Editor’s Note: Transcribed from the oral traditions of Cistercian Preparatory School. For the class of ’78.
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, lived a beautiful Princess, and her grumpy father, the King.
The Princess longed to be married, but no suitor was ever good enough for her grumpy father. Every few weeks, a Prince would approach the castle to call on her, but as he got closer, the King would send the Royal Guardsmen, and they would chase the Prince away.
The Guardsmen would then collect the flowers and candy, and bring them to the King, who particularly liked the nougat-filled candies.
The Princess was lonely.
Finally, as she heard the Guardsmen preparing to chase another Prince away from the castle, the Princess went to the Royal Court to confront her father. She approached the throne and stamped her foot. “Daddy! How am I ever going to marry if your stupid Royal Guardsmen keep chasing all he Princes away?”
The King didn’t like having feet stomped at him, so he said, “Fine. This Prince may enter the castle. However, he must perform a task before he is allowed to meet you. Go to your room.”
The Prince, whose name was Julius, approached the throne, and bowed before the King, who said, “I understand you would like to meet my daughter.” Prince Julius said, “Yes, Your Majesty, I would like to do so very much.”
The King frowned and said, “To prove you are sincere, you must climb to the highest point in the castle, and jump into the moat. If you survive, you are worthy to meet my daughter.”
So, the next morning, with trumpets blaring and most of the village watching, Prince Julius climbed to the highest parapet, bowed to the King, and plunged to his death.
The King said, “He was not worthy. Also, he probably shouldn’t have worn his chain mail.”
Word spread that there was now a chance you could meet the Princess, so other Princes came to the castle, and even without chain mail, did not survive the plunge. After a few weeks, the line started slowing considerably.
So, the King changed the test. Word spread you didn’t have to plunge to your death, and two days later, Prince Melchior approached the castle. He bowed to the King, who said, “You must go into the forest behind the castle, and slay the fearsome dragon. To prove the dragon is truly slain, you must bring me his ears.”
Prince Melchior said, “As you wish”, gathered his weapons, and headed into the forest.
He was gone for weeks. He was gone so long, other Princes were trying to decide if it was improper to visit the castle while he was still missing, and presumably working on the task.
He was gone so long, the Princess began to think he had abandoned her.
Finally, after almost six weeks, one morning, the guard at the main gate noticed a small box in the middle of the road. When he opened it, it contained two ears. However, they were not dragon ears.
Everyone missed Prince Melchior.
After that, no suitors approached the castle for a very long time. The Princess became convinced she would die an Old Maid, and was very sad, indeed.
Then, one morning, Prince Denis approached the castle. He was a bit scruffier than most Princes, he was the first Prince anyone remembered who wore a leather jacket, and he had a toothpick hanging out of the side of his mouth, but at this point, the Princess was willing to settle. A Prince was a Prince, and he could always fix him after they were married.
Prince Denis approached the throne, nodded at the King, and said, “Where’s this Princess that people are dying to meet?”
The King was annoyed, but stayed calm. “In order to met my daughter, you must complete a task. I command you to go into the forest, and …” “DADDY!”
The King cleared his throat and said, “I command you to climb to the highest parapet …” “DADDY!!!”
The King looked very annoyed, indeed, and said, “I command you to go into the village and buy me a pack of cigarettes.”
The Royal Court gasped.
Prince Denis looked astounded. “What? With my own money?”
The King looked extremely annoyed, and said, “Get some petty cash from the Royal Treasurer.”
And so, at midday the next day, since Prince Denis was not a morning person, with trumpets blaring (which did not help his hang-over), he made his way to the village. As crowds cheered, he walked into the tobacconist, and said, “Pack of Marlboro 100s, please.”
He collected the cigarettes, pocketed the change, and headed back to the castle.
Sadly, as he approached the castle gates, he was struck and killed by a big, green Cistercian bus, on its way to a soccer game.
And the moral of the story is, “Smoking is hazardous to your health.” (The bonus moral is, “Look both ways before you cross the street.”)