Scrivener Jones had been married to the princess for only six weeks before he figured out she’d been trying to kill him.
When they say in fairy tales how the bumbling adventurer lucks into the solution to the kingdom’s problems, they always end with the hero marrying the princess. The princess is a bonus, like a gold watch. But this princess had been brought up thinking she would marry the prince from the neighboring kingdom, so when the giant attacked and Scrivener was the hero, she was still in shock for a few days after the events. Then she realized what was about to happen and had Scrivener’s wine poisoned. But Scrivener was allergic to raspberries-they made him itch-so he turned down the wine and later on his manservant was the one found purple and gasping like a beached fish.
The king, who was not foolish, gave the princess a good talking to about not poisoning her betrothed and she resolved to be more subtle. But the assassin she’d hired went into the wrong room. Rather he went into the right room, and Scrivener had given up his room to the pig boy while he was out carousing in the village. He came back to a very frightened pig boy who claimed that a ghost had lifted up his bed clothes and swore at him.
For this the princess was actually spanked. Yes, she was not above royal discipline, and the king didn’t know what else to do. She didn’t speak to her father for a month after that, and by then the wedding had taken place. So now she was married to the idiot, and Scrivener had been somewhat insistent about certain husbandly duties. The princess had been putting him off with excuses about a medical condition but he was getting impatient. And the king would hear about it. Right now Scrivener was sleeping on the floor of their bedroom, but the princess lived in fear of her father asking Scrivener why he looked so tired rather than slapping him heartily on the back and chuckling.
So the princess had arranged for Scrivener to engage in a friendly joust. She’d given him and untrained horse that might throw him, a chest plate with a center area remade of soft lead rather than steel which she assured him was the fashion, and a sword and lance so poorly made they would break at the first blow. Scrivener’s opponent was a baron smitten with the princess who promised that he would end this miserable peasant’s life.
Poor Scrivener didn’t know the first thing about jousting, so went trustingly out into the field. His lance missed on the first pass, but his shield got a glancing blow and flew into pieces. Scrivener thought it was supposed to do that. On his second pass he bumped his opponent with the lance, and the thing shattered into a dozen pieces. Scrivener saw the king turn purple and shout at him, but he just waved because he thought he was being cheered on. On the next pass Scrivener’s horse threw him just as his opponent’s lance partially pierced his breastplate, so that rather than passing through Scrivener the lance slid through the soft lead and alongside Scrivener’s chest, holding him in midair momentarily rather than allowing him to fall. His weight pulled his opponent from the saddle and both men collapsed to the ground.
Scrivener knew enough that he was supposed to get up. He did so, and his opponent had already drawn his sword. The baron clanged his sword on his breastplate in a show of defiance, so Scrivener pulled out his sword and clanged back. Scrivener’s sword fell into a dozen pieces. It was only when he was looking down at his shattered sword, and then at the hole in his chest plate, that Scrivener figured out his wife was trying to kill him. He shrieked in fear as the baron raced at him with an upraised sword. The noise riled Scrivener’s unbroken horse, who reared behind Scrivener. Scrivener back pedaled but slipped over a piece of his shattered sword.
Both the horse and the baron grunted in triumph, but the horse came down first, getting in the way of the Baron. The baron swatted at the horse with the flat of his blade, and the horse responded by head butting the baron into the dirt. Scrivener rolled to safety while his two opponents went after each other and the princess ground her teeth in frustration.
The king looked daggers at his daughter, and chased her out of the stands. As she ran, the princess slipped in the horse manure and went down. She pleaded with her father, who was determined that now his daughter had gone too far.
Scrivener caught up to them and clapped a restraining hand on the king’s shoulder. He picked up the princess out of the dung and laughed. He told the king how it had been his foolishness that had gotten him to pick out that terrible horse, shield, sword and armor. “My wife tried to tell me, and I’ve learned my lesson. From now on, I’ll always listen to her.” The king was suspicious, but mollified. That night Scrivener didn’t have to sleep on the floor. And the princess ruled the kingdom very well after her father’s death, while Scrivener took the children on adventures.
Moral: Sometimes when a relationship doesn’t work, you need to rethink the relationship.