The Enchanted Prince
Many years ago there lived a very rich king in a beautiful city near a wild forest, the home of many wicked witches. The king had a gallant son named Ucay, who fell in love with a beautiful young witch, the daughter of the most bitter enemy of his father.
When Ucay became old enough to marry, his father requested him to select the most beautiful lady in the city for his wife, but the prince would neither select one, nor would he tell his father about his love for the witch. So the rich king ordered his soldiers to bring to the palace all the beautiful women that could be found in the kingdom. His order was soon obeyed, but none of the girls suited the prince.
So the king took the matter of selection into his own hands and, after choosing a very handsome girl, he forced his son to marry her. Out of fear, Ucay consented to do as his father bade him.
But the beautiful young witch to whom he had already pledged his love became angry with him for his timidity, and so she resolved to change the city into a forest of beautiful trees. Her fickle lover she transformed into a monkey, who should live in the tallest tree and who should not be able to recover his human shape till five centuries had passed when a charming girl would live with him and love him more than anything else. Moreover, she changed the king’s subjects into other animals as she pleased.
No sooner had the marriage of the prince been proclaimed, then, than the desire of the witch was accomplished, to the great surprise of the neighboring cities.
Four centuries had already passed. The wonderful disappearance of the city was already forgotten, and people from other places began to build houses in the enchanted city. The monkey-prince was always watching for an opportunity to catch a beautiful girl who should break the spell that kept him in his miserable condition.
Soon a church was built near the foot of the tree in which he lived. He had already succeeded in capturing two ladies, but they had died of fear. After incalculable suffering and extraordinary patience, the time for his recovery came at last.
One Sunday morning before the mass was over, a very beautiful girl, the daughter of a poor man, came out of the church and sat at the foot of the tree. She had been disappointed in her love with a rich man’s son who had forsaken her in order to marry the daughter of a rich man. So she wished to die.
When the monkey-prince saw her sitting there alone, he noiselessly went down, carefully took her by the right hand, and carried her to the top of the tree. She would have died of fright, as was the fate of the two former women, had she not seen in the monkey’s eyes a noble look that filled her with wonder and sympathy. As days went by, she lived on delicious fruits which were entirely strange to her, and her love for the poor creature grew greater and greater until at last she loved him more than anything else.
On the evening of the tenth day, she was surprised to find herself beside a gallant prince in a richly-decorated room. At first she thought that she was dreaming, but when the prince woke up, kissed her, and then told her the history of his life, she knew that it was real. She was so astonished that she exclaimed, “Ah, me! God is wise!”
The next morning she was crowned queen of her husband’s happy subjects, whom she had restored from the enchantment of the wicked witch. Everyone in the kingdom loved his new queen as long as he lived.