The Pirate Princess

Once there were two kings who longed to be fathers, but neither had any children.  Wanting to remedy their situations, both kings set out and soon came to the cave of a sorcerer.  They explained to the sorcerer and each other that they wished for children to be born to them and their queens.  The sorcerer told them what he had seen written in the stars:

“You,” he said to one king “are destined to have a son, and you,” he addressed the other “will soon have a daughter.  Your two children will be destined to marry.  If you permit this, you, your children, and their children will share a great blessing.  If not, their marriage will happen anyway, but only after many have suffered.”  Having heard this, the two kings vowed to each other that their children would marry.

Before a year had passed, the kings’ children were born.  One was a boy and the other a girl, but both kings were so busy ruling their kingdoms that they forgot their vows to each other.  But this did not prevent them from meeting the sorcerer, for when they were old enough, they were both sent off to study in a foreign land with this man as their mentor.

The prince and princess met while studying together.  They became friends, and over time they fell in love.  The sorcerer said nothing of their destiny, for he wanted them to be kept together only by their love.

After they finished studying and returned to their kingdoms, all could see they were unhappy, but nobody knew why.  When the prince told his father why he was so sad, he included who this princess was and which kingdom she had gone home to.  Hearing this, the king remembered his vow to the other king and wrote him a letter.  The letter, which said that their child shall now be wed, was delivered by the prince in person, but when the princess’ father received it, he was afraid.  Having also forgotten about his promise, he had since betrothed his daughter to the prince of a very rich and powerful kingdom.  Terrified of what this prince’s father might do to him if he canceled the betrothal, this king decided to keep the prince with him until his daughter had married the other prince.  While the prince was staying with the princess’ father, he was not allowed to see her.

The prince and the princess lived apart but under the same roof until one day, the princess’ servant told her of a prince being hidden away in the castle.  She described him, and the princess knew it was her true love.   She asked her servant which bed chamber he was staying in, and as soon as she knew, she started passing by this room frequently.  After the prince caught a glimpse of her in the mirror, he arranged to meet her in secret.  When the prince learned she had been betrothed to another, the two of them ran away in secret.  They climbed out of the window and ran to the prince’s ship.  Then they set sail, and by the time the king discovered they were missing, they were already far away.

They sailed until they were in need of fresh food and water.  When they spied an island, they sailed there, anchored the ship, and walked into the forest together.  The princess climbed a fruit tree and tossed fruit down to the prince, who filled a sack with it.  While she was picking the fruit, however, the princess was spied by the cruel and selfish son of a merchant.  He saw her through a telescope while on his ship, and he was so astonished by her beauty that he decided to capture her.  He set off with several soldiers, all of them armed with weapons.  When the princess saw them coming, she told the prince to hide, not revealing himself no matter what happened.  She tossed her ring to him, vowing that if they were separated, they would one day be reunited.

The merchant’s son approached the princess and spoke sweetly for her to come down from the tree, but she refused.  Then he ordered his men to cut the tree down.  Before he could do it, however, the princess agreed to come down and go with the son of the merchant.  She, however, had plans of her own.

Before boarding the ship with the merchant’s son, the princess made him vow not to touch her until they were married.  He agreed, but when he asked her who she was, she wouldn’t reveal that information until they were married either.

When they arrived in the homeland of the merchant’s son, the princess told him to inform his family that he had his future bride with him.  She also asked him to give wine to all his sailors to celebrate.

The merchant’s son did as he was asked, but before long, all the sailors were drunk.  They decided to leave the ship and explore this new town.  As soon as all the sailors were gone, the princess, he had not had a drop of wine, sailed away by herself.  When the merchant and his family found the ship and sailors missing, the merchant angrily drove his son out of the house.

While searching at sea for her lost love, the princess was once again captured, this time by a king who had built his castle on the shore.  The king asked the princess to marry him, and she agreed on three conditions: the king would not touch her until they were married, the ship would not be unloaded until then, and she would be given the eleven cleverest women in the court as her ladies in waiting.  All conditions were met at the king’s castle, including the ladies in waiting.  One day, the princess told these ladies of her secret plan, and they all snuck off onto the ship.  As soon as the princess was sure the coast was clear, the twelve of them sailed away.

They sailed until they came to an island, which they soon saw belonged to a band of blood-thirsty pirates.  The pirates tried to kill the ladies, but when the princess agreed to share the wealth she had stolen from the merchant, they put down their weapons.  They celebrated their agreement by drinking wine, and soon all the pirates were drunk.  As soon as the wine had put them all asleep, the princess and her ladies killed the pirates.  Then they collected all of the pirates’ treasures from the island, loaded them onto the ship, and made themselves uniforms so they would look like sailors while at sea.

Once the lady pirates were at sea again, they sailed a long time until they reached a distant port.  They docked the ship and went into the city, where they witnessed a great commotion.  All the people were running in one direction, and, as the ladies soon found out, the king had died without any heirs.  The queen was about to drop his old crown and have whoever caught it become the new king.  Suddenly, a hard object fell right on the pirate princess’ head.  It was the crown!   Thinking she was a man, everyone bowed down to her and chanted “Long live the king!”

It was first arranged that this “young man” was to marry the queen, but on closer inspection, “he” was clearly very young, and they decided this person should marry the daughter of the chief vizier instead.  The queen agreed to this, for she no longer wanted to rule.  Once along with this young woman, the pirate princess confessed she was a woman and told her everything.  Together, they came up with a plan.

The next day, the princess called all the sculptors into the palace and ordered them to make sculptures of their new king.  These were to be put up at all the crossroads, and soldiers were to arrest anyone who show emotion while seeing the sculptures.

Through this endeavor, the three people the princess was looking for were arrested.  These included her beloved, the merchant’s son, and the king who had captured her.  They all recognized her in the sculpture and thus showed emotion.

On the day of the wedding, all three of this people were brought before the princess.  She asked what had happened since she had seen them last, and each one told his story.  While the king and the merchant’s son had come here by pure coincidence while seeking their daily bread, the princess’ true love had come looking for her after finding her clothes and the bodies of the pirates on the island.                           Being kind-hearted and forgiving, the princess let her ladies in waiting go home to the kingdom where they lived.  She also gave the merchant’s son back his ship, which was full of many more valuables than before.   Then she finally approached her true love, and they agreed to be married that very day.  After hearing their stories, the people of the kingdom were so impressed they wanted this couple to stay as their new king and queen.  They did, and everybody lived happily ever after.


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Filed under Fairy Tale Retellings, Jewish Fairy Tales

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