How to Win the Princess

“Seek out the sovereigns and monarchs of every land. The princes of the entire world, their eldest sons, shall meet here in one year’s time. He who is brave, strong, and smart enough to perform my task shall receive half of my kingdom and treasure for his reward.”

The king’s plan was set in motion. In one year King Olaf addressed the assembled flower of nobility gathered before him. A dozen princes of the noblest lines came to learn the details of the contest.

“Few people know of my family’s tragic curse. Three hundred years ago, in my ancestor King Anlaf’s day, he offended a vain fairy named Radella by endorsing Princess Iris as the most beautiful lady in the land.”

“This is the curse as Radella invoked it: ‘Princess Iris shall be imprisoned in the dungeons of this castle and sealed in by walls of stone ten feet thick. There she will sleep, forever, until awaked with a kiss from a prince of noble blood.’”

King Olaf led the assembled princes down in the castle to the dungeons, where a thick wall sealed off the corridor.

“If any has thoughts of how to breach this wall and rescue Princess Iris, let him speak now and win fortune and kingdom.

One by one, the princes tried various schemes, drew diagrams, and asked questions. One by one, the princes grew discouraged. Finally only Prince Joseph remained.

“Would you answer a couple of questions, your majesty?”

“Of course, ask away.

“How long did you say Princess Iris has been sleeping?”

“For three hundred years.”

“Only a kiss can awaken her?”

“It is so.”

“In that case, I’ll give it a swing. I can do it, but I’ll need a jackhammer and all the breath mints you’ve got.”

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295 words. In response to this week’s Cracked Flash Fiction Competition prompt.

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