The Wise King of Leon
There was a very rich nobleman who had three sons, he gave the eldest son his page, the second his butler, and the youngest his barber.
The barber fell in love with the king’s only daughter, who was just as fond of him; and when the king heard of this, he decided on putting a stop to it, so he called for the princess, and said: “I know that you are in love with my barber, and if you insist on marrying him I will have you killed.”The princess, on hearing her father say this, became very sad, and asked him to allow her one day for consideration, to which the king acceded.
She then went to her room, and getting together some of her finest dresses, she made them up into a bundle, and left the palace by a secret door.
For 7 days and nights, the princess walked through the forest, living off of wild berries, and water kept in the flowers. She stopped by to rest in the trunk of a tree.The king sent the barber to look for her, and told him that if he didn’t find the princess within a year, he would have the barber killed.
The princess had not been resting for long, when the barber approached sighing and saying to himself ” Woe is me, for I shall never find the princess! There are so many lovely damsels in Castille, and yet I must fall in love with the king’s only daughter.”The princess heard and replied “Woe is the king’s daughter! There are so many gallants in Spain, and yet she must fall in love with her father’s barber!” The barber searched from where the voice came, but couldn’t find it, and he laid on the oak tree in which the princess was hidden. The princess then swapped clothes with the barber, and rode back to the kingdom of Leon.
She went up to the king, and asked him if she could be the barber, the king, unnoticing accepted this proposal. When the REAL barber woke, he noticed his clothes, and horse were gone, so he put on the princess’s dress. According to the fashion of the day, he made a pretty woman.
When he reached to the kingdom of Leon, he was accepted as a daughter of the neighbouring king of Castille.
The King of Leon was so charmed with the beauty of the new arrival that he could not sleep, and so he sent for the barber, to whom he confided his love. The real princess was much astonished to hear that her lover was in the palace, for she guessed it was he in female clothes; but she kept quiet until her lover was asleep in bed, and then she stole into his room, put back his clothes, and took her own away.
The king got up earlier than usual, for he was so anxious to see the new arrival; but before doing so he sent for the barber to shave him.They looked everywhere for him, but without success; and at last, in despair, they went to the bedroom of the new arrival, and, knocking at the door, intimated the king’s command that she should present herself.The princess was ready; and, slipping past the courtiers, presented herself before the king. “Who are you?” inquired the king.“I am the daughter of the King of Castille, as I informed your mercy yesterday,” answered the princess.“But where, then, is my barber?” rejoined the king.“What does one king’s daughter know about another king’s barber?” said the princess.At this moment the real barber presented himself, and humbly begged the king’s pardon for having deceived him.“But who are you?” roared the king. “Are you a barber or a thief?”“I am the youngest son of a marquess,” answered the youth, “a barber by trade, and affianced to the daughter of the King of Castille.”Then the princess stepped forward and explained everything to the king, who was so interested with what he heard, that the princess and the barber had to tell the tale over and over again to him. Then he said—“I have been shaved by the King of Castille’s daughter, and I have courted his barber. I will not be again deceived. They shall now be man and wife for ever.”This was the wise King of Leon.