I found a fairy tale I wrote in Czech, so for fun I’m going to translate parts of it every week. It’s very simple (don’t expect literary titillation here), but so far it’s fun! So here you go…
Once upon a time there was a tall, proud castle on a beautiful coastline. Inside lived a proud king. This proud king had a proud daughter, and this daughter had a proud cat.
As is customary for such proud creatures, the cat walked past the castle with its tail proudly erect, the princess walked proudly with her nose up, and the king walked with his chest puffed proudly out.
Why were they so proud, do you ask? Actually, I think not even they knew why. They just lived in this proud castle, day by day, proudly and happily. They did nothing other than eat, drink and sleep. The cat loved the sun. The princess liked to sing (although, according to a proud cat, she did not do it well). The king liked sitting on his throne and ruling his subjects. And when they did not do that, they walked proudly. Every day came and went with the regularity of a metronome. One could say that it was a tedious life when they just walked and were proudly proud.
But there was one interesting thing, because something unusual happened at night.
Every night, the king sneaked out wrapped in a black cloak, his face obscured with a hood. He rode away on black horse under cover of moonlight and did not return until early morning. No one knew where he went. No one ever saw him leave. His proud daughter, with her proud dreams, had no idea. The cat, who loved to chase the mice at night, did not even care.
And where did he go? That was his secret, although, as we all know, secrets can hardly be hidden forever. The day comes and, without us knowing how, the secret is out, because secrets must always be revealed at utterly inappropriate moments. That is, at least, how it is in stories, and as the King discovered, that’s how it happens in real life, as well.
The day of the princess’s birthday celebration arrived. She was turning twenty. A little old for an unmarried princess, but she was too proud to be married to just anyone! Should she be content with a man who was not the sheer embodiment of her dreams? That could not be! After all, every reasonable girl only marries a man who is perfect for her. And the proud princess needed a proper prince, someone fetching, courageous and gallant.
Unfortunately, no such prince had come yet. She despised all her other poor suitors.
After all, what could a proud princess do other than despise them?
Today, however, another matter burdened her thoughts, because she had found her proud father completely transformed at breakfast. His proud chest seemed to hide beneath his chin. His head slumped, tilted toward the ground. His back was hunched and his hands hung helplessly at his sides. He did not eat his favorite egg eyes, just ogled the egg as if it had real eyes that returned his gaze.
“Father!” cried the princess. “What’s happening? Where is your pride?”
“My pride, Damarishko, is gone,” the king said in a tired voice, without looking up from his egg eyes. “I had to solve a problem… and tonight it will be yours,” he added sadly, entrenched in self-pity.
“How is your problem going to be mine tonight, Father? Are you ill? Surely not that!” Damarishka was on the brink of tears.
“Do not be foolish, girl. No illness would dare to make me so angry. I rule the kingdom; I do not have time for such stupidity,” growled the king, straightening a little.
“So tell me what’s going on!” she pleaded earnestly.
“You will find out in the evening.” The king rose from the table then and left the room without a single word.
The untouched egg eyes looked almost reproachfully at Damarishka, but she ignored them, thinking furiously. So her dad was throwing a problem at her that he could not solve himself? Had she heard that correctly?
Whatever the case was, she was proud that she had not lost her pride as her father had apparently lost his.