Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a king whose name was Jacob. King Jacob and his wife, Queen Isabelle, had a very handsome son whose name was Prince Andrew. The King, the Queen, and the Prince lived in a beautiful marble palace surrounded by beautiful gardens. The gardens had beautiful plants in them. Some of them were flowering plants, some of them were fruit plants, and some of them were there just for the beauty of their colorful leaves.
Aside from the plants, the gardens in the front and on the two sides of the palace had big and small lawns, which looked like green velvet in summer. There were also many stone-walled small ponds in which gold fish and other colorful fishes swam. Beautiful hedges, fountains, marble statues on pedestals, and thick bushy plants trimmed in the shapes of various animals added to the beauty of the gardens. Pathways covered with pebbles of various colors crisscrossed all the gardens.
|In spring and summer, when the flowers bloomed, the palace gardens looked like a fairyland. There were flowers of all colors - red, yellow, purple, blue, pink, violet, white, orange, magenta - you name it. Many of the flowers were sweetly scented which one could smell from a distance. The flowers attracted bees and butterflies - so many different kinds of butterflies.|
The garden on the backside of the palace was more like an orchard. It consisted of mostly fruit trees. The trees in the gardens were the playground of so many different kinds of birds. The birds would sing and chirp happily in the palace gardens from dawn to dusk.
|When Prince Andrew turned 25 years old, Queen Isabelle wanted him to get married. However, finding a princess suitable for Prince Andrew was not an easy task. Andrew would not marry just any princess. She would not only have to be exquisitely beautiful, but also very brave so as to be able to accompany her husband on his hunting expeditions. Andrew was a top class sportsman. He was a champion swimmer and rider. He also excelled in the games of polo and golf. But above all, he was a very skilled hunter and that was what Andrew enjoyed most. The palace bore the evidence of this. Most of the halls and rooms of the palace had tiger heads, deer heads, bison heads, and bear heads mounted on the walls. Some of the walls, couches and floors of the palace were decorated with tiger and deer skins, all of which were game caught by Andrew. Prince Andrew was not only a superior marksman, he was also very brave. Many times he risked his life to shoot these animals.|
|So when King Jacob and Queen Isabelle insisted that Andrew must find the partner of his life, Andrew said: "Okay, I shall go out tomorrow morning in search of my princess. But on one condition - I shall go alone. And I shall not return until I find the princess of my choice." After some argument, the king and the queen accepted Andrew's terms. They blessed Andrew and prayed for the success of his mission. Queen Isabelle said: "Dear, please come back quickly. I shall not be able to sleep until you return with your future bride." Andrew replied: "Don't worry, mother. I shall soon return with your future daughter-in-law."|
The next morning, just when the sun was rising, Andrew set out alone on his white horse. He rode off towards the west. In the first light of the morning, King Jacob and Queen Isabelle watched as Andrew disappeared on the horizon behind the dust rising from the hoofs of his galloping horse.
Both the King and the Queen prayed silently for his safe return.
After riding for three and a half days, Prince Andrew came to land's end. In front of him was a vast sea.
It was impossible for him to go forward on his horse. He said to himself: "I am not going back. I must swim across
the sea to reach the other end. Then I shall continue my journey on the other side of the sea and try to find my bride." Andrew wrote a note to his parents, attached it to the horse's saddle, and signaled for the horse to go back to his stable in the palace. The horse understood and left to return to the palace.
After riding for three and a half days, Prince Andrew came to land's end. In front of him was a vast sea. It was impossible for him to go forward on his horse. He said to himself: "I am not going back. I must swim across the sea to reach the other end. Then I shall continue my journey on the other side of the sea and try to find my bride." Andrew wrote a note to his parents, attached it to the horse's saddle, and signaled for the horse to go back to his stable in the palace. The horse understood and left to return to the palace.
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