No one ever gives his origin much thought, so perhaps we can give him a story. We’ll begin it with the long curling locks that frame his face like a portrait.
He is handsome but humble, speaks little of himself, and is unflinchingly truthful at all times. Naturally, the ladies of the land are quite taken with him, and the Queen most of all.
She makes him her lover, thrilled to be called beautiful by such an honest young man.
She is a vain queen, though, known to summon dark powers in hopes of warding off age.
After gifting her lover with eternal youth, she discovers one cannot give such gifts to oneself – when she tries, the dark powers rebound upon her, twisting her.
Not outwardly, but her heart is turned cold, and if ever she looks at her own reflection, her vision is made to fracture and facet like that of a greedy fly.
Unable to see the truth with her own eyes now, the more her lover calls her beautiful, the more she suspects he is lying.
Eventually, in a fit of anger at his mockery, she pushes our hero from a tower window.
Her bewitchments ensure he does not die,
but a thousand shards of glass pierce his body and he shatters every bone as he crashes through the mirrored dome above her throne room and falls to its marble floor.
The spiteful queen has him run through with a hook and hung on a wall to set an example, and it’s only then,
when she catches sight of her many reflections in the jagged glass splinters impaling his limp form, that she sees she *is* still beautiful.
And forever after, she will believe him when she asks, “Who is the fairest in the land?”
He will answer with honesty, as he always has.