One of the beauties of fairy tales is that we can reinvent them according to our values, culture, or personal experience. But what modern day princess would want to reinvent the prince? OK, he’s often a “love at first sight” type of guy, even if the eyes he’s gazing into happen to be closed at first. But love at first sight is nice--we are talking about fairy tales after all--and she’ll reciprocate when she wakes up. What with the slaying of dragons or giants, rescuing the princess from an arranged marriage to someone she has no feelings for, not to mention all that kissing, Prince Charming is pretty heroic.
But there is a prince who doesn’t really stand up to the scrutiny of a modern day princess. I’m talking about Prince Creepy. Take for instance, Rapunzel’s prince. He hears her singing and knows she’s the girl for him. So he’s decisive. But instead of introducing himself, he lurks around a little, finds out how to gain access to her tower, and does it by impersonating Rapunzel’s mother. Rapunzel seems to find Prince Creepy a pleasant surprise, but you have to wonder how she likes wandering around in the desert, the unwed mother of twins.
Then there is Snow White’s prince. He sees this beautiful girl, decides he can’t live without her and wants to take her home to introduce her to his parents. But there’s one thing that’s just a little odd. She is dead at the time. And he has no way of knowing that all it will take to bring her back to life is the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge that bit of poisoned apple. No, he has no idea about that part. And yet Prince Creepy has her coffin carted back home so he can spend some quality time with her in the privacy of his own castle.
Finally, there is Donkeyskin’s prince. Donkeyskin is one of the many versions of the Cinderella story. In some versions, the prince meets his princess at a ball, in others, he sees her at church, but Donkeyskin’s prince first spies her through a keyhole. She is using her day off to try on the beautiful dresses she brought with her from home. Prince Creepy happens to be walking by her door and decides to have a peep. Of course, at least in Perrault’s version of the story, Donkeyskin has the idea she’s being watched. And she kind of likes it. So to each her own, I suppose. But for myself, I prefer the sort of prince who introduces himself first. And I want to be awake for the kissing.
Lissa’s work has appeared in the Little Red Riding Hood issue of Enchanted Conversation. She is half English, half American, and lives with her husband (who is not at all creepy) and family in Kansas City.
Altered image originally by HM Rheam.