Other stories by Paul Nathan
The Magic Prince
Once upon a time in a land far to the East there lived a young prince. As a second son he could not inherit the throne so his father sent him to study under the greatest magician in the land. One night when he was cleaning up in the old man's spell room the prince found the magician's secret spell book. Inside there were wonders but also things as frightening as the wrath of god himself.
When the old man found out what the boy had been up to he consigned the lad to wear a mask so hideous that no one would speak to the prince until he could do magic that was strong enough to break the spell.
The prince tried every magic spell he knew but to no avail and it seemed as though he would be trapped in the mask forever.
One day when he was walking through the magic gardens which surrounded the wizard's tower, the young prince saw a beautiful fairy princess. She was all shimmery and white. She was cutting out hearts to give to young lovers and the boy fell instantly in love the fairy princess. Well he may have fallen for her but she took one look at him and his hideous masked face and she screamed with fright and in her fright she tore her heart in two.
Slowly, so as not to frighten the girl, the magic prince took the pieces of her broken heart and using his most delicate and beautiful spell he mended the princess's heart. She was so taken by his magic that she forgot her fright and asked him for another trick which he gladly did. All afternoon they spent laughing and playing in the forest. And as the sun went down they danced, and at the end of the dance they kissed, and at the end of the kiss, the mask which the boy had worn for so long seemed to melt off his face. Because, everyone knows that love is the most beautiful and powerful magic of all.