardest thing he had ever done.

  Suddenly, the barrier broke, and the princess tumbled forward into the castle garden.  The prince had heard the sound, but as his brain was too small to trigger any kind of survival instinct, he finished binding the creature’s leg.  When he looked up, he saw a princess standing in his garden.  As is often the case with princes, it was love at first sight.  And since the princess had already felt some sparks of love, that was fine by her.

   And they went off to her castle, both richer in heart and material goods, where she ruled justly and wisely and he ruled with compassion, and their kingdom was a happy one.

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