Another Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess who may or may not have had all the blessings and safety and comfort that princesses should have.  She grew up and met a handsome prince, who was the strongest and the fastest in all the land.  And maybe he was good to her, told her how beautiful she was, said how much he loved her, and sprinkled in a few hurtful things about how lucky she was to be with him that gave her pause but didn’t stop her from falling in love with him and wanting to build her life with him.

As time went by, the prince’s reputation as the strongest and fastest spread to other kingdoms, and his fortune grew by leaps and bounds.  One day, perhaps the prince was frustrated because of mistakes he made at work or because the king yelled at him for no reason or because she burned his dinner or because she didn’t tell him she loved him with enough enthusiasm, he turned around and used his strength and speed on her.  Maybe she couldn’t believe what was happening when it happened, maybe he apologized and cried in her arms for causing her pain, maybe he told her he couldn’t live without her and that’s why he took his frustration out on her, maybe she thought she deserved it when the prince she loved hit her.

To protect him and to mask her embarrassment, maybe she hid the bruises, maybe she told her other princess friends that she tripped in her new shoes, maybe she said she fell off her bicycle.  Maybe she saw her friends less because it was easier than lying, maybe she didn’t think she deserved to be in the company of her friends, maybe she was afraid of what would happen if the prince found out people were asking questions about her injuries or her newfound timidity or her newfound belligerence.

Then one day, the prince and the princess went on a vacation to a playground for grown-ups, and maybe she said the wrong thing, maybe he’d had the worst day of all.  He said something punishing in the elevator, she snapped, and then he snapped harder, punching her in the face so she fell and hit her head and passed out.

When the elevator doors opened, someone rushed to her aid as the prince stood idly by, someone else called the police, and the people in charge of the playground watched the video from the security camera in the elevator where they saw the biggest, strongest, fastest prince beat the princess he claimed to love.

The police arrested the prince on the spot, despite his fame and fortune, because the police understood that it’s always against the law to hit someone to the point of unconsciousness, especially when both parties are not in a boxing ring.  Minutes later, the king fired the prince, and the prime minister passed a law that said nobody else could hire the prince to take advantage of his size and strength and speed, which he used for evil ends.  The other big, strong, fast princes shunned the princess-beater and banned him from the land, warning him never to return or even think about using his gifts against another person again.  And the world crowded around to take care of the princess, to remind her gently that when the man she loved hit her it was not her fault, and that she had many, many friends who would make sure she was safe.  And nobody told her she was a gold-digger, and nobody asked her what she did to provoke a man twice her size who claimed to love her into beating her into unconsciousness, and nobody asked her why she didn’t stop the abuse through strength of character, and nobody implied that because she didn’t stop the abuse that she lacked character.  And after a while, the princess got herself back, felt safe in the world, and understood that she was an amazing treasure to be valued not abused, and she lived happily ever after.

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