.. and so the king and queen (and of course the princess) forged ahead with plans for the Royal Wedding, and yet there was sadness in the eyes of Prince Adam.
“What bothers you so, my son?” asked the king.
“The wolf who was my advisor, who guided me to you, has disappeared, and I want him at our marriage.”
“Then you must find him,” the king replied. “I’ll tell my daughter she must wait for your return. Come back with your wolf, and then you two shall be wed.”
So the next morning, the determined prince mounted his horse and set out in search of his friend the wolf. Finally, three days later, at the farthest extreme of the forest, he found the beast, sitting in a clearing and looking forlorn. “Ah, my leige, greetings to you.”
“Oh dearest wolf,” Prince Adam cried out joyously, “you must return with me to the castle, for I am to be wed, and I want you by my side. If it was because of you that I found the silver bird and the golden horse and freed the princess with the heart of diamonds!”
“I cannot,” replied the wolf.
“But why?” asked the prince. “You have been the only one true and faithful to me throughout this entire journey!”
“And you as well,” replied the wolf sadly. “But you are to be married, and I doubt your future in-laws, let alone your wife, would approve of my being at the castle.”
“I dont care!,” shouted the prince, as great tears fell from his eyes. “You are my friend!”
“My prince,” the wolf asked slowly, “do you even want to be married?”
The prince sat on the grass and sighed. “I dont know. The princess is lovely and gracious, and her parents are good and noble, but — “
“But… perhaps we should not talk about it.”
“Of course. But before you leave, I must ask you to honour your promise.”
Prince Adam stared at the wolf in sudden horror. “No! Please do not ask me to do this!”
“You must, my liege. You agreed that, in exchange for my wisdom and knowledge in helping yu save the princess, you would cut off my head and release me from the witch’s spell. And now the time has come for you to do this.”
The prince tried every argument he could think of, but none would change the wolf’s mind. So, sadly, Prince Adam took out his sword and, with a mighty whack, separated the wolf’s head from its body…
… when suddenly there was a flash of light and a crack of thunder that made the prince look away. When he turned back, he saw that the lifeless body of the wolf was gone, and in its stead stood a handsome prince, one so handsome he took Prince Adam’s very breath away. “Thank you, Prince Adam,” said the prince with a dazzling smile of joy. “I am Prince Stephen, brother of Princess Eva whom you rescued. You have freed me, and I mmmppphh!” Prince Stephen was unable to continue because Prince Adam had rushed to embrace him and kiss him soundly on the lips.
“I dont want to marry any princess, not even your sister,” Prince Adam shouted happily. “I have found my love in my dearest friend, and it is you and I who shall wed!”
So the two princes returned to the castle, where the king and queen were ecstatic to see their son’s return after so many years. The king happily gave his blessing to their union, and — with the exception of the princess, who returned to her rooms in a snit — they lived happily ever after…