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Grimm's Hairy Tales: Balding Beauty by BaldSurfer

Once upon a time, there was a kingdom that had been ruled by the Baldini royal family for hundreds of years. They were kind, generous and beloved by all their subjects. Through the generations, all the Baldini men grew up to be incredibly handsome, tall with strong masculine faces, broad shoulders and lean muscular bodies. But through some genetic oddity, every Baldini male was born completely bald an never grew a single hair on their heads. But their well shaped, smooth shiny heads only helped emphasize their handsome faces.

King Fredric Baldini currently ruled the kingdom with his wife, Queen June. As in generations past, Frederic had chosen his queen from among his subjects. They had only one son, Prince Daniel. Even by Baldini standards, the prince was extraordinarily handsome. Every young woman dreamed of marrying the Baldini prince. They fantasized about making love, staring up at his smooth gleaming head.

Prince Daniel would soon turn 21 - the age when a Baldini prince was expected to choose the woman he would marry. He began riding through the villages, meeting eligible young ladies. When one truly appealed to him, he'd take her out for an evening and get to know her. So far, no maiden had merited a second date. While waiting and hoping to draw the prince's attention, many women spurned the advances of the other young men who vied for their affections. Some young men had even taken to shaving their own heads, hoping to make themselves more attractive to the girls who saw Daniel a the epitome of male beauty. But even the faint stubble of a shaved head could not compare to the legendary smooth, hairless head of the royal prince.

Vance Bedford was the son of a wealthy merchant. He was handsome in his own way. Vance had thick golden hair that. in deliberate contrast to the prince, he wore long, flowing past his shoulders. He dressed in the finest clothes, rode the finest horses. When courting a young lady, he'd pick he up in a golden coach and bring her to the finest restaurants. But the girl he truly loved was Sarah, the baker's daughter. Her dark brown hair shone like a dark jewel, her big eyes bluer than a summer sky. Her body was long and lithe and she moved like a ballerina. She wasn't poor, but nor was she as rich as Vance. Vance was completely in love with her and no other woman appealed to him anymore. Vance thought that Sarah should consider herself lucky that someone like Vance, so handsome and so far above her station, would desire her for his bride. But Sarah wanted only one man - Prince Daniel.

Vance asked her again and again for a date and she always refused. He sent her gifts, from flowers to expensive jewels, but she always sent them back, with a note that politely thanked him but explained that she couldn't accept his gifts or affections. Vance became more enraged with every refusal. Then, the day came when Prince Daniel rode through town on his royal stallion. Every young woman in town lined the streets, in heir best dresses, their hair beautifully styled and waved at the passing prince. But it was Sarah that finally caught his attention. He dismounted, approached her and after a brief chat, arranged to take her to dinner. As word spread, and Vance heard the news, he flew into a jealous rage and hatched a pln for revenge.

While Daniel and Sarah were falling in love over an elegant dinner, Vance rode deep into the woods, to the home of an old witch who'd helped his family deal with enemies in the past. He told her his story and asked her to find a way to curse the prince. With a gleam in her old gray eyes, she said that she had the perfect plan, but as always there'd be a price to pay. "Whether you win the girl's heart or not, my magic must be paid for. If my curse on the prince drives your true love to you, you must pledge half your fortune to me. But if you're still unable to win the thing you love most in the world, you'll also lose what holds the next dearest place in your heart." To Vance, half his fortune would still be more than he and Sarah would ever need, and he was so consumed with love for Sarah that he didn't think there was any love left for anything else in the world, so he agreed. The witch whispered a spell and the world seemed to answer with a blast of thunder on a rainless night.

Meanwhile, the evening was ending for Sarah and the prince. They both knew that they'd found true love, and the prince gave her one passionate kiss and promised to return soon to see her again. Then he rode off to return to his castle, and it was well past midnight as he laid down to sleep, dreaming of his newfound true love. The prince awoke as the first rays of sun shone through his window. He felt odd as he walked to his bathroom. He paused briefly to look in the mirror and screamed in horror.

