A Legend (Kuprin)

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A Legend
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A cruel prince married a poor artist's daughter, locked them in an impregnable castle, and threw away the key, leaving their fate unknown as the castle eventually fell into ruin.

Long ago, there was an impregnable castle on a rock in the middle of a fathomless lake. The castle's owner, a proud prince, was known for his bravery and ruthlessness. He would often lead his knights on expeditions, leaving villages in flames and taking the riches of traveling merchants. The prince married a young woman, the daughter of a poor artist, despite having many noble suitors.

The Prince — noble, strong, and madly brave; cruel and terror-inspiring; owner of the impregnable castle.
The Princess — daughter of a poor artist; beautiful, gentle, and pale; married to the prince.

Years passed, and the young wife grew increasingly pale, while the prince's eyes became more terrifying. One day, the prince returned from an expedition to find a young page on his knees before his wife. In a fit of rage, he executed the page and dismissed his knights, setting them free to go wherever they wished.

He ordered the page led into the courtyard, and there put him to death by sending a bullet into his right eye.

The prince then raised the castle's iron bridge, locked the gates, and threw the key into the lake.

As time went by, no one ever discovered the secret of the old, somber castle. Eventually, it fell into ruin, with only moss, dirt, and lizards remaining. The fate of the prince and his wife remained a mystery, as did the extent of their suffering. The waves continued to splash against the shore, and the sound of galloping horses seemed to echo through the air, but the secret of the castle was never revealed.