The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

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Princess Who Challenges the Red Knight

The Red Knight was a complete imposter! He stole the right to marry me. But I decided I wouldn’t get mad. I would get even!

I marched into the hall where the king and his nobles were feasting, and I presented to them the youth who had fairly and truly won my heart. I said, “Here is a man who claims he can do more wonderful tricks than the Red Knight. Of course, we can all agree, he must be an imposter.”

Turning to the Red Knight, I said, “You, Sir, have studied the art of magic. Will you please show this imposter how it’s done?”

I knew for certain the Red Knight had never opened a magic book in his life, but he would play along, because he thinks he does everything better than anyone else, with or without practice.

“Why don’t you turn yourself into a lion?” I suggested.

He twisted and turned, bellowed and roared, but in no way did he become a lion. “Maybe that’s a bit too difficult,” I said. “How about a bear.” That didn’t work either, of course. “Try a bee,” I said. The old codger buzzed, hummed, and flounced about like a fool.

“Now it is your turn,” I said to the youth. “Let us see if you can change yourself into a lion.” He did so at once, and sprang upon the false knight!

The Princess Who Challenges the Red Knight in The Mermaid and the Boy, Brown Fairy Book. Illustration by H.J. Ford.

Princess Who Challenges the Red Knight