The Jousting Princess

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Once upon a time, there lived a princess who wished she was able to do more than she was allowed to do. She followed through on this doctrine, becoming friends with the sword trainer’s son, who was a little older than she was in age. They met together every day, training in jousting and sword fighting while talking to each other.
Her father thought she was becoming too un-ladylike, and allowed her only girl things. She hated having to sit down, embroider and take strolls down the garden. Her parents found out about her friendship with the trainer’s son, and forbade her to see him. During the period in which she did not see him, the princess found out that she was in love with him, and so she continued to train with him secretly, still guarding her feelings for him.
One day, the king announced that there was to be a jousting match for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The princess was aghast when she heard this. That afternoon, the princess met with the trainer’s son again for her sword practice. Throughout their practice, the two tried to think of ways to get the princess out of her crisis, but, alas, they could not think of anything to save her. Right before the two departed, the princess told the trainer’s son that she was going to partake in the event and win her own hand in marriage. She was good at jousting and she would surely be able to win over the knights that were to compete. In addition, she would not have to marry the winner of the tournament; she would be able to decide whom she wanted to marry. He gave her a queer, small smile, and the princess thought she saw some sadness in his eyes.
The day of the tournament finally came. Right before her family went outside to the arena, the princess told them she felt a little queasy. Even though the king insisted she go, the queen told him to let her stay in her room¬—for he would not want the people of his empire to see the princess sick at the tournament. As soon as they left, the princess changed into jerkins and a linen shirt and went to the stables where the trainer’s son was waiting. The princess walked to him, and he handed her his prized sword and scabbard. “For you,” he said. She was pleasantly surprised. It had been his most beloved possession. Thanking him, she took on her coat of armor, with his help. It was alarmingly heavy, and she hoped she would be able to ply her sword with as much control as she had before. As she placed on her helmet and prepared to close the lid, the boy stopped her. “Listen. Are you really sure you want to do this?”
“Of course I’m sure.” She replied, “I cannot just be promised off to any knight or noble who thinks they might have my hand in marriage. Besides, my heart is already promised to another.” The trainer’s son looked her in her eyes, and she blushed.
“Who?” He asked with a tinge of something in his voice. The princess did not answer him, and only trotted out of the stables. She could not let any disappointments mar the competition.
The king did not recognize his daughter, wearing black armor on her ebony horse, which was draped in gold and white trimmings. They made a pretty sight, a-prance amid the lines of drab hopefuls.
At last, the contest began. One after another, men lost. Finally, it was the princess’s turn. She was against a knight in gold armor, trimmed with blue. The horn sounded and the princess rode out and knocked him off his horse before he had a chance even to touch her. Now she had to wait for her next turn. While she watched men lose, the princess looked at how they rode and conquered. The silver knight with green trim rode loosely, making his opponents believe he was an easy target. When he reached his opponent, he tightened his grasp on his stallion and knocked his challenger off his steed. Somewhere the princess had seen his method before…
Finally, only she and the silver and green knight remained. They were to compete in three rounds. During the first round, the silver knight hit the princess squarely in the stomach. The second time the princess used his technique riding loosely until she reached him. Then she tightened her grip on her mount, hit the knight squarely in the stomach, and knocked him off. Now it was the third and final round. The knight slammed into the princess, making her lose her grip on the reins. She grabbed her reins quickly and put up her lance just before the knight reached her. She heard her lance crack as it hit her target and she felt pain when his lance hit her. She fell off her horse and watched him fall off his. The boss of the match called out, “The match is tied! It looks as though these two knights will have to choose who will marry the princess.”
The knight stood up and walked over to where the princess had fallen, gritting his teeth in pain. He reached down to help her up. “Are you alright?” He whispered to her.
She had heard his voice before—he was the trainer’s son! “Yes, I’m fine. Thank you.” She stood up and walked to the center of the ring. “There is no reason to do that,” she called out as she reached up and pulled off her helmet. Her hair draped over her shoulders. The king gasped when he saw her. “I will marry the knight that has knocked me off.”
The knight stood up and took off his helmet. The princess was right; it was the trainer’s son. “I will happily marry her.” Now it was the trainer’s turn to gasp. Because the king had promised his daughter to the person who won the joust, he could not argue.
Therefore, the princess and the trainer’s son married and lived happily ever after.





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