martes, 14 de enero de 2014


Fanfiction writers have also been fascinated by the Clever Princess and her beau (in the Fourth Story of The Snow Queen), even giving them the features of Sue and Reed Richards, or Supernatural Anna and Michael. Here are the four retellings that I love the most. I especially like when they take to each other: "he was as pleased with her as she was with him..."


You see, this princess is very very smart and no one could possibly have been wise enough
for her. Most princes were quite dumb in comparison to her and she didn't like that one bit. She is so smart that she has read all the newspapers in the world and then forgotten them again! You see, most people who are smart are smart enough only to learn and then blab information that people really don't want to hear to begin with. But this princess is so smart that she forgets then until they are needed. She is wise as well as smart. Do you see how that works? So this smart Princess decides that she is lonely in all her brilliance and should like to have a husband. But she doesn't know where to find a suitable one. After a lot of thought she came up with a contest. Whichever young man in all the world who didn't cower at her cleverness, whichever man would talk back to her and not just take everything she said lying down, would be her husband. 
They had tons of young men waiting in line outside the palace. Many of the ones who thought themselves smart enough weren't even clever enough to bring lunch with them! And none of these young men, smart or not, were most certainly not up for sharing. I suppose they thought a hungry looking man could never win the princess and so wanted to keep the others as hungry as possible to improve their own chances. The young men were all idiots more or less. For when they stood before the princess they said nothing at all but they gaped at her and only repeated the last word she had spoken. And let tell you, that got old fast. So then a boy shows up in dressed in rags. And he walks up to the gates and sees the royal guards covered in jewels and gold threads. And does he feel intimidated by them at all? No!
He simply says, "I do pity you standing out there all day. It must be dull. I know I would rather go in", and the guards took a liking to him at once. They said, you could see, he was quite witty once you got passed his awful clothing.
I saw the back of him going into the palace. He was in rags as I said before. And he had creaky boots in better condition than his clothes. And he had a little bundle on his back.
I walked through many rooms with silk drapes, satin sofas, and velvet lined walls. Following the two crows I came to be in front of two big golden doors. Suddenly I heard a faint call of a hunting horn and out of the room came tiny finger­sized shadows. The shadows were in the form of a hunting party. There were tiny shadow stallions with royal lords sitting upon then, tiny shadow mares with ladies of the court seated side saddle, eager to watch their men hunt, and there was even a couple of shadow ponies with little shadow children sitting up tall and proud.
 I noticed a small candle ­already lit­ in a silver holder. It was on a little wooden table next to a dove-­feathered love­seat. I picked up the holder and carried it over to the bed. On the side I was approaching, there laid the most beautiful young woman ever seen with mortal eyes. She was pale and delicate with long wavy hair that was spend out on her frilly­cased pillow. I knew she must be the princess. No wonder the young men and been so dumb­struck in front of her. She was stunning as well as remarkably smart. [...]
It was a young man who was a quite a bit older than Kay but had a neck just like Kay's. He was remarkably handsome with bright friendly eyes that looked very surprised and confused to see me sitting in the bed beside him.


Story the Fourth: The Prince and the Princess

(Sue and Reed Richards!)

 “In this kingdom where we now are, there lives a princess of unusual cleverness. They say she owns as many books as crows have feathers, and studies philosophy and art and other such things, and speaks Latin as easily as you please. The late king made his daughter his heir, you see, because his son was the younger of the two, and the crown here always goes to the eldest, so he had her trained in statescraft instead of the usual occupations of young women.
A short time ago, after ruling for several years just as well as any prince could have done, she turned to her advisors and spoke the following words: ‘Why should I not be married? ’‘Why not indeed?’ they said, and so she determined to marry if she could find a husband who knew what to say when he was spoken to, and not one who could only look grand, for that would be tiresome. Then she assembled her entire court together in the palace gardens and told them of her intentions, to much rejoicing and acclaim.

The princess's advisors suggested putting notices in the newspapers, but she declined on the grounds that this would attract too many men of the ordinary sort. Instead, she wrote a proclamation out herself, in Latin, and had it copied out and affixed to the doors of every University in three kingdoms.

The notice stated that every young man who was handsome was free to visit the castle and speak with the princess; and those who could reply loud enough to be heard when spoken to, were to make themselves quite at home at the palace; but the one who spoke best would be chosen as a husband for the princess.

Scholars and alchemists and theologians and other learned men came in crowds, until the palace was quite crowded with men in black gowns, but not one of them was able to meet the requirements. They could all speak very well in a lecture hall, or outside on the streets, but when they stood in the great hall of the palace, surrounded by gilded plasterwork, and rose­red tapestries, and great, silver mirrors that glowed with the light of a thousand candles, and saw the counts and barons in all their finery, and the guards in blue and silver uniforms, they grew nervous, and felt themselves shabby, though they all wore their best academic robes of black silk. And when they were called up to stand before the princess herself, seated on her throne with her golden hair as bright as the candles, they could do nothing but repeat the last thing she had said. And so she soon grew bored with each man, and sent them away.

There was quite a long line of them reaching from the town-­gate to the palace. I went myself to see them. They looked very foolish standing there, jabbering away at one another like so many crows, as practice for when they went inside. 

A young student arrived on the third day. He came on foot, and did not wear a black robe like the others, and he was tall and thin, with very dark hair. When he passed through the palace gates, he saw the guards in their silver and blue uniforms, and the nobles in all their splendor, but was not the least embarrassed, though his own clothes were faded and worn. He went boldly up to the princess herself, who was seated on a throne entirely covered in mother of pearl, and all the ladies of the court were present with their maids, and all the counts and barons and knights with their servants; and every one of them was dressed so finely that they shone as brightly as the mirrors. Even the servants wore cloth of gold, and they were all so proud that they would not even look at him, because he had come to the palace with ink on his fingers. He was quite solemn and not at all afraid, and said he had not come to woo the princess, but to hear her wisdom; and he was as pleased with her as she was with him.

 You cannot enter the palace by the front entrance, for the soldiers in their blue and silver uniforms would surely try and stop you. The princess's younger brother is their captain, and he guards his sister's welfare most faithfully. They say he is a most fearsome young firebrand indeed. 

Today, the princess was walking in the garden.
The garden was full of moonlight, turning the snow-covered flowerbeds into great sheets of silver. The fountains were dry, because of the cold, and the princess's gardeners had set little statues carved of ice atop them to take the place of the streams of water.
There was, within the palace, a series of halls, each grander than the last. First came a hall with a floor of white marble, hung with tapestries of crimson silk. Then a hall with a floor of pink marble, hung with paintings of such size and magnificence that one would ordinarily have stopped to admire them, the richness of the tints, and the skill of the brush strokes, followed in turn by a third hall, which had a floor of black and white marble laid in squares like a chessboard, and which was hung with mirrors in gilded frames.

The princess's bedchamber was more magnificent still, with all the gold and silk and marble, a great canopy bed in the middle, the bed-curtains thickly embroidered with gold and silver thread.
The princess and the new prince were asleep in one another's arms, his face quite hidden in her golden hair.
He was quite another man, clean shaven and with grey streaks at his temples, though he was
still young. The part of his hair that was not grey was so dark.
Then the princess woke as well, and sat up and asked what was the matter.

The prince and the princess, learned as they both were, looked quite sorrowful, though the prince asked with a keen interest after a great alchemist, saying that they had been at University together once.
The princess, regretting that she could not help more, and not at all angry to be woken in the middle of the night by a stranger standing in her bedchamber, offered to have another notice delivered through three kingdoms.

And then the prince and princess summoned servants.
 The following day, he was served breakfast in a great hall, out of a golden bowl, and the prince and princess talked about art, which the princess had studied a little, in between reading philosophy books, and about military tactics, and they invited us to stay at the palace for a few days, and enjoy ourselves....
... a fine, tall horse, its hide a deep grey color like polished steel, with a black mane and tail. Its saddle and bridle were trimmed with silver bells, and its saddle-cloth had the prince and princess's coats of arms, entwined, embroidered on it in silk thread.

