The Pigeon's Bride - The Story of a Princess Who Kissed and Told
By that time the roses were again blooming in the Princess's cheeks, her eyes were brighter than before, and her long shining hair was more golden than ever.
All the neighboring kings were invited to the wedding and when they saw the bride they shook their heads sadly and said among themselves:
"Lost her looks indeed! What did people mean by saying such a thing? Why, she's the most beautiful princess in the world! What a pity she didn't marry one of our sons!"
But when they met the Prince of her choice, they saw at once why the Princess had fallen in love with him.
"Any girl would!" they said.
It was a big wedding, as I told you before, and the only guest present who was not a king or a queen or a royal personage of some sort was the poor girl who saw the rooster with wooden shoes in the first place. The Queen, of course, had wanted only royalty but the Princess declared that the poor girl was her dear friend and would have to be invited. So the Queen, when she saw that the Princess was set on having her own way, had the poor girl come to the palace before the wedding and decked her out in rich clothes until people were sure that she was some strange princess whom the bride had met on her travels.
"My dear," whispered the Princess as they sat down beside each other at the wedding feast, "how beautiful you look!"
"But I'm not as beautiful as you!" the girl said.
The Princess laughed.
"Of course not! No one can be as beautiful as I am because I have the secret of beauty!"
"Dear Princess," the poor girl begged, "won't you tell me the secret of beauty?"
The Princess leaned over and whispered something in the poor girl's ear.
It was only one word: