The doctors rushed to the castle. The rumour had been out for some time, but nobody had believed it. Only recently had the rumour been confirmed; their king was ill and in agonising pain. He was a fair ruler and nobody wished him dead.
"It's odd," said the king. "I don't feel sick. I feel happy."
Doctor Smith, the wisest man in the kingdom, nodded. "That is normal with this kind of disease."
The other doctors were impressed by Smith having identified the disease so soon. With tremendous admiration they asked him what it was.
"It's witchcraft," answered the wise doctor. "Look at him. He's unable to make even the simplest of decision with this foul curse running through his veins."
"What kind of witchcraft?" asked the other doctors.
Smith didn't answer before listening to the king's heartbeat. "Yes, there is no doubt. Our king has fallen in love with some devilish woman!"
The crowd of doctors gasped.
Smith continued. "King, how do you feel?"
The king hesitated. "I feel this warm, shivering feeling whenever I see that woman," he mumbled, obviously weak from the disease. The doctors all concluded that Smith was right. This was without a doubt a symptom of love.
After much discussion, they decided to burn the woman. Some wondered if this would stop the disease or prevent any cure, but Smith convinced them that it was the only way. He told them that he'd seen many cases of witchcraft being cured by getting rid of the witch.
In the meanwhile, the king was feeling more and more weak. Whenever he thought of the girl being burned, he started crying. He had no idea why, but Smith told him that it was a part of the curse. The witch was trying to control his mind, and he had to fight it.
They finally found the witch. She was a young girl selling apples outside the castle, and she appeared shocked by their accusations. Her demonic curses started influencing the soldiers as they questioned if she was guilty or not. Smith persuaded them by letting them see what she'd done to the king.
One day, the king worked up the courage to talk to Smith. "You know," he said. "I don't think I want that woman to be burned."
Smith nodded. "I know, but that's not the real you talking. You have been cursed, my beloved king. Do not let it influence your mind, or you'll be summoning the devil."
The king considered this. "But I want to hug her, kiss her and I want her to give birth to my son. You know, the prince."
Doctor Smith gasped. "Your highness, you are not seriously considering making our future king a spawn of the devil, are you?" he asked, fearing the answer.
The king seemed insulted. "No, I most certainly am not," he snorted. "But can't I just…"
Smith interrupted him. "You cannot. Dear king, I understand that this sickness is rapidly stealing your mind. However, how do you expect to rule a country with this curse, this fatal disease, ravaging your soul as well as your body? A king is born to be cursed by his country, to love it in all aspects. This love is not to be shared and most defiantly not with a witch."
"But how do we know that she's a witch?"
Smith looked at him in the most confused way a doctor can look at one. "She cursed you, did she not? Do you truly believe this feeling to be of earthly origins?"
The king sighed relieved. "I suppose you're right, my doctor."
Smith nodded and left the king, careful not to turn his back on him.
The woman was not easy to persuade into admitting her guilt. Five days of constant torture had passed before she cried out the words; "I did it." By that time she was dying and people feared that she would not live long enough to be burned. Thus, the burning was to be held the following night. As I'm sure the reader can imagine, this placed the king in an awkward position. On one hand, he wanted to save the girl, but on the other hand he couldn't. A witch was controlling his mind, and he had to be careful not to succumb to the devil's voice haunting his tortured mind.
Night arrived and the dying woman was carried to the stake. The king found himself unable to watch yet unable to leave. His mind was thorn and he didn't seem able to decide on what to do. Soon, it was too late and the young girl was gone. Only a little ash was left to be scattered by the wind.
The king quickly recovered. Already the next day, the king was feeling better and the kingdom had a ruler within the weak. Doctor Smith was generously paid for his services and was knighted the following month.
And that's the story of the king and the curse. Doctor Smith told it to me. He died after saying some words I've never been able to decipher. He told me not to donate any of his money to the church. It wouldn't be enough to save his soul anyway.