There was once a princess and she wanted a prince, but then he must be a vegetarian prince. A real vegetarian, not a flexitarian, a pescetarian or a meat reducer, but a full-time abstainer of meat, which yes, includes fish, molluscs and crustaceans. And to be a real prince he must be a decent cook for in this enlightened day and age there were no kitchen slaves, and princesses although trained did not want to be held responsible for every repast and every growling palace stomach.
real vegetarian princes were thin on the ground, as rare as the
jewels on the King's crown: not to be found just anywhere. But then
this particular princess hated dating. Any dating, even organised
dates conducted at a royal speed where she would be obliged to pass
down a line of prospective suitors proffering to each a gloved hand
and a few strained polite words as her mother, the Queen, looked on.
Princess, in the past, had been accused of coolness because she
failed to react to romantic gestures. In fact, any gestures with
romantic overtones made her uneasy: she refused to accept them for
what they were and questioned their authenticity. Why? What's the
agenda? And despite being a princess she disliked any light being
shed on her. But then she detested those that planned adventurous,
supposedly fun, dates where she would have to participate, have her
sportsmanship assessed. What was wrong with a cup of tea, a walk, a
talk, an art gallery? She would really rather skip what everyone else
thought was the good bit, so she could be herself instead of feeling
as if she might descend into clumsiness at any given moment.
Therefore, her attempts, at best, had been half-hearted: agreed to,
but not altogether enjoyed, and the few frogs she'd kissed had been
eventually dismissed for their carnivorous or all- consuming nature.
considered it her duty, as did her parents and their diminishing
kingdom, to marry a prince, but she had no intention of losing who
she was in that negotiation. The very idea of marriage seemed like a
form of decay, a whittling away until perhaps one day the person
before the mirror was unidentifiable. An imposter, with the soulful
light that used to play imprisoned in the glazed irises. Along with
fearing this outcome for herself she feared inflicting it on someone
else, yet brushed aside these dreads as her pre-any-commitment
jitters for if she found a prince who shared her principles she was
sure these concerns would clear.
beseeched the few palace retainers to cast an ever-wider net but
there was always something wrong. Some irritating habit the princess
couldn't possibly live with or a disparity in opinions or interests.
The princess was on the verge of giving up when disaster struck in a
distant province. There'd been an sudden outbreak of influenza which
meant the Head of State was too unwell to welcome a foreign prince
who was due to visit their shores any day. Could the King possibly
help? Being a benevolent King, he agreed, to which the Head of
State's PA replied that the prince, on arrival, would be conveyed to
the palace. As an afterthought, he added, oh, and he's vegetarian. My
apologies again for the inconvenience.
days and three nights later, during a wild storm, there was a knock
at the town gate which the old King answered to find a rain-soaked,
yet debonair prince behind. He heartily greeted the traveller,
ushered him in and then left him in the Queen's capable hands who was
convinced he was not a vegetarian prince and needed to be tested.
Queen took the prince on a tour which ended in the kitchen where she
laid out their stores: meat, fish, vegetables and grains, remarking
to the prince that even guests prepared their shared evening meals.
The prince upon hearing this instantly rolled up his sleeves and
washed his hands, then ignoring all other foodstuffs on the table
chose a red bell pepper to roast over an open flame. A carnivorous
prince would never have done that.
princess was persuaded to make him her husband. And the roasted
pepper, in case you were wondering, was eaten and enjoyed.
this is a true story.
Picture Credit: Peasant Burning Weeds, Vincent Van Gogh