THE WITCH'S APPRENTICE AND THE BAKER'S SON- a fairy tale
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, there was a King whose only son was a young Prince. Because the Prince was his only son and heir, the King loved him dearly and doted on him constantly. But the as Prince got older, he grew tired of being pampered by his father, so he ran away from the palace to explore the world for himself and live like a normal person. He found a bakery, and convinced the Baker (who was himself childless) to allow him to work there and pretend to be the baker's son. Thus the Prince learned how to bake bread. Unfortunately for him, he was a dreadful baker and often inattentive to his tasks. This is the story of how his inattentiveness affected the lives of others, and his own.
In the same kingdom there were two children, a girl Amy and her younger brother Matt, who were everything in the world to each other. But Matt was a naughty boy and always getting into trouble, and their parents told Amy that she had to watch over him constantly, and she often had to scold him for disobeying her. One day the two children came to the bakery to shop for bread. Amy told Matt to behave himself, but he smelled something sweet and wandered off. He found some dough for raisin bread in a large mixing bowl, and he climbed in to have a good lick; but the dough was so sticky, that he got stuck in the bowl! Just then the Baker's Son (who was the Prince in disguise) took the mixing bowl and emptied the dough into the bread-making machine. And because he was so inattentive to what he was doing, he didn't notice that he had dumped Matt into the machine as well. When the machine went on, poor Matt was mixed up with the dough! Battered and bruised and banged about, shaped into a loaf and then baked in an oven, poor Matt barely made it out alive. When the Baker's Son took the bread out of the oven, he noticed that one particular loaf was wiggling. When he opened it up, he found a creature of indescribable appearance. It was Matt, but he had lost all his teeth, and all his hair, and his skin was scorched from the oven, and he lost his power of speech, and he couldn't stand up and had to walk on all fours. The Baker's Son didn't know what Matt was. Then Matt lay on his back in exhaustion, and curled up his hands and legs like paws, and had such a pitiful look in his eye that the Baker's Son was convinced he must be an animal, so he adopted him as a pet and named him "Dog."
Meanwhile poor Amy didn't know what had happened to her brother Matt, and asked the Baker about it, who knew nothing. So Amy went home, assuming that her brother had died or run away. She blamed herself for her own negligence, for not watching Matt carefully enough. And she blamed herself for a long time. Her parents were so sad that Matt had disappeared and grieved for him so much that they both died, leaving Amy alone in the world for the first time. Amy knew she would have to find work for herself, so she decided to go to the local witch and offer to become her apprentice. The Witch had a shop in the centre of town, and she was always helping people read their fortunes, cast spells, mix potions, find lost treasures, and other important jobs. The Witch was very happy to have Amy as her apprentice, so she taught her how to gaze into a crystal ball, and how to write incantations, and how to pick herbs by moonlight, and how to make magic wands, and other important things.
The years went by, Amy remained the Witch's Apprentice, and Matt lived as the Baker's Son's pet Dog. No one at the bakery liked the look of Dog, and Dog didn't like any of them; his one and only friend was his master the Baker's Son. And, truth be told, the Baker's Son remained a dreadful baker. And it was Dog who secretly kept his master out of trouble. During the day, the Baker's Son would make batter and dough all wrong--he would add talcum powder instead of baking powder, or quinine instead of quince--and in the evening, when everyone was asleep, Dog would stand on his hind legs and become Matt again and mix everything again correctly so that the Baker's Son never got into trouble. And Matt's baking was so good that the bakery became popular and famous. So Matt was Dog by day, boy by night, but never spoke a word to his beloved master. And his beloved master adored Dog, and confided everything to him. So Dog knew from the very beginning that the Baker's Son was really the Prince; but he never told anybody.
All this time, the King had been searching the entire kingdom for his son, the Prince, who had run away all those years ago. Finally, one day, he went to the Witch and asked her to use her magic to find the Prince. The Witch and her apprentice, Amy, looked into their crystal ball and saw that the Prince was hiding in disguise as the Baker's Son, at the very bakery where Amy's brother had disappeared. But they didn't tell the King that. They needed to find a way for the Prince to reveal himself. So Amy had a brilliant idea. She would mix a love potion to give to the Baker's Son; he would fall in love with Amy, and beg her to marry him; and she would refuse to marry him until she revealed his true identity to his father, the King.
But this otherwise brilliant plan went wrong. Amy came to the bakery, introduced herself to the Baker's Son, and shared a drink with him. She slipped the love potion into his drink; but the Baker's Son's faithful Dog saw what was going on and switched the drinks, so that Amy drank the potion herself. She fell madly in love with the Baker's Son; and the Baker's Son, who had not drunk any of the potion, also found himself falling in love with Amy. And what was more, his faithful Dog began to fawn on Amy and sit by her side. This astounded everyone, since she was the only person besides the Baker's Son that Dog had ever shown any affection for. Dog, of course, was Amy's brother Matt; but he did not reveal his identity to her, because he blamed himself for his own predicament, because he disobeyed her all those years ago when he wandered off from her when he should have known better,
In due course, the Baker's Son asked Amy to marry him. And she said yes. But on the wedding day, he still had not revealed his true identity, nor had Amy asked him to do so. The Witch appeared at the wedding and reminded Amy that her job had not been to marry the Baker's Son, but to make their client happy by restoring the Prince to his father the King. But Amy protested that she was in love with the Baker's Son now, and had no interest in revealing the truth about him. Ah, said the Witch, did Amy know the whole truth? Then the Witch cast a magic vision into the past, and Amy witnessed how it was none other than the Baker's Son who dumped poor Matt into the bread machine all those years ago! But in her vision, Amy did not see what had happened next, so she believed that Matt had been killed.
Now at last Amy thought she knew what happened to her little brother. For years she had blamed herself for her brother's disappearance, because she was negligent. Now she learned that another person had been at fault, another person had been negligent too—and it was the man she loved! She was torn between two loves: her love for the Baker's Son, whom she wanted to marry, and her love for her cruelly slain brother, whom she wanted to avenge. In the choice between brother and fiancé, she chose her brother. Her love for her fiancé was only the result of a love potion, she thought to herself; but her brother had been everything in the world to her. So Amy mixed together a deadly poison and planned to kill the Baker's Son.
Just before the wedding, she asked the Baker's Son to share a drink with her to toast their future together. She placed the poison in his goblet, and he raised it to his mouth. But just as he was about to drink, faithful Dog leapt into the air and dashed the goblet from his hands, landed on his two feet, and spoke his first words in many years. He tearfully addressed his sister, and revealed himself as her long lost brother. Stunned and confused, Amy was reunited with Matt, and through tears they forgave themselves at long last for the accident that happened years ago.