Egyszer volt, hol nem volt, az Óperenciás-tengeren is túl, a tüzes tengerek hetvenhetedik szigetének partján...
Once upon a time, far far away across the Óperenciás sea, on the seventy-seventh island of the Seas of Fire – lived a prince, whose name we do not know; everyone just called him Bús Királyfi, the Sad Prince. His father, the king, kept telling him day after day how useless he was; true enough, he was not particularly brave or exceptionally clever, he wasn’t talented either in war or in politics. His father used to roll his eyes and say „He doesn’t even have a good story to tell.”
So one day Bús Királyfi decided to set out on a journey – if he cannot become a good prince, he will become a good storyteller. He traveled for a long long time, searching for stories – but he didn’t even find people to talk to. At last, he met a little rabbit in the forest.
„Te nyúl, tudsz-e nekem mesét mondani?”
„Rabbit, can you tell me a story?”
„Van nagyobb dolgom is attól!”
„I have other things to do!”
And the Rabbit hopped away.
Bús Királyfi continued his journey, and met a wolf.
„Farkas testvér, tudsz-e nekem mesét mondani?”
„Van nagyobb dolgom is attól. Eridj innen!”
„Leave me alone!” said the wolf, and left the Prince alone.
Next, Bús Királyfi met a bear.
„Medve bátyám, tudsz-e nekem mesét mondani?”
„Van nagyobb dolgom is attól. Eridj az utamból!”
„Get out of my way!” said the bear.
The Prince went on, and reached the place when the forest met the fields; he stopped there, leaning against a lonely willow tree, and sighed.
„Hát ki fog nekem mesét tanitani? Mesélsz nekem, te árva fűzfa?”
„Who will teach a story to me? Would you do it, lonely willow tree?”
But the willow couldn’t even talk.
So on he went, ment, mendegélt; he walked into a town, and came to the door of a house; he opened the door, and here we are, telling our stories...
Bús Királyfi is always standing in the doorway, listening to us.
(The story was told by the traditional storyteller Fejes József, and can be found in the book A magyar mesemondás hagyománya, by Raffai Judit. This is not a literal translation of the tale, but the version I tell with my own words when I perform. Tell and enjoy! :)