The Glass Slipper

Once upon a time there lived a Prince. He was a young man of taste and discernment, at least as far as objects were concerned  and he had an eye for fine paintings and old furniture, but above all he loved diamonds, cut-glass and crystal-ware. The very word ‘glass’ gave him extraordinarily comfortable and satisfying sensation. This love and appreciation of fine things lead him to feel, as it so often does, that he too was a person of fine  and even noble character. But, and this is the true test, did he spread happiness and joy around him where ever he went? Unhappily it seems that the answer to this question was probably no.

 Many people have wondered whether or not insight is a gift, or whether it is something you have to first choose and then strive for. Whichever it is, by all accounts this prince did not have much of it. He liked to think of himself as a man of the people, but whenever he left a group of workmen or servants or even of Peers of the Realm, the most common remark was ‘charming’ or else ‘charming I’m sure’ so that he became known throughout the land as Prince Charming. Perhaps he had too much given to him, perhaps not, but whatever the reason he never experienced the satisfaction that can come from even the smallest achievements.

 His father, the King, was of a very different metal. He too had been born into luxury and had rarely known hardship, but he had the seeds of what is often known as compassion and although he would not go out of his way to share the meagre lot of many of his subjects, he did not scorn them or feel that he was anything other than extremely lucky with his lot. To his great sorrow he could see that this were not how things stood with his son. When the King was a young Prince himself, the time had come for his to marry and strict protocol had been observed so that his choice was limited to eldest daughters from neighbouring countries and indeed the outcome was largely determined by his doting, but misguided mother. The result was a marriage between two young people who had only royalty in common. The Princess, soon to be Queen, was happy enough with her new freedom and increased wealth, but her husband, outwardly cheerful, languished. His sadness diminished greatly when his son was born, but he was not permitted the intimacy with the child that would have given him pleasure such as he had never known.