Once upon a time, there was a prince who, through no fault of his own, was cast under a spell by an evil witch. The curse was that the prince could speak only one word each year. However, he could save up the words so that if he did not speak for a whole year, the following year he was allowed to speak two words. (This was before the time of letter writing or sign language.)
One day, he met a beautiful princess (ruby lips, golden hair, sapphire eyes) and fell madly in love with her. With the greatest difficulty, he refrained from speaking for 2 whole years so that he could look at her and say, "My darling." But at the end of these 2 years, he wished to tell her that he loved her. So he waited 3 more years without speaking, bringing the total number of silent years to 5.
At the end of these 5 years, he realized that he had to ask her to marry him. So he waited another 4 years without speaking.
Finally, as the 9th year of silence ended, his joy knew no bounds. Leading the lovely princess to the most secluded and romantic place in that beautiful royal garden, the prince heaped a hundred red roses on her lap, knelt before her, and taking her hand in his, said, "My darling, I love you! Will you marry me?"
And the princess tucked a strand of golden hair behind her dainty ear, opened her sapphire eyes in wonder, and parting her ruby lips, said, "Pardon?"