The Elf King was owed a princess, and a princess he was going to get. Just not the one he expected. Princess Marianne was a delicate fairylike beauty, and, in her father’s estimation, far too valuable to waste on a promise. Princess Ella, by contrast, was plain and meek and only too aware that her father had cheated.
It took all her courage to look into the Elf King’s face. To her surprise the tall brown-skinned monarch laughed.
“I do not,” he said, “value human beauty highly. But I am enamoured of bravery.”
He held out his twiggy hand.