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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The Pigeon's Bride - The Story of a Princess Who Kissed and Told"

The Pigeon's Bride - The Story of a Princess Who Kissed and Told

At the end of the third year, when she had worn out the third pair of iron shoes and the third staff, she returned to her father's palace looking thin and worn and sad.

"My poor child," the King said, "I hope now you realize that the Pigeon Prince is gone forever. Think no more about him. Go back to your embroidery and when the roses begin blooming in your cheeks again we'll find some young prince for you who isn't enchanted."

But the Princess shook her head.

"Let me try one thing more, father," she begged, "and then if I don't find my love I'll do as you say."

The King agreed to this.

"Well, then," the Princess said, "build a public bath-house and have the heralds proclaim that the King's daughter will sit at the entrance and will allow any one to bathe free of charge who will tell her the story of the strangest thing he has ever heard or seen."

So the King built the bath-house and sent out his heralds far and wide. Men and women from all over the world came and bathed and told the Princess stories of this marvel and that, but never, alas, a word of an enchanted pigeon.

The days went by and the Princess grew more and more discouraged.

"Isn't it sad," the courtiers began whispering, "how the Princess has lost her looks! Do you suppose she ever was really beautiful or did we just imagine it?"

And the neighboring kings when they heard this remarked softly among themselves:

"It's just as well we didn't hurry one of our sons into a marriage with this young woman!"

Now there was a poor widow who lived near the bath-house. She had a daughter, a pretty young girl, who used to sit at the window and watch the Princess as people came and told her their stories.

"Mother," the girl said one day, "every one in the world goes to the bath-house and I want to go, too!"

"Nonsense!" the mother said. "What story could you tell the Princess?"

"But everybody else goes and I don't see why I can't!"

"Well, my dear," the mother promised, "you may just as soon as you see or hear something strange.

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