Many years ago, in a kingdom by the sea, there was once a poor young man who longed for wealth and adventure.
One day, early in the morning, he was walking by the beach and spied the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, dressed in the finest of gowns. To his amazement she explained that she was the kingdom’s princess and that though she often snuck away from the castle, she had never seen such a handsome man.
Secretly, from that day on, they would meet as often as they were able. The young man, ashamed of his poverty, would go to many ends to impress his new forbidden love.
He would steal fine foods from the market, borrow the neighbour’s horse and pass off beautiful ill-gotten trinkets as his own work. He would even break into his neighbour’s house and pretend it was his own.
One night, the young man overheard some chatter in his local tavern. Drunk though the locals were, they spoke of a powerful prince from a far-off land. The prince had offered his hand in marriage to the princess and if she didn’t accept, then he would surely burn the kingdom to the ground.
The young man was crestfallen and though it broke his heart he knew what he must do.
The next day, when the princess came to visit him, he left a pile of letters, written by his own hand, poking out from under his neighbour’s bed.
The princess spotted the letters immediately, seizing them while the young man pretended to be horrified.
Through cold emotionless eyes, she read of other lovers, all their accurate descriptions of her lover’s body and the intimate truths that only a lover could have known.
When she’d finally read them all, she dropped them to the floor and left without saying another word.
Several weeks went by and he waited, in fear and despair, for news of the royal engagement.
Finally, the news came, and the mixture of relief and sadness was more than he could bare. The next morning, he was awoken by his neighbour who had received a mysterious letter that was addressed to the poor young man:
Come quickly to the castle. Your princess needs you.
The princess’s maid,
Wasting no time, he leapt on to his neighbour’s horse and rode as fast as he could.
As he approached the castle gates, two guards stepped into his path, startling the horse who almost unseated him.
“I must see the princess!” he announced to them.
The guards looked at each other and then at him.
“Ah, you must be the florist. You’re expected. Right up the west tower young man.”
He leapt from his horse and ran up the tower.
In the topmost room he discovered the princess, ready to jump from the tower’s window to her death below.
“I will not live nor marry”, she wailed “if I cannot know that at least the love of the man I care for is true!”
Sinking to his knees, the young man wept as he admitted his love and confessed of his deception.
“Ha!” she shouted in delight, “I knew you really loved me!”
Then, after the young man had gotten over his initial shock, they laughed and embraced, and they cried for what was to come.
Suddenly, at the height of their tragic delight, the door opened and in walked another young woman, adorned in the finest clothes and jewels.
“Damn it Avelina! How many times have I told you: not to wear my dresses!”