Andersen Fairy Tales

Prince or Swineherd

Prince or SwineherdPrince or Swineherd

I don’t want to move on from The Swineherd just yet. There is more I want to discuss.

Let’s do a quick recap of the story. A princess refuses to marry a poor prince. The prince then disguises himself as a swineherd but makes wonderful gadgets. He agrees to let the princess have these gadgets for various amounts of kisses. The ladies in waiting all gather round while the Princess gives her kisses. The pair are found out by the king and he’s not too happy about any of it. He banishes them both. The Princess laments the fact that she didn’t marry the Prince. The Prince reveals himself and says he has learned to despise the Princess.

Alright, we’ve got our summary, let’s talk about this Princess. She had her chance; she did, but she did not choose the man who brought her exquisite presents. She was more interested in the gadgets belonging to the Swineherd. She even gave this guy kisses for these gadgets. The gadgets were pretty impressive, I’m not going to lie, but look at what she gave up for them. She not only gave up the chance of being with the Prince, she gave up kisses.

Let’s speak of the kisses for a minute. This was a princess. Princesses did not go around kissing random men if they knew what was good for them. Their reputations were everything. If someone started a rumor that Princess So-and-So was a ho, her chances of being married to a suitable match were diminished. Public opinion was very hard to sway; it still is. Her father banished her because he feared that she had damaged herself beyond repair.

Now, we don’t go in for this “damaged goods” thing today, but back then, yeah, people believed in it. People used it as a measure of your worth, especially if you were a woman. This girl’s father pretty much thought she had ruined her chances of marriage because he feared she gave a lot more than kisses to this guy that kept the pigs.

Why the gadgets? Why pick the gadgets over a relationship? I hate to say it, but gadget obsession is a sign of immaturity. You may not believe me and you may argue with me, but it’s true. There are plenty of relationships being ruined left and right these days because one person or the other is obsessed with video games, their phone, and any other number of devices. There is a difference between obsession and curiosity. You can be interested in a gadget and want a gadget in your home, but the minute you let that gadget supplant human interaction, you’ve become gadget obsessed. In ways, it’s like an addiction, but, like I said, it’s also a sign of immaturity.

This princess was immature. I feel sorry for her. No matter what age this girl was, twenty, sixteen, thirteen, she would have been expected to be mature. Princesses used to be married off pretty young. The princess in this story probably wouldn’t have been quite as young as some of the princesses in the Grimm’s collection, for example, but she wasn’t above twenty. We’re talking about a child.

This girl was too young to even begin to make the decision of getting married. She was swayed by public opinion. She was swayed by gadgets. If everyone else thought gadgets were cool, she wanted gadgets. Essentially, she was too young to make up her own mind. She didn’t even begin to realize what consequences her actions might have. That’s a notorious mark of a teenager right there; they just don’t get consequences.

If you take these things into consideration while thinking of this story, you do begin to feel sorry for the Princess. Yes, she was a spoiled brat, but she was also a child. She probably never thought her actions would have put her in such a terrible place. She could only play one song for crying out loud. That sounds like such a childish thing.

The Prince was a little unkind in how he ended up treating the Princess, but really, can you blame him? She turned him down and then wanted gadgets to play with. She sounded like a complete child. This man was probably ready to start a family and have an adult relationship all while this Princess was busy being a brat.

The Princess is definitely the loser here, and, honestly, it’s mostly her fault, but given the fact that she’s a child, you kind of have to feel sorry for her.


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