The Prince

I have a read about a palace whose walls enclose an area of ten square miles. At the centre of this area rises the pink spire that is the prince’s home, and round it the courtyards, guardhouses, court, gardens, and other adornments that made up the complex. The prince often leaves the spire and walks the fields and forests unarmed. The field is wild and no one may shoot the game that lives there. It sometimes happens that a boar or other beast will break from the foliage during one of the prince’s walks. The prince does not feel terror. Beyond the palace walls it is desert. At the end of their shifts the men stationed at the walls turn back to the palace fields with wonder. Some think the prince a god. A breaking animal is always killed. In the presence of the prince it is the custom to engage the creature with a sword: if the champion is skilled the blade need only lightly trace the jugular. The desert is rarely crossed. Many years ago, several men claimed they watched a train of camels pass behind a ridge. It is not known whether the prince will take a wife.

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