Once upon a Sunday, there was a Prince who was very very rich and very very handsome. But he was also very very sleepy, and he had a big problem: he couldn’t get to sleep. No matter how hard he tried, his eyes wouldn’t stay closed, his legs wouldn’t stop wriggling and his mind simply wouldn’t stop talking.
So he decided he needed some help. He called for his three bravest knights. “Go out into the kingdom,” he said. “And find me a way to get to sleep. I don’t care how you do it, but the knight who finds a way to get me to sleep will get all the gold he can carry.”
So the three knights set out on their journeys. The next night, the first brave knight returned. He brought with him a bottle filled with a dark green, muddy looking drink.
“What’s that?” asked the Prince.
“It’s a sleeping potion, your Highness,” answered the knight. “It’s from the land of the Moonlight Giants, and it’s made of grass, twigs and bits of leaves. It smells horrible but they assured me it will work.”
So the Prince took a sip of the sleeping potion, and quickly spat it out all over the floor. “Yeeuchhh!” he cried. “That is the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted! I would never drink that, even if it made me sleep for a hundred years!”
So he banished the knight from his castle, and spent the night trying to get to sleep.
The next night, the second knight appeared. He told the king he had been to the land of Twinkle fairies and asked them to teach him the sleepiest lullaby they knew. So the Prince got into bed and the knight started to sing.
“In the sky the stars come out
The darkness all is spread about.
The owl does hoot, the bats do squeak,
As you and I go off to sleep…”
But even though he sang the song in the sweetest voice you can imagine, the Prince still couldn’t get to sleep. And now he couldn’t get the tune out of his head either, which made him even crosser than he was before. In a fit of rage, he banished the second knight from the palace, and spent the night counting sheep in an attempt to get to sleep. He was still counting when the sun came up, and he had reached seventeen thousand and eighty six sheep. But he still couldn’t get to sleep.
So the next night, when the third and final knight appeared, the Prince was in such a bad mood that all the servants and courtiers in the palace gathered around