The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

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Swineherd Prince

I smeared my face with mud and I went to the palace where I worked as a swineherd. On my time off, I made toys for the princess. She had rejected the natural things I had offered her as a prince. So as a swineherd I made her artificial things, trinkets, and she couldn’t get enough of them. In exchange for my toys, I demanded kisses. She planted them on my muddy face while standing in a throng of jeering ladies-in-waiting.

One day, her father the emperor saw what was going on and he drove the two of us out of his kingdom. The princess thought she would have to spend the rest of her life with a dirty swineherd. We went back to my castle, and when we arrived, I left her out in the garden. Then I disappeared and came back dressed in my own clothes. I said what I had wanted to say all along. “You did not understand the real gifts I gave you, the nightingale and the rose, but you could kiss a swineherd for the sake of a toy. I despise you.”

I turned around and went back to the castle.

The Swineherd Prince in The Swineherd, Yellow Fairy Book. Illustration by H.J. Ford.

Swineherd Prince