****Editor's note: This is a family favorite dedicated to our lovely princess, Cara.
Once upon a time, in a land far away there was a beautiful princess who lived in a tall and glorious castle. She had golden ringlet curls, a lovely, sparkly crown, and twenty-three fancy ball gowns. She lived an enchanted, privileged life. However, the princess had one shortcoming that thwarted her hopes of a 'happily ever after'. She hated to take a bath. She had an enourmous claw-footed bathtub with scented salts and flower petals, but she hated to take a bath. One day, as a young lady, she decided to stop taking baths. It was then that the people in the village began to call their beloved princess 'Stinky Beauty'.
There were many handsome princes around in those days, and many wanted a chance to woo the beautiful and wealthy princess. Winning her hand would be a prize for any young prince, so the palace was regularly full of these hopeful lads, polished in their best attire, wearing the finest stockings, riding the whitest of chargers (not in the palace, though, that was against the rules). One lucky young prince was talented enough and qualified enough to pass the King's multi-faceted daughter-dating examination. He was granted an audience with the fair maiden. The guard opened the door with a strange salute. In his kingdom, the guards held their hands above the eyebrow, but for some reason the custom here seemed to be over their noses. He thought this was very curious, indeed. He walked into the princess's sitting room and gazed on her in wonder. She was wearing one of her finest silken ball gowns. She was loveliness indeed! He skipped lightly to her chair, leaning into a deep bow. As he anxiously raised his torso to smile at his future bride, a wave of smell came over him.
He paused. His muscles stiffened, his eyes bulged, his knees knocked, and he uttered, "OOOOh, stinky,stinky, stinky!" He then made a hasty escape, never to darken her door again.
Another young prince experienced the same acceptance, the same anticipation, the same trek past the oddly saluting guards. She was wearing pink that day. He entered the room with a serenade, walking toward the lovely damsel as he sang. He neared her chair just as he began the chorus, but instead of singing his sweetest song, he took a deep breath. He paused. His muscles stiffened, his eyes bulged, his knees knocked, and he sang a soprano rendition of, "OOOOh, stinky, stinky, stinky!" and made his hasty escape.
The princess was worried. Why had the princes left so swiftly? She felt a little insulted and anxious. What if she couldn't get married to the man of her dreams until she was old? She was already seventeen...time was running out.
She decided to take a walk through the village to clear her mind. She donned her stunning crown, looked her best in a gown of burgundy, and meandered through the main street. For some reason, the commoners who loved her so kept disappearing shortly after she smiled in their direction. They hid themselves in their homes and buildings and wouldn't do much beyond a curtsey and scurry. She walked through the rest of the deserted street and saw an old man sitting alone at a chess board. She sat across from him, appreciating his smiling, not-quite-all-there face. She did not realize that the man's olfactery skills had been permanently damaged due to the over-ingestion of coffee.
"Kind sir," she began. "I am searcing the village for a wise person to give me some advice."
He nodded and smiled in his half-witted way.
She continued, "I want to marry a handsome prince. They seem excited to see me, then when they get close they run off and never come back. Can you help me, my friend of reduced circumstances?".
The man said with his squeaky old voice, "I think Farmer Jenkins got a skunk caught in his wagon again. It sure does stink, heh?".
This stellar unintentional advice was all the charming girl needed. She ran to the palace with purpose. She entered her lovely suite, loaded the bath with salts and flowers and jumped in. She scrubbed her hair, she scrubbed her body, she brushed her teeth, and especially scrubbed and exfoliated her disgusting man feet. She dressed with a glow about her, and awaited the arrival of the next fortunate young man.
He came, and saw not a stinky beauty, but a striking beauty. He cried, "Hot diggity, y'all are the most beautifulerest girl I ever seed!". He was a prince from the Southern provence of Hill. His name was William the Younger, but his constituents called him Hill Billy. And that's where we get the modern English word, of course. He proposed rapidly, as was the custom in those days. She accepted and they united the kingdom in sweet smelling harmony.
The moral of this story, my princesses, is to always take care to take a bath. No beauty can mask a foul smelling foot odor. Wait, come to think of it, this isn't really a saga, but more of a fable.