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The Ugly Princess

Our good friend, Bernardo, was, it is true, married; but since he has been in attendance at the palace, he has so fallen in love with Princess Altamira that he no longer notices his wife; therefore, may it please your mercy to dissolve the first marriage, and announce this new one with her highness, your daughter?”

The barber at this harangue became so infuriated that he rushed blindly at the cobbler, and with his razor would have severed his head from the rest of his body, but that he was prevented by the guard, who held him down.

“Executioner, do your work!” cried the baffled king; and at one blow the head of the unfortunate barber rolled on the ground.

Prince Alanbam seeing this, and fearing that more mischief might ensue, proposed to the king that one hundred knights should be chosen, and that these should fight for the hand of the lovely Princess Altamira. “I myself will enter the lists,” said the prince; “and the survivor will be rewarded by marrying your daughter.”

“That is a good idea,” said the king; and calling together ninety-nine of his best knights, he bade them fight valiantly, for their reward was very precious.

Fifty knights, mounted on beautiful chargers, placed themselves on one side, and were opposed by forty-nine equally well-mounted knights and Prince Alanbam; and at the word of command, given by the king, they advanced at headlong speed against each other; but, much to the astonishment of the spectators, no knight was unhorsed; rather did it seem that each knight did his utmost to get run through by his opponent.

At it they went again and again, but with the same result, for no man was hurt, although seeming to court death.

“We will alter the order of things,” exclaimed the king. “The knight who is first wounded shall be the one to marry the princess.”

This was no sooner said than the knights seemed to be possessed of a blind fury, and at the first charge nearly every knight was unhorsed and every one wounded, while the confusion and noise were awful.

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