Roger was awoken from his mid-morning nap by the return of his mother.
“Roger,” she called. “I’m just back from the village, and you wouldn’t believe what’s in the village pamphlet this week.”
Whatever it was, Roger wasn’t interested as his mother was always coming home with some idea or two for him to pursue.
She never understood that he was happy doing what he did, which was not much.
“They’re calling for expressions of interest from young men for the position of Prince Charming.”
Roger was suddenly beside himself with fear. ‘Prince Charming???’
The last thing Roger wanted was attention. He liked being on his own. He liked doing what he pleased.
He didn’t want to be like the last Prince Charming, who worked himself into the grave wandering the countryside looking for maidens in distress, and when he found one going about the deed of rescuing her. More often than not she didn’t want to be rescued, as she’d found love in the arms of some dastardly Black Prince who as it turned out wasn’t such a bad guy after all.
Roger hated stress, and right now, he could feel a wad of it sitting on his shoulders.
His mother disappeared into her sewing room, saying she had just the material to make him a suitable Prince Charming outfit.
He cast his eye over the pamphlet. The selection for Prince Charming would be held the following week. Applicants needed to be tall, handsome and with an urge to fight dragons where necessary, guard and protect maidens from evil in its many forms and be prepared to wander the countryside spreading confidence and good cheer among the peasants.
Roger wasn’t what you’d call a people person. He was happy running errands for his mother and the rest of the time, in between naps, feeding the chickens and milking the goat.
This Prince Charming business would require effort. And he thought, “I don’t have a white horse.” He did have a very ordinary brown one though. But whoever heard of a Prince Charming being courageous upon a brown horse. I could paint it white, he thought. He wasn’t sure how his horse, known as Brown Annie, would feel with a white coat.
This mother reappeared holding a jacket Roger could only stare at. It was covered in silver sequins, and Roger felt he would need to shield his eyes when wearing it let alone anyone who wandered by.
“It’s a bit bright, don’t you think?”
“You’ll stand out in this,” she replied, “and once they see your bubbly personality, the job will be yours.”
Roger cringed at the thought.
He knew that when his mother got an idea into her head, there was no getting away from it.
The costume was one thing, dealing with people and sitting on a horse for goodness knows how long each day was another.
Maidens in distress weren’t all that common, and dragons tended to be shy timid creatures until cornered, but then who didn’t get agitated when cornered.
By now his mother had constructed him a pair of pants matching the coat. Roger gulped at how he looked.
“Now,” she said, “we’d best have a few lessons about being charming.”