Because my previous short stories have been rather heavy and dark, I have decided to write a slightly lighter, more humorous story to add to this collection. I hope everyone enjoys it, and thanks for the great reviews!
Prince Henry rolled around in his bed and snorted, inhaling a mouthful of tawny hair. He spat and Rapunzel rolled over on her side, snoring quietly. Henry slid out of bed and looked at his new wife.
"Princesses shouldn't snore." he pronounced to himself disdainfully, and carefully untangled himself from Rapunzel's hair. Her name wasn't really Rapunzel, instead it was Mathilde. When Prince Henry had come across her tower in the forest, she had mistaken her for Rapunzel, whose tower was actually on the other side of the kingdom, and had been married off long ago.
Mathilde was not even a princess, but rather a servant girl a witch who decided the girl should be locked in a tower for aesthetic reasons. Prince Henry had stumbled across her when he got lost hunting.
Henry dressed carefully and quietly, careful not to disturb Rapunzel (Mathilde) from her delightful slumber. When Henry arrived down stairs, she found his mother and father already awake and at there places in the throne room, upon, of course, the thrones.
King Audrey looked up as his son entered the room. Audrey had long since given up any hope of his son becoming king. In fact, he hoped that his son never realized that he was destined to the throne, since King Audrey was certain his son would make a mess of things. And yes, Prince Henry really was that thick. He got lost in the attic, which was about the size of a small computer box.
Queen Margritte looked out the window, which opened up to a lovely field where horses grazed and butterflies would flutter. Right now, in the middle of winter, all that was there was a skinny nag and large splotches of dead grass. She seemed to be looking for something, and was so obvious even her son noticed.
"Mother?" Prince Henry inquired. He strolled over to the window and peered out, and was greeted by a small black and white striped creature.
"Ugh." Prince Henry closed the window and shut the curtains, disgusted by the little skunk that sat outside the palace walls. It was in fact, not a skunk, but a stray cat that Mathilde (Rapunzel) had adopted a few weeks after her marriage with Prince Henry.
"Henry dear, go tend to your wife." Queen Margritte fluttered her hand, and Henry obliged, sulking back up to his tower, where his wife Rapunzel (Mathilde) still lay in bed. Queen Margritte turned to her husband, who looked at her expectantly.
"Audrey dear, I must go for a walk to the stables. I'm feeling a bit jittery this morning; the walk will do me good."
King Audrey didn't argue, knowing full well what could happen if his wife continued to feel jittery. A courier once refused to let the Queen go on her walk, and the palace smelled like smoke for a week. Yes, magic can do that.
The Queen hurried out of the palace, and into the blazing sun of the winter morning. She tread the newly shoveled path lightly, careful not to soil her brand new gown. If the King was more observant, he would have noticed she was wearing her best gown to go for a walk to the stables. Highly unusual, even for a Swamp Queen.
Queen Margritte had descended from a long line of Swamp Royalty, all famous for their powerful magic abilities to turn things (and people) into swamp creatures. They were also known for their strange cleaning habits and their preference to building castles in swamps. One of the more famous of the line was Prince Herbert who wanted to sing and was eventually almost rescued by Sir Lancelot. But that's a different story.
Anyway, the real reason Queen Margritte was headed to the stables was to greet her lover, Baron du Argart. He was a descendant of the legendary line of Cabbage Patch, where the ever popular cabbage patches were produced, until the companies decided over the border was cheaper and abandoned Cabbage Patch, practically stripping the land of all its wealth.
However, Queen Margritte had a strategy that would return Cabbage Patch to its formal dignity. As she was whispering this rather loudly to her lover, Prince Henry passed by, whistling quietly to himself.
Unfortunately for him, whistling quietly to himself did not keep Queen Margritte from hearing him. Despite the fact that he was her own son, she jumped out and cast her spell on him. Foul smelling smoke filled the air, and Baron du Argart slipped away, a dirty silk handkerchief over his mouth. Queen Margritte realized what she had done, and in a stupor ran away into the woods, where she was promptly taken in by an overgrown giant child who wanted her as a play thing.
When the smoke cleared away, in place of Prince Henry was now a large, black and white spotted goat. The Queen had lost her touch with swamp animals, and had simply turned him into the first thing that came to mind.
Princess Rapunzel (Mathilde) came skipping out to the meadows, singing loudly off key. She stopped short when she saw the silly looking goat, with a delicate silver crown perched delicately on his head.
She laughed aloud guffawing laugh, which made the goat Prince Henry squirm on the inside. Gently Mathilde wrapped her arms around Prince Henry the Goat, and looked into his eyes.
"Don't worry Prince Henry," she said to his beseeching eyes. "I'm not going to divorce you. You're a rather cute goat."
She led Prince Henry to the castle, where she explained what (she guessed) on gone on. She was a little off, but never the less, she ended up with the right ending. Prince Henry was turned into a goat.
At first King Audrey was horrified about what happened, but then he relaxed. The people of the kingdom would never stand for Goat King. Therefore the kingdom was safe from Prince Henry's sloppy hands. Mathilde seemed like a good person, and would one day make a good Queen. And though a little sad, the King was glad to be rid of the adulterous Queen.
So the whole thing worked out for almost everyone, excluding the Queen, and her poor lover, who went on to become a carpet beater at the nearby inn (never mind that carpet beaters are normally woman).