The prince and princess themselves wished success, from the garden gate.
“Farewell, farewell,” cried the prince and princess.

The Prince and Princess would certainly pay the ransom, but they had already been so very generous that one was loathe to cost them any further expense. the prince and the princess, and they gave provision and a fine horse.

...through the palaces of princes...

“They are gone to foreign countries,” said the robber-boy. "On a great voyage of exploration,
and they have taken the princess's brother, her captain of the guard, with them, and also one of the prince's oldest friends.

All good stories, of course, must have a happy ending, and this one is no exception, but the important part, dear reader, is not that the prince, and princess lived happily ever after.

The important part, reader, is that, together or separately, they lived.

The End


{It took me all the way down to the part about the fiery brother before I realise it was Sue and I've always thought of Reed with very brown hair.

Wow, Sue's always been a bit of a nonentity for me as far as characters go - mostly she just doesn't seem to show up much I think - but I adored her here. She was awesome! The whole chapter I was pondering who you'd cast as the Prince and Princess and considered Reed and Sue but it wasn't until you mentioned the firebrand of a brother that it really clicked - so much fun to read. ^_^

Thanks! I wish I could say I took Sue's characterization straight from canon in this
(because a Sue would could canonically write love letters in Latin would rock), but I
actually took most of it from the original fairytale, where the Princess is the smartest
person in three kingdoms (so smart that she's "read all the newspapers in the world")
and wants a prince who is her equal. But since Sue is married to Reed, she must have
married him for his brains rather than, say, charm or tact or looks -- because Reed's nt
bad looking, but Sue is definitely out of his league -- hence making the Princess her.

[Things that I especially loved: Sue Storm's idea of courtship.]
[Sue's method of courting Reed I can't take credit for - it's straight out of the original fairytale. It's why I decided to make the two of them the Prince and Princess; it just seemed to fit them.]

The test of the ink-stained prince.
This is the first (and ONLY) time I've seen a fairytale fic that actually WORKS.
And it does.
I'm left with the mental image of an ornamental music box, filled with figures and scenes as tiny and perfect as the details of a glittering Fabergé egg. The music is done, and the lid falls gently closed...
Until the next time the key on the back is wound again.

Another Avengers AU, this one with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers: a kingdom to the west, and I have heard an interesting tale out of that great palace.
There was a clever prince, who sat on the western throne. He had read all the maps in the world and built a great many things that made his kingdom thrive in iron and steel. He had a mind like quicksilver and a sharp tongue that did not always do him favors, but he was loved and he made wondrous things. They said that his uncle, the regent of his youth after his father's death, had sent assassins out to bring him the prince's living heart, but his greed had undone him. 

"You do not pay hard men trinkets to kill a prince".
The assassins wanted the prince's mind more than his heart, his great gift to build machines of conquest, but the brave prince proved cleverer than the king-making assassins, and forged himself a heart of iron that gave him the strength to gain his freedom. So he returned and slew the treacherous uncle who had loved him as a boy and tried to take the very heart out of his breast as a man, and the kingdom had been whole again.
But the prince had paid a price. His heart bled metal in his chest, and he became cold and
unhappy. Without a wedding, he could not become a king, and there were other greedy men who lived in the shadows. 

