(Inspired not so much by a true story as by a recent broadcast of the Bolshoi Ballet production’s of The Sleeping Beauty, and all those Fractured Fairy Tales)
(Medieval Prince in Medieval Europe wanders around the Medieval Woods, having become separated from his Medieval Friends)
Prince: Alas, what good are my promiscuous hunting buddies if they allow my royal self to simply wander off just like that? Could it be that they only pretend to like me because I have all the money and one day will rule their lives so they had better get on my good side now? Best not to think on that.
(A Fairy appears before him)
Fairy: You’re a prince? An actual prince?!!!
Prince: (Looks around him) Oh, you are addressing me? Well then yes, I am a prince. The prince, if you will: I am the only one in this region at the moment. And whom might you be? A princess from a foreign land?
Fairy: No, I’m a fairy – can’t you tell by my wings and magic wand?
Prince: I thought they were symbols of your high status.
Fairy: Right: since you’re a prince, you’ll be glad to know that you’re in the perfect place to meet your true love and live happily ever after, yay!
Prince: Oh, that is very kind of you; however, I am already betrothed to the daughter of my father’s second cousin – it will be a loveless union, but the kingdom’s heirs will not birth themselves, unfortunately.
Fairy: …So you’re in the market for true love and happily ever after then, yay! Come with me. (She uses magic to make him follow her deeper into the woods)
Prince: I do enjoy a robust adventure, but I must inform you that continuing with this behavior past sunset will officially turn it into a royal kidnapping.
Fairy: Yes, yes, yes – here we are! (She points to an old palace at the top of a mountain)
Prince: Hm. I thought all the palaces in the realm had been accounted for. I must tell Father about this; he most likely will want to wage war upon them. (He turns to leave but Fairy magics him back)
Fairy: No, no, that’s the palace where your true love awaits! Now go to her!
Prince: Is she expecting me, then?
Fairy: What? Oh, I forgot that part: she actually is under a terrible curse, placed upon her by a Wicked Fairy, where she must sleep until she is awakened by the kiss of her one true love, a prince!
Prince: I see. And was that Wicked Fairy really you?
Fairy: No! I saved her by putting her to sleep!
Prince: I thought the sleep was the curse?
Fairy: I bettered the curse! She was supposed to be dead!
Prince: Oh my. And when exactly did all this happen?
Fairy: Let’s see… yes, we’re coming up on a hundred years now.
Prince: You’re having a laugh.
Fairy: It’s magic, hon: a hundred years is nothing.
Prince: So not only is she over a century old, but everything she had known in her previous waking life is now long gone, including all her family and friends.
Fairy: No, them I put to sleep too, until she is awakened by the kiss of her one-true-love prince.
Prince: Ah, I see, so there will be scores of time-displaced souls lying about, with no idea of how to live in this world once they awaken, now subject to a new ruler and an unfamiliar kingdom, and all wearing terribly old-fashioned clothing. I honestly think you did these people no favors at all.
Fairy: Listen Highness, the reason why it’s been taking so long is because there’s been a dearth of eligible curse-breakers in the area until today, when you got it in your head to randomly show up!
Prince: In hindsight, perhaps your counter-curse was a bit too specific in its wording, then: instead of insisting upon the curse being broken by a prince, surely anyone else would have sufficed? Her parents? Her subjects? Any peasant with most of their teeth? You?
Fairy: Absolutely not! It has to be a prince or nothing! You have to be the one to kiss her awake so then you two can marry and live happily ever after!
Prince: Yes, you keep saying that, but I am a stranger to her and she to me – I would at least like to speak to her first before becoming intimate, if it is all the same.
Fairy: It isn’t all the same, because she can’t hold a conversation while she’s in a magic coma! Now get going before I curse you!
Prince: I still think you actually were the Wicked Fairy all along. (He willingly walks to the palace and stops at the drawbridge) I say, Fairy? (She reappears beside him) There seems to be an impassable wall of thorns surrounding the place.
Fairy: Oh right, here. (She hands him a Sword of Truth and Justice) Go ahead.
Prince: (Shakes his head at the Sword) No, this will not do at all: I will fetch our Royal Gardener, he knows how to handle this sort of thing. (He turns to leave, but Fairy pushes him into the thorns and he has to cut his way through to the other side. He emerges in front of the palace, bleeding from the many scratches all over his body) Most tiresome.
(The Wicked Fairy appears before him)
Wicked Fairy: Aha, my Prince, you will never waken the Sleeping Princess, and she and her people will be cursed forever!
Prince: I say, original Fairy? (Fairy appears) Not to complain, but along with the inconvenient thorns you also neglected to mention that I would be facing the Wicked Fairy herself in this venture.
Fairy: Oh, didn’t I? Well, there she is: go get her.
Prince: (To Wicked Fairy) I never like dueling an unknown enemy, so I must ask: why all this rigmarole for one presumably fair-to-middling Princess? Did you not eventually become bored with it all? I would have, probably after Year 1.
Wicked Fairy: Her family didn’t invite me to her christening! So I showed them.
Prince: You certainly did – wait a moment, what? That is the reason for all of this: you were left off the guest list?! No need to fret over something like that – it probably was some servant’s oversight that was not caught in time. The same thing happened to me once and we all had a good laugh about it at the buffet.
Wicked Fairy: Well I didn’t! And it wasn’t an oversight – they did it on purpose!
Fairy: She’s right; they did.
Prince: I see. Then either they were very stupid to snub someone of your obvious power, or you are so unself-aware that you never realized that practically everyone would hesitate to include a guest named “Wicked Fairy” in any of their social gatherings. At any rate, I am uninterested in imperiling my life fighting a magical stranger with petty motivations and extreme methods of revenge all for the sake of kissing someone I never met and to whom I then would be bound forever. (To Fairy) And your numerous claims of our living happily ever after ring quite false, Madame. (Hands her the Sword) My deepest regrets.
Fairy: (Throws the Sword away) NOOO!! You can’t walk away now, it could be a thousand years before I find another prince in this realm!
Prince: Perhaps if you expanded your search radius, you would have more effective results. (Walks away)
Wicked Fairy: (To Fairy) Ha ha, foiled again! I win, I win, I win!
Fairy: For now, oh wicked one, but good always triumphs over evil!
Wicked Fairy: Hardly. I – where’s he going?
Fairy: Huh? (They hear footsteps running up the palace stairs and they magic themselves to the tower where the Princess is sleeping. They see the Prince lightly kiss her awake)
Princess: (Briefly opens her eyes) Five more minutes. (Rolls over and dozes off)
Fairy: (To Prince) What was that?! All that moaning and groaning and you did it anyway?!
Prince: I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. (Looks around at the waking kingdom, then down at the Sleeping Princess, and shrugs) Eh.