The Fifth Story

The Prince


Many, many years ago, King Ferdinand the Thirteenth, king of Vàldovar, and his wife, the lovely Queen Berenice, had a daughter whose name was Princess Ianthe, and a son called Prince Almeric. One day, I shall tell you a story about Princess Ianthe, but today I am going to tell you the tale of Prince Almeric.
      When he was a very young child, Prince Almeric was cheerful and full of energy. Like his father, he was fascinated by all living creatures. He would walk in the woods and take pleasure in the brightly-coloured birds that filled the woodland air, and in the tiny creatures that scuttled across the woodland floor. As the Prince grew, so his love of animals increased; and the animals, recognizing this, took the Prince to their hearts.
      In a hutch in the royal castle garden, the young Prince kept a small, grey rabbit that he had found one day. The rabbit had had an injured foot and could hardly walk, but under Prince Almeric’s care it had soon grown well again and, within a few weeks, had been ready to be returned to the forest. However, ...