“Seeing his three wives draw ever closer and that his first plot to foil them had failed miserably, Prince Kassardis doubled his pace. Knowing he would never outrun the cruel Vastoki on open ground, he hurled himself into a sea of dead grass, and used up all his water trying to escape her grasp. A night and a day later, he emerged on the shores of the river Dal, and spent the last of his money hiring a fisherman to take him downriver.

The fisherman’s boat overturned in the town of Kol Varas, and there Kassardis did a very shameful thing. He sold to the first rich man he could find his fine silk headwrap, and his father’s silver dagger, and his waistcoat lined with sparrow feathers, which were marks of his lineage. With his sack of foreign coin he hired six strong men, belligerent knights from the wars of conquest, and hid himself in a wheelbarrow, hoping against hope that his ploy would be enough.

Vastoki arrived in the dusty town not hours later, and she was almost immediately set upon by the mercenaries that Kassardis had hired. From his hiding place, the young prince watched as Vastoki was caught in their ambush and fought desperately against stave and sword.

Vastoki was very fast, but also very slight, and no match against the six knights in close combat. Though beaten, she merely retreated to lick her wounds and set camp outside of town. One of the knights nearly lost his head to her long rifle when he ventured out to confront her, and that was that for a while.

As night fell, the knights returned to Kassardis. “Where wandereth thee, young one?” they said in their foreign dialects.

“To the land of Samura, where I may find peace and an escape from violence,” said the exhausted Kassardis, from his hiding place.

“Violence is inescapable,” guffawed the mercenaries, and robbed Kassardis of everything remaining that he owned, for they had seen he was a fool from the start. They threw him naked and beaten into the street, and spent their winnings on drink.

Kassardis, his swollen eyes full of tears and knowing his time was short, stole a woman’s garb from a washing line and a small hunk of bread and fled into the desert, the final words of the Very Wise Frog echoing in his ears.

The belligerent knights, for their part, died not hours later when they were squashed into a pulp by Littari’s iron cauldron. ”

– Tales of the Silver Prince