He barely recognized his own reflection. Long, oily thin black hair hung from his head past his shoulders. And while the sides were thick with string hair, the top of his head hosted hair so sparse that he could clearly see his beloved scalp that no longer shone in the sun. The prince nearly wept at his appearance when the royal barber knocked on the door, ready to give the prince his daily face shave. Before the barber could even react, the prince begged him to help. The barber calmed the prince and assured him it would be alright. The barber sat the prince down, and pulled sharp scissors from his bag. (Although bald on top, the king's beard required the barber to still carry scissors). The scissors sliced easily through the ugly hair that hung from the prince's head. As the barber snipped it away, as close to the scalp as he could, the hair piled around the prince's feet. Then he covered the prince's head and face with lather and gently shaved him clean. The prince asked for a second shave of his head, to restore the smoothness he'd always treasured. When it was done, the prince felt better, although he wondered how it ever happened. He returned to his room and dressed for the day. Before going downstairs for breakfast the prince stopped to check his appearance again in the mirror. In just those few minutes, over an inch of the scraggly sparse hair had grown back. He summoned the barber back and by the time he arrived, the hair was again past his shoulders. The barber was shocked and amazed. As the prince sobbed, he promised he'd find an answer.

The prince, so embarrassed by his appearance refused to leave his room. The barber went to town and asked the apothecary for a balm that could remove hair. The apothecary warned that the compoun would remove the hair forever, and he barber told him that it suited his needs. The barber again cut away the prince's hair in brutal fast snips, and then rubbed the foul smelling compound over his head. The prince's skin burned and the odor made his eyes tear and burn, but when the barber finally washed it away, the prince's head was restored to smooth hairless glory. But an hour later, the prince sobbed again as the ugly mess grew back. The prince remained in his room over the days that followed as the barber tried other more painful chemicals. When the all failed, the prince, in desperation, set his hair on fire and though he tried to douse it before it burned his skin. He was left with some painful blisters, and still the hair grew back. The barber spent nearly 24 hours plucking the ugly hairs one at a tme, the prince wincing in pain with each pluck, But again, the hair grew back before the prince's pain had even subsided.

Meanwhile, Sarah couldn't understand why she'd never heard back from the prince. He'd promised to come. And one day, Vance appeared at her door, with flowers and candy. "The prince must be a fool to abandon a woman such as you. Be mine and I'll love you forever." Thinking that the prince was never returning, she went to dinner with Vance. She thought he was charming, but shallow. All he would talk about was himself. And she hated how he'd constantly run his hand through all that long hair. But still, she was of marrying age and needed a husband, so she agreed to marry Vance.

But the night before the wedding, awoken by a dream of her handsome bald prince, Sarah rode off to the castle - needing to know why her love had left hr behind. When the guards said that the prince was not seeing anyone, she disguisd herself as a maid, snuck into the castle and found the prince's quarters. She opned the door, and there he sat, greasy stringy hair hanging down to the floor. "Don't look at me!" he sobbed. "Go away! I don't deserve your beauty anymore." Sarah looked in his eyes and said that while she did think he'd been handsome, it was his heart and sould that she loved, and she loved him still. As he rushed to her arms and kissed her with the passion of true love, the greasy kinky strands began to rain down from his head and within seconds his gleaming pate showed no sign that a hair had ever marred it's glassy surface.

When word of the royal wedding was announced, as Vance looked in the mirror brushing his long straight golden hair, the witch appeared. "You've lost your first love, boy, so the price of my services is your second love. Without even turning from the mirror, Vance kept brushing as he said "I love nothing and no one else, foul witch. With my position and my looks, I could have had any woman. They swoon when they look at me. But when that peasant baker's daughter denied me, even though I was willing to overlook her poor breeding, my heart closed to love." The witch laughed and said "There's still one thing you love, and it will be lost to you." As she vanished in a puff of smoke, Vance chuckled and drew the brush over the top of his head. Clumps of golden hair came away, tangled in the bristles. In seconds, barely a ozen hairs covered the top of his pale head. And the long hair that still hung in a ring around his bald crown changed from shiny golden blond to lifeless dull brown. It hung heavy with oil and dandruff as uneven curly waves spread. Vance looked in the mirror and wept.

But Sarah and the Prince soon married and lived baldly ever after.

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