By Valerie L. Egar
When it came time for Princess Regina to marry, she discussed the matter with the King and Queen. Together they decided her husband didn’t need to be a prince or handsome as a movie star. He didn’t need to have enough gold to buy the princess diamonds. Someday, the man who married the princess would be King, and in a leader, truthfulness was more important than lineage, looks, and wealth. The man who married the princess needed to be truthful.
A notice was sent throughout the kingdom for all
eligible males to apply. By the end of the week, hundreds of young men crowded the castle gates. The royal scribes interviewed them and most were quickly eliminated. One said he had no allergies, but his eyes puffed shut when he pet the royal cat. Another bragged he was an ace with the cross-bow, but every arrow missed the target. Still another swore he loved licorice, the princess’ favorite candy, but gagged when he ate a piece.
When the scribes finished, only three candidates
The first, Edgar Evans the Fourth, spent the day with the royal family. They sailed on the lake and picnicked on the beach. That night, Princess Regina and he danced until midnight. At bedtime, Edgar was shown to his bedroom.
Poor Edgar! The royal chambermaids sprinkled the bed with itching powder, as the King directed. All night, he itched and scratched, tossed and turned. He didn’t sleep a wink.
At breakfast, the Queen asked how he’d slept. Edgar
didn’t want to be impolite. Though his eyes were red and he was yawning, he said, “ Very well, Your Majesty.”
“A lie!” shouted the King. Out the door went tired Edgar Evans the Fourth.
Rufus Alfred was next. He entertained the princess with stories about his world travels. He laughed a little too loud at the King’s jokes, but the King knew his jokes were funny and overlooked it. When it came time to dance, Rufus gracefully whirled Princess Regina around the ballroom.
When it was time for bed, Rufus Alfred was shown to a bedroom, specially prepared for him. The mattress, filled with nails and bolts, was lumpy and hard.
Rufus Alfred slept not a wink. He thought the floor might be more comfortable than the bed, but he didn’t want to ruin his new silk pajamas, so he tossed and turned on the lumpy mattress all night.
At breakfast, the Queen asked Rufus how he slept.
“Awful!” he said. “The mattress was so hard, I slept on the floor.”
“A lie!” shouted the King when the royal chambermaid reported the silk pajamas were spotless and showed no evidence of having been on the floor.
The castle door slammed behind poor Rufus Alfred.
Bixbe Denderderby presented a bouquet of yellow roses to Princess Regina and smiled politely when the Queen showed him the family photo albums. When the princess and he played tennis, he didn’t let her win, because pretending he didn’t play very well would have been a lie. He could hardly dance, but didn’t mind the princess showing him how.
When it came time for bed, Bixbe was shown to the haunted bedroom. The bed was large and soft, and Bixbe was soon fast asleep. “Ooooo!” A terrible howl came from the closet. “Woooooooo.” Another came from under the bed. Bixbe sat up. “Ghosts,” he commanded, “Stop the racket! I’m trying to get some sleep!”
The howling and moaning continued. Bixbe shrugged. “All right, party on,” he said. He stuffed cotton in his ears so he couldn't hear them and went back to sleep.
In the morning, the King and Queen inquired about how he’d slept.
“Quite well,” he said, “once I put cotton in my ears. The room is haunted and the ghosts were rather noisy.”
At that point, they knew Bixbe was not only truthful, but brave and resourceful, too. They decided he would make a fine husband for the princess and someday, an excellent king.
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