The kingdom of Prul was known for its high population of beautiful ladies. It became a popular holiday resort for most men all over the world. Every summer Prul was besieged by men from all walks of life. Apart from its beautiful women, the kingdom also had quite a beautiful scenery. It had a mild temperature both in the day and at night which enhanced the degree of comfort there.
The king of Prul was a young man in his twenties, named Truder Flai. He was said to have ascended the throne by organizing the assassination of his father. King Truder Flai of Prul was regarded as one of the ugliest rulers in the world. He was more of a monster than a human being. His monstrous appearance was worsened by an accident which he encountered in his 18th year which resulted to his having his nose flattened after a surgical operation. Children shout and cry for their mothers’ rescue whenever they saw him. Above his flattened nose were a pair of large deeply set eyes which blinked very often. He had a very protruding mouth, with the lower lip being much longer than the upper ;giving him the look of a de-beaked chicken.
The king who was still unmarried announced on his 27th birthday that he was going to marry in three years time. He gave an indication that he was going to marry the most beautiful lady in his kingdom. Despite his ugliness, King Flai was the darling of most Prul ladies. Every spinster in his kingdom wished that she became his wife. His wealth was stupendous.
Preparations began at once in all parts of Prul for the selection of a wife for the king. Mothers began to take special care of their daughters in an effort to make them look more attractive. Beauty experts were kept busy daily by clients seeking pieces of advice on the best way to make themselves more beautiful. At the approach of the king’s year of marriage, he ordered his ministers to organize a beauty contest and select for him the most beautiful of all ladies. The message was sent round the entire kingdom that a beauty contest aimed at choosing a wife for the king was to be organized. Applications accompanied by photographs were called for and ladies responded in alarming numbers. The applicants were short-listed and a bevy of fifty beautiful ladies selected. These fifty were then invited for the final contest arranged to take place in the king’s palace on the eve of the king’s 30;‘ birthday.
Among the short-listed women was a lady from the neighbouring state of Jovera who worked as a hairdresser in one of the big hotels of Jovera. She was named Linda. Linda was a very ugly lady by nature. For many years marriage had eluded her because most men found nothing attractive in her. Soon after she heard of the beauty contest in Prul aimed at choosing a wife for king Flai, an idea came into her head. She determined that she was going to participate in the contest. She contacted a plastic surgeon with a request for a face made with rubber material with the same gauge as surgical gloves that would outclass all other faces in beauty. (Plastic surgery is a medical operation to repair injury to a person’s skin, or to improve a person’s appearance). She brought a picture of a very beautiful Indian girl and asked if a face of similar look could be produced for her. The specialist accepted and produced a face very similar to that of the girl in the picture she presented, he tried the face and it fitted her very well. She took a photograph with it and sent it along with her application. She prepared and set off for Prul on the day of the contest, bursting with hope and happiness, having been short-listed when her photograph was seen.
Linda’s artificial beauty stood out so markedly in comparison with her fellow contestants that it was not difficult for the judges to see her as the most beautiful lady in the arena. Most of her fellow contestants grew pale with hopelessness when they saw her. Many indeed withdrew from the contest when they set their eye on her dazzling beautiful face which continued to beam with the kind of smile that was said to soften hardened hearts.
Linda had won. She had been chosen. King Flai of Prul was now married. The happiness of the king was unequalled. He threw open the gates of all prisons. He made peace immediately with all enemies of his kingdom. He ordered public holidays for three consecutive days. The entire kingdom quaked with merriment. Promotions rained on most people in his civil service. Taxes were suspended for one year. Many actually thought he was mad. Madness was the exact synonym of his actions.
After all the merriment, life returned to normal in Prul. The king had now settled down to a new phase of life with his new wife. His love for her was so much that it was said that he often had to break up from official meetings to attend to her needs.
The plastic face specialist had instructed Linda to ensure that the artificial face was removed daily and washed. She was very conscious of this face and did everything she could to keep to regulations. To achieve this some privacy was needed. Initially, she found it very difficult to secure this privacy in the king’s palace. Amidst his intoxication with love for his new wife coupled with his natural frenzy for her, King Flai found it extremely difficult to keep away from Linda even for a short while. In the palace he followed her about like a troublesome child. He wouldn’t even let her have some privacy. This made Linda very uneasy and indeed unhappy. But soon a solution sparked in her brain. She was going to exploit the king’s love for alcohols. “Hypnotics might be helpful too”, she thought. Every night before they went to bed, she would always offer him a glass of his favourite wine containing a little amount of a hypnotic which she had got from her doctor on pretext of persistent insomnia. She discovered that not long after they had gone to bed, the king fell into deep slumber. Whenever this happened she stole out of the room into the toilet where she removed the mask on her face, had a bath, washed the mask thoroughly and wore it back. Eventually, it became easy for her to send the king to sleep even without the use of hypnotics.
As time went on, the king began to wonder whether his wife ever had any bath. He reckoned that he had never seen her have a bath. He was convinced that she must be having her bath at odd times. “She ever looks clean and sweet”, he said to himself. “She has no spot on her body. I wonder what she is trying to hide”, he surmised. She must be simply shy of having me around when she baths. It is a mere idiosyncrasy of hers”, he mused.
But one little portion of Linda’s body remained unexposed which king Flai had never thought about. This was the area between the lower third of the neck and the area of the thoracic inlet. It was at this area that the rim of her plastic face overlapped her body. It did not occur to the king to wonder why al! her dresses had long neck portions which always covered a good portion of the neck. With ultimate care and extreme alertness at all times, Linda continued to live in her disguise with the King of Prul.