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The Ugly Princess

“Your mercy,” said he, addressing the king, “must excuse my insuperable bashfulness; but the fact is that the Princess Altamira is so transcendently beautiful, and so dazzling to behold, that I can never expect to look upon her face again and live.”

The king and the princess were highly flattered; but as Prince Alanbam continued obdurate in his professions of bashfulness, they commenced to feel somewhat vexed, and at last the king said in a loud voice—

“Prince Alanbam, we fully appreciate the motive that prompts your conduct, but the fact is the Princess Altamira is present to be wedded to you; and, as a Christian king, the first of my line, I desire to lead to the altar my only daughter, Princess Altamira, and her affianced husband, Prince Alanbam.”

“It cannot be,” said the prince. “I would rather marry some one less beautiful. Sir king, forgive me if I annoy you, but I will not be wedded to so much beauty.”

The king was now incensed beyond measure, and the princess his daughter, thinking to spite Prince Alanbam, said—

“With your permission, royal father, since I am too beautiful for a prince, I will be married to the most learned man in your kingdom—Bernardo, the royal barber.”

“And that you shall,” said the king; but, on turning round to speak to the barber, he found that this the most learned man in his kingdom was all of a tremble, as if dancing to the music of St. Vitus.

“What has possessed thee, caitiff?” asked the king. “Hearest not thou the honour that is to be conferred on thee?”

“My royal master,” muttered the poor frightened man of learning and lather, “I can no more avail myself of the honour which you would confer on me than the Archbishop of Villafranca could. His grace is bound to celibacy, and I am already married.”

Now, the barber had on many occasions rendered himself obnoxious to Sanchez, the royal cobbler, who, seeing the king’s perplexity, and a chance of avenging past insults, exclaimed—

“Royal master, it would be most acceptable to your subjects that so much beauty should be wedded to so much learning.

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