minute 47

Scavenger Hunt

They came by the dozen the first few days. Each was smarter, stronger, more beautiful and of course richer than the other. I could see them approaching from my window. Princes came to our castle accompanied by their servants, their footmen, cavaliers and most precious horses. To proof their righteousness and wealth they brought in presents ranging from beautiful worked swords to exotic spices and captured wild animals. My father just had eyes for the many chests filled with gold and any other good they tossed before his feet just to be his chosen one. The one to marry me: his only child. You should have been there. His skin was covered with goose pimples and he starred at all the riches that were laid to his feet. Whenever there was a new “admirer” – as he called them – appearing at court he played the lovely father and asked me in a whispered tone if I liked that one. I did like the looks of many of them. They all dressed in lovely colors, representing their country. But he send in more and more of these admirers until all rooms in our castle were full and all the stables and taverns in the small town nearby couldn’t afford any more visitors. But his greed grew stronger with every passing hour. Only the richest should be his future successor no matter what I – his daughter, the future bride to be – had in mind. So I had an idea to satisfy my father’s greed for even more gold and power as well as to entertain myself in this really monotonous affair of finding the right prince: Every man had to drop his weapons, armor and tabard – because I didn’t want to be fooled by their bright colors. Than they had to do a huge scavenger hunt that only the smartest and strongest of them would be able to succeed in.

It only took a few hours for the first few to realize that they just had no chance. So they just left for their homes. On the second day more followed when they had to find a way through the deep, dark and long abandoned mines. But there were still so many left.

On the third day they came out of the mines. Those poor Princes must have been starving out there – well an honest man knows how to survive in the wilderness and how to chase down deer. I may expect my future husband to feed his family with his bare hands if need be. But most of them turned their backs to our lands, leaving for their safe homes.

On the fourth evening there was smoke rising from the west close to our hunting lodge and scouts reported that there were fights for food and water. Well, that’s what real men have to go through, don’t they?

On the fifth day even more have left the woods without even presenting themselves to say farewell.

I repeated this hunt every year when there were admirers at our castle whenever they came in by the dozen as they always did.

And here I am. Sitting in my room with you, my dearest friend, the ghost in the canvas.

Andreas Freiwald