 So it was decreed that the prince should wed, and the palace doors thrown open for the worthy youth of the land.
Grand ladies came with their glittering trains, each lovelier than the last. Heroes who had slain monsters and brute beasts in distant lands brought the spoils of their deeds to show the prince that they had heart enough for two. The great minds of  the land came too, with new maps and books and designs, to show the prince he could have an equal beside him on the throne. 
But the prince was unmoved, and turned them all away.
One day, a young man came to the palace, a plain sparrow amongst the glittering peacocks in his dusty traveling clothes and well­-worn boots. He had no brilliant maps or wealth
to recommend him, and indeed seemed very shabby compared to those who had come before.
Yet it turned out that he did not seek the prince's hand at all, but merely his wisdom. He boldly climbed the steps to where the prince sat, paying hardly any attention to all the ladies with their maids, who each had their own maid, or any of the haughty cavaliers ringed with pages and servants.
He would be travel­-worn, surely, and shabby in his appearance. He was not interested in a grand marriage or a kingdom at his feet.
Surpassingly fair of face and form, he was tall and well­made, with hair gilt like the sun and eyes that burned as the summer sky does, no hint of frost at all. You see, he was a brave soldier returned from a faraway war, with strength to challenge even an iron heart. His face was young but his mind was wise, for he had known the old king, the prince's father, and still carried the great shield that man had crafted.
Newly woken from a deep slumber that had seen countless seasons, he had come only to seek out the son of an old friend, to see how the world had changed.
It was said that at first the kingdom feared that they would tear each other apart,  for the prince, always quick with his tongue, thought the soldier old-­fashioned and simple, and the soldier in turn thought the prince haughty, which he was, and cruel, which he could be, and unworthy of his father, which was a thing raw and open like a nerve. When he said as much, the prince raged for days, for he was unlucky with fathers, and his heart burned to think of it. Awful, cutting things dripped from his tongue, but the soldier knew how to use a shield, and stood his ground. 
"But look," said the prince's oldest friend, a canny general who had been in the school room with him when they were young, a man as patient as a mountain. "See how he paces, how his eyes are bright." And he was
right, for none of the other suitors had held the prince's attention for even a moment.
"And see," said the prince's seneschal, a lady tall and fair, with skin like new cream and hair the rich color of a rising sun, "how he considers his words, and how his hand goes to his heart."
"And watch," said the prince's castellan, who was metal and parts and gears, the prince's own creation, but as refined as such a thing could be and who loved him as deeply as a forest spring, "how he forgets that his wounds hurt." 
So it was that the iron­-hearted prince and the weary soldier were in the glass chamber.
"You shall go to the north as a queen," said the seneschal, who had a spray of freckles across her face like a dusting of gold. 
They offered the doctor all the riches of the prince's kingdom, the true ones of the mind, and he had been hungry for such things for a long time, and soon joined the prince in lively discourse over this invention and that, until all the palace was cluttered with their clever, half­made things and intricate scrawls, and the soldier could only smile in wry indulgence.
The girl told them what the one-­eyed man had whispered to her, and the prince looked at her with eyes bright and eager, as if his heart were as light as air. Soon, he mused, he would be king, and tied to his kingdom, but would it not be a great adventure to go north with brave souls and see how the frost was made?

Supernatural (Anna and Michael)
Written by Alysian

Our kingdom is ruled over by a wise and beautiful princess. She’s an angel as well, and she came to Earth many years ago so that she might study and further improve her mind. She is a just ruler, and beloved by all her subjects. She had many suitors, but none of them could keep her interest – rich clothes and handsome faces were not enough for her. So she published a decree stating that any man who could converse with her for an hour and keep her amused would be her husband. Princes and dukes and earls came from all across the world, but none passed the test until one day a blue-eyed angel came to the palace and requested an audience. He and our princess talked for the rest of the day, for he was very clever and could converse on many subjects.”
She really was beautiful, with delicate features and dark red hair, her head resting on her auburn wings. Her arm was around the waist of her husband, whose head was turned away.
 The angel’s eyes were blue, but he was fairer than Castiel and his wings were tawny gold.

Another Supernatural one (John and Mary Winchester, the lead brothers' parents!)

The kingdom, "where they have great halls of knowledge", is called Sur-la-Lune, "Above the Moon", after a famous fairytale website. The Clever Princess is Mary Winchester (another blonde, like Sue Storm-Richards!), while her husband is John Winchester.
This one is AWESOME, second only to my retelling "Christina's Choice" and to the Richards version by Elspethdixon...

The Queen and King announced throughout all of Sur La Lune that any men who desired the Princess’ hand could step forward as a suitor on her eighteenth birthday. When that day came, men lined up outside the castle for miles, all waiting for their brief audience with the Princess. Most were so awed by her and the castle that they could not speak, and in the end she turned them away. But one man came, and though he dressed very poorly, he was said to be unimpressed with the riches of the castle. And when he met the Princess, he asked her what she thought about politics, and science, and religion, and told her he came seeking her wisdom, rather than her crown.She chose him among all others. They were wed just this past month.
Is the Princess very graceful and fair?
 The fairest in all the land.
Is she very wise, and will she be a great Queen?
The oracles have foreseen her reign will be glorious and peaceful.
Does he love her, this Prince? 
With all of his being. For who would not love a princess?

They snuck through the castle grounds and up the servant’s stairwell into the kitchen. Most of the staff was in an uproar preparing hot and cold delicacies for the King and Queen’s banquet, leaving only a few servants to handle the Prince and Princess.
The dining chamber was an impressive room, with a large fireplace and heavy stone walls adorned with intricately woven tapestries depicting great battles.
The man was handsome with broad shoulders, but his hair was jet black and his eyes a warm brown.
The Princess smiled, and she was every bit as fair and lovely as had been described, with waves of blonde hair and an enchanting smile.

 From a Sailor Moon fic (The princess is Ami Mizuno, obviously, and the young man is Ryo Urawa, a one-episode wonder, the carrier of a rainbow crystal and a soulmate of Ami’s).

This land is ruled by a princess who is far wiser and cleverer than you could possibly imagine – and quite beautiful, too. She loves to read; she would read all day if she could. She loves to learn, you see. She tries to share what she learns in her books and newspapers with her ladies in waiting, but they just giggle and agree with whatever she says.To be honest, I don't think there's anything in those heads of theirs. Other than air.
Anyway, a few years ago, the princess got sick of all her pretend acquaintances. She wanted someone to talk to – a husband, she decided. He had to be of equal wit and knowledge so he could talk intelligently and debate with her. But all the young wealthy boys she'd grown up with were rather dim. The princess isn't dim – no, she devised a clever idea that would get her a husband. She put an advertisement in the newspaper, for that would eliminate quite a great deal as many in the kingdom didn't even bother reading the newspaper. They only looked at the pretty pictures or else read the headlines.
So the interviews lasted days. I thought it would never end! I could see the queue from the trees outside the kingdom walls. As you can imagine, all the fine young men of the land turned up, full of brave talk and dressed in their fanciest clothes. But it didn't impress the princess. She didn't find anything in them. Most just agreed with the princess no matter what she said. Perfect husbands for the ladies in waiting, yes, but not for the princess.
"Almost three months passed and the princess hadn't found her suitor. There were still plenty of fancy carriages arriving by the day, bringing more pompous men who strutted around the palace like peacocks. One day, a man walked in carrying only a small cloth bundle on his back – on which he wore a plain coat – and strolled in, perfectly at ease. His eyes were bright. And his hair was dark and thick and curling at the bottom of his neck.
He strolled in, perfectly at ease. Nodded to the guards, made some little quips to them on his way in. Meandered into the Great Hall as if not a care in the world and made his way before the princess. He stood there and commented on her beautiful short dark hair. She replied that flattery would get him nowhere unless he could show her some substance of intelligence or wit. And so he went! They conversed for nearly an hour. With everyone comment of the princess', the young man quickly and easily replied – usually embellished with a compliment.

Strong Female Characters:
Strong Female Characters:

 another fascinating female character: a princess who is so clever that “she has read all the newspapers in the whole world, and has forgotten them again.” This princess decides to get married, but explicitly states that her prince will be someone intelligent and articulate, a man “who knew how to give an answer when he was spoken to--not one who looked only as if he were a great personage, for that is so tiresome.” She ends up choosing a suitor who had no intention of marrying her, but merely entered the castle in order to hear the princess’ wisdom. She chooses a husband who admires her brain, someone who, unlike the actual suitors, did not seek to win her but merely to hear her and enjoy her intellect.

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