At the next town, he tried the same approach.
“I am no prince, but I am fair and just, and I’m a damn good arbitrator. Bring me your family greivances, your trade disputes, and your criminal matters and I will do what I can to pass judgement and uphold royal law.”
The people did, and although they did not know that he was a prince, found that he was fair and just, and respected his rule. He did this through many towns, and his reputation spread throughout the kingdom. Soon he was respected and wealthy and he traded his rags for some cool britches and other cool gear. He gave away all his old stuff, except for the old scrawny ass Lucky, who he got de-flea’d, and followed him around as he rode on his new horse.
One day the king invited him to come before him.
“You rule in the small towns and cities, pass law and judgement, and you are supported by the people. Do you take yourself for a Prince?”
“No,” the Rag Prince replied carefully, “I only arbitrate justly and try to be fair with the people.”
“I can’t have a commoner spreading law and judgement among the people, it is a threat to my rule as royalty! Do you know what I must do to you?” Asked the King.
The Rag Prince braced himself and prepared to challenge the king in revealing that he had been born a prince. He was probably going to lose his head.
“With all do respect your highness, I …” He began.
“I will make you a prince!” announced the King.
So the king made him a prince.
On the day of his inaugeration, the Rag Prince received many tributes from lords and merchants of many kingdoms. An old wine merchant came before him with a basket full of precious aged spirits.
“Do you have time for an old man?” Asked the wine merchant.
“Uncle!” cried the Rag Prince. He leapt from his throne and came forward to embrace the old man.
Then he looked around himself at the ceremony, and how he was being inaugerated as a prince, and felt wierd.
“I am sorry uncle. I could never convince them that I was a prince. They never believed me.”
His uncle looked at him with a mischievious glint in his eye.
“You never were a prince, my boy,” He said, “but you are now.”