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From the eBook “The Rainbow Cat” by Rose Fyleman

 

THERE was once a prince who was very brave, good and handsome. He was quite young, too, and before he settled down to learning how to rule the kingdom which would one day be his, he was sent by his father out a-travelling into the world.

 

The king gave his son a beautiful white horse and a bagful of big gold pieces, and told him to come back when the money was all spent.

 

His mother made him a blue velvet mantle embroidered with silver, and she also gave him a hat with a blue feather in it.

 

“I want my son to look nice when he goes out riding into the world,” she said.

 

HE RODE AWAY ON HIS WHITE HORSE AND WAVED TO HIS MOTHER AND FATHER
He rode away on his white horse and turned to wave his hand to his mother and father
before he went over the hill-top.

 

“How handsome he looks,” said his mother, wiping away a tear or two.

 

“Well, that’s nothing to cry about,” said his father, and blew his nose. Then they went back into the palace and continued ruling.

 

The prince rode on and on.

 

Wherever he went people were very nice to him, even when he got beyond the borders of his own kingdom where he was no longer known.

 

It is not every day that a handsome prince comes riding along on a white horse, and moreover with a bagful of fine gold pieces to spend.

 

All the girls ran out to look at him as he passed, and when he stayed anywhere, even for a short time, people seemed to get to know about it at once and asked him to their houses and gave grand parties in his honour and made so much of him altogether that he was in some danger of getting thoroughly spoiled.

 

But he had been very well brought up, and he had a naturally amiable disposition.

 

Besides, he had always been told by his mother that if you are a prince you must try hard to behave as a prince should, and be modest, considerate, and very polite to everyone.

 

One morning close on midday, he came to a tiny village which he did not know at all.

 

He was rather hungry after his ride, and as he passed down the narrow little street he became aware of a delicious smell of new bread.

 

It came from the open door of the village baker’s, and as he glanced in he saw a pile of beautiful, crisp new rolls heaped up in a big white basket.

 

He got down off his horse and went in.

 

“I should like to buy one of those nice little rolls,” he said to the baker’s daughter, who stood behind the counter.

 

She was very pretty. She had blue, shining eyes and fair smooth hair, and when she smiled it was like sunshine on a flowery meadow.

 

The prince ate up his roll and then another and yet another, and while he ate he talked to the baker’s daughter. But no one can eat more than three rolls one after another, and at last he felt that the time had come to pay for what he had had and ride on his way.

 

But, as it happened, he had no small change, nothing but a gold piece such as those which he had in his bag.

 

The baker’s daughter hadn’t enough money in the whole shop to change such a big gold piece, her father having set off that very morning with all the money in the till in order to buy a sack of flour from the miller in the next village.

The Prince sampled a cake from the Bakers daughter
The Prince sampled the girls wares

She had never even seen so large a gold coin before. She wanted to give him the rolls for nothing, but of course he wouldn’t hear of that, and when he said it didn’t matter about the change she wouldn’t hear of that either.

 

“Then there’s nothing for it,” said the prince, “but for me to stay in the village until I have eaten as much as my gold piece will pay for.”

 

As a matter of fact he was really quite glad of an excuse to stay, the baker’s daughter was so very pretty, and he was getting a little tired of travelling.

 

He pottered about in the bakehouse all the afternoon and watched her making the dough for her delicious rolls.

 

He even offered to help her.

 

His blue mantle got rather floury, but he didn’t mind that in the least.

 

The baker’s daughter was rather worried that such a fine gentleman should get in such a mess.

 

She didn’t know he was a prince, otherwise she might have been more worried still.

 

In the evening, when the baker returned, the prince asked if he could put him up for a couple of nights.

 

The baker was a kindly and simple old soul. “Gladly, gladly,” he said, rubbing his hands together and smiling, for the village was a small one and they were very poor, and he was glad to make a little extra money.

 

The prince stayed a whole week at the baker’s house. By that time, what with the bread he had eaten—though he was careful not to eat much and always to choose the cheapest—and the price of his lodging, about half of the gold piece was spent, and the baker’s daughter was able to give him the change from the money she had taken in the shop.

 

So he had no excuse for staying any longer, which grieved him because he had grown very fond of the baker’s daughter and did not like leaving her.

 

But he had an idea that his mother and father would not think her a very suitable bride for him, for princes cannot always marry whom they please, and so he rode sadly away.

 

But the farther he went the sadder he became, and at the end of two months he could bear it no longer, and so one fine morning he turned his horse’s head round and rode back again the way he had come.

 

“She is good and clever and beautiful,” he said. “What more can one want in a wife? When my mother and father see her they will love her as much as I do and will be quite willing that I should marry her.” Which really was very optimistic of him.

 

But alas, when he came to the village and sought the baker’s shop, he was met by strange faces.

 

The baker had died a month since, he was told, and his daughter had left the village and gone out into the world to work for her living, for she could not manage the bakehouse by herself and there was none to help her now that her father was gone.

 

The prince was very, very troubled and unhappy. He tried to find out something more about her, but his efforts were fruitless; no one seemed to know what had become of her.

 

“I will search the world over till I find her,” he said, “even if it take me the whole of my life.”

 

He wandered on and on, always making fresh inquiries, always hoping to hear something of his lost love, but always in vain.

 

And at last he got back to his own kingdom.

 

When his mother and father saw him they were horrified to find how pale and thin he had grown.

 

“Travelling doesn’t seem to suit you, my son,” said his father, looking at him rather seriously and stroking his beard.

 

“The poor boy is tired out,” said his mother. “He’ll look better when he’s had a good rest and some proper food. I don’t suppose he’s ever had a really wholesome meal in those foreign parts.”

 

But the prince remained thin and sad and listless, and at last he told his father and mother the cause of his unhappiness. At first they were a little upset at the idea of his wanting to marry so humble a person as the daughter of a village baker—“But that of course,” thought the prince, “is only because they don’t know her.”

 

And after a time, when they saw how unhappy he was and that all the distractions with which they provided him were unavailing, and that his one idea was to go out into the world again and search for the baker’s daughter, they were so troubled that they felt they would be only too glad if he could have the wish of his heart fulfilled.

 

And then one day as the prince was sitting quietly at breakfast with his parents he jumped up suddenly with an expression of the greatest excitement and joy.

 

“What is it, my son?” said his astonished mother.

 

The prince couldn’t speak for a moment. For one thing he was too excited, and for another his mouth was full of bread, and I told you before how well brought up he was.

 

But he pointed to the dish of breakfast rolls and kept on nodding his head and swallowing as hard as he could.

 

The king and queen thought at first that sorrow had affected his brain, but the prince was able to explain very soon. “The rolls, the rolls,” he said. “Her rolls, hers. No one else could make them so good. She must be here.” And he rushed off to the kitchen without further ado.

 

And there, sure enough, he found the baker’s daughter, peeling potatoes over the sink.

 

By the merest chance she had taken a place as kitchen-maid in the king’s palace, though she hadn’t the faintest idea, when she did so, that the king’s son was the same person as the handsome stranger who had once stayed in her father’s house.

 

And though she had been there a month she had never seen him. How should she? King’s palaces are big places, and the kitchen-maids stay in the kitchen premises, so that she and the prince might never have come face to face at all if it had not happened that, owing to the illness of the royal roll-maker, she had undertaken to make the breakfast rolls that morning.

 

When the king and queen saw how sweet and beautiful she was they made no objection to her as a bride for their son, and so he asked her at once to marry him, which she consented to do, for she loved him as much as he loved her.

 

“I don’t know that I should have chosen a baker’s daughter for our son’s wife,” said the queen to her husband when they talked it over that evening. “But she’s certainly a charming girl, and quite nice people go into business nowadays.”

 

“She’ll make him an excellent wife,” said the king. “Those rolls were delicious.”

 

So they got married quite soon after. The wedding was a rather quiet one because the bride was in mourning for her father, whom she had loved dearly. All the same, it was a very nice affair, and everybody was most jolly and gay. The prince and his wife had a beautiful house not very far from the palace, and I think it is extremely likely that they lived happily ever after.

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THE PRINCE AND THE BAKER’S DAUGHTER – A Free Story

From the eBook “The Rainbow Cat” by Rose Fyleman

ISBN: 9788835349068

URL/DownLoad Link: http://bit.ly/2ScrFPj

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