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Baroness Emmuska Orczy

("Az mdr nem igaz!")

O NCE upon a time there was a princess who was very beautiful, but very eccentric. She announced publicly that she would only marry the man who could tell her father, the king, a story which he could not believe. Now, in a village there dwelt a poor young peasant, who, hearing of this proclamation, went up to the king's palace, and loudly knocking at the gates demanded an audience of His Majesty.

The king knew very well what the young fellow wanted, as by that time many princes and knights had come on the same errand, in the hope of winning the beautiful princess, but they had all failed.

So John, the young peasant was admitted to the royal presence.

"Good morning, your Majesty," he said.

"Good morning, my lad. Well, what do you want?" asked the king, kindly.

"So please, your Majesty, I want a wife."

"Very good, lad; but what would you keep her on?"

"Oh! I dare say I could manage to keep her pretty comfortably. My father has a pig."

"Indeed!" said the king.

"A wonderful pig, your Majesty; he has kept my father, my mother, seven sisters, and myself, for the last twenty years."

"Indeed!" said the king.

"He gives us as good a quart of milk every morning as any cow."

"Indeed!" said the king.

"Yes, your Majesty, and lays most delicious eggs for our breakfast."

"Indeed!" said the king.

"And every day my mother cuts a nice bit of bacon out of his side, and every night it grows together again."

"Indeed!" said the king.

"The other day this pig disappeared, my mother looked for him high and low, he was nowhere to be seen."

"That was very sad," said the king.

"Finally, she found him in the larder, catching mice."

"A very useful pig!" said the king.

"My father sent him into town every day to do errands for him."

"Very wise of your father," said the king.

"He ordered all my father's clothes, aye, and mine too, of your Majesty's own tailor."

"They do appear very well made!" said the king.

"Yes, your Majesty, and he pays all the bills out of the gold he picks up on the road."

"A very precious pig," said the king.

"Latterly he has seemed unruly, and rather out of sorts."

"That's very sad!" said the king.

"He has refused to go where he is told, and won't allow my mother to have any more bacon from his side."

"He should be chastised!" said the king.

"Besides which, your Majesty, he is growing rather blind, and can't see where he is going."

"He should be led," said the king.

"Yes, your Majesty, that is why my father has just engaged your father to look after him."

"That's not true," yelled the king . . . then suddenly he remembered his daughter's promise. So he was obliged to allow the princess to marry the peasant's son, but this he never regretted, for the peasant's son became a most clever and amiable young prince, and lived happily with his bride and his father-in-law for very many years. Years after, when John became the king, all his people declared they had never had so wise a ruler. Then it was that he romanced no longer but was always believed and respected.