Trout Fisherman's Narrow Excape
Once upon a time a beautiful young princess, with cheeks like primrose
petals and hair like spun gold, went for a walk in the forest. When she
saw a toad hopping along the path, the princess said, "Oh, you ugly, warty
creatures - how hideous you look!" It happened that two witches, one of
whom was pretty ugly and warty, were passing nearby, and thinking that
the princess was commenting on her appearance the ugly, warty one immediately
cast a spell over the fair maiden, who thereupon fell into a deep sleep.
By Ed Zern
"Insolent snippet!" screamed the ugly witch. "You shall sleep until
doomsday, unless perchance a handsome young price shall kiss your ruby lips!"
"You're letting her off pretty easy, aren't you?" asked the second witch.
"You know how them handsome young princes are - the first one that finds her
is going to figure he might as well kiss her, and bingo - there goes the spell."
"You're right!" said the ugly witch. "How's this: you shall sleep until
a handsome prince with three legs shall kiss your ruby lips! That
ought to hold her!"
"Don't be too sure, toots," said the second witch. "Ill admit most
handsome young princes only got two legs. But just last week at the county
fair I seen a chicken with three legs, and if it can happen to a pullet it
can happen to a prince."
"That's a fact," agreed the warty witch. "Let's see now, how about this:
you shall sleep until a handsome young prince with three legs and rabbit
ears shall kiss your ruby lips. There, if that doesn't keep blondie
out of circulation for a couple of aeons, I'll turn in my broom!" And the
witches hobbled on through the woods, leaving the lovely young princess
deep in sleep.
Pretty soon who should come along but a handsome young prince and his companion,
a tall young duke. Both of them carried fishing rods, for they were on their
way to angle for trout, and the prince carried a stout wading staff, as the
stream to which they were going was swift and treacherious. "Hey, prince,"
said the tall yound duke, "you know what that staff reminds me of? A third
leg, that's what! It's like you got three legs! Waddya know - a handsome
young price with three legs! Haw, haw!"
But the prince paid no heed to his companion's jest, for he suddenly
realized he had forgotten to bring his fly box. "Woe is me," he said sadly.
"But perhaps I can find at least one fly stuck in my vest. Ah, yes- sure
enough! Here's a No. 12 Hare's Ear - and by the Lord Harry, here's another!"
"Hare's ear?!" said the tall yound duke, who was a worm fisherman. "You got
two hare's ears? Haw, Haw! A handsome young prince with three legs and
rabbit ears! Ho, ho, that's a hot - Hey! Get a load of the dame!"
"Get a load of what dame?" said the prince.
"That one there," said the duke, pointing to the beautiful princess asleep
on a couch of ferns and sweet grasses.
My word, she's sound asleep!" said the prince. "By George, I've got a
good notion to slip her a kiss! Here, hold my rod a minute."
So saying, he was about to plant a lusty smooch on the princess's
lips when the tall young duke, who was nobody's fool, shouted, "Hold it,
Romeo! Don't do it!"
"For heaven's sake," said the prince, unpuckering his lips, "why not?"
"I'll tell you why not," said the duek. "I figure any time you find a
good-looking chick in a deep snooze it's even money some witch has
slapped a spell on her. Them witches are hell on good-looking
dames - especially princesses, and take a look at the royal signet
ring on her pinky. You go bussin' this blonde, buster, you're liable
to break the spell."
"Well, why not?" said the h.y.p.
"Prince," said the duke, "you're a nice guy and all, but sometimes you
don't think good. Lemme spell it out for you. You bust the spell, and
Nembutal Nellie wakes up - she's grateful - she insists you gotta come
to dinner and meet her old man - the first thing you know you're engaged -
and all of a sudden you're married. After that, no more trout fishing -
you got to stay home and put up the screens. No more deer hunting - your
wife thinks they got such nice eyes. And besides, she don't approve of
the guys you hunt with. No more beagles and bird dogs in the palace - she
can't stand dog hair on the sofa. Pretty soon she'll be throwing out all
your broadbill decoys to make room for a playpen. Get the picture, kiddo?"
"Holy smokes," said the prince, "that sure was a narrow escape! Let's
get on down to the crick before the trout quit jumping." So they
hurried on down to the Junction Pool, where they each caught their
limit of browns. ~ Ed Zern
Credits: From The Best of Ed Zern, published by
The Lyons Press.
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