The Light Princess is an 1864 tongue-in-cheek fairy tale written by George MacDonald.
Once upon a time there was a King and Queen who desperately wanted a child, and were eventually blessed with a baby girl. But while arranging their daughter's christening, the King forgets to invite his sister, Princess Makemnoit, a horrible witch. Out of spite, Makemnoit curses the Princess to live without gravity.
Because of this, the Princess spends her life floating in the air, unable to touch the ground and always dangerously close to being carried off into the sky. Moreover, there's no gravity to weigh down her soul, either. She never thinks seriously on any topic, cannot be made to empathize with people, and never cries.
The only thing that seems to remedy this, is a nearby lake the Princess loves to swim in, which miraculously returns her gravity. After sneaking out to it one evening, a Prince happens across her and, believing she's drowning, swims out to rescue her. By the time he realizes his mistake, he's already fallen in love with her. Though the Princess is incapable of being serious about anything, least of all love, she consents to spend time with him while she swims at night.
Unfortunately, Makemnoit discovers the Princess' love of the lake and curses it to drain. It's said that the only way to refill it is if a man is brave enough to give his life by plugging the hole with his body until it's full again. Fearing the Princess will die of sadness if the lake is not restored, the Prince volunteers to sacrifice himself, on the condition the Princess sits beside him in a boat till the deed is done.
Though initially pleased that the lake is returning, when the Princess sees the Prince drowning she becomes distraught and pulls him out. When he finally wakes the next morning she falls to the floor and weeps with joy. Love has broken the curse. The two marry and have many childrennone of which ever lose their gravity.
Noted children's author Maurice Sendak illustrated a version, which was released in 1977.
The Light Princess provides examples of:
- Cloudcuckoolander: The Princess, due to her curse.
- Cursed with Awesome: The Princess seems to think so at first; she doesn't understand why everyone makes such a fuss about her lack of gravity.
- Everything's Better with Princesses
- Fairy Tale Motifs: Princess? Check. King and Queen? Check. Evil fairy? Check. Handsome knight-errant prince? Check....
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The stage production is very good at this.
- Heroic BSoD: The Princess has one when she almost loses the lake.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The Prince doesn't mind dying if it means the Princess will be happy.
- The Hyena: The Princess.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Lampshaded.
- Inverse Fertility Law
- Jerkass: The King's sister.
- Lemony Narrator: Not quite to the extent as some of the examples on the main page, but still noticeable.
- Love at First Sight
- No Name Given: The Princess, the Prince, and most of the other characters as well.
- The Philosopher: Two of them, a Materialist and a Spiritualist. Played for Laughs.
- The Power of Love
- Rule of Funny: Quite a few fairy tale tropes are Played for Laughs.
- Stealth Pun: The Princess lacks gravity in both senses of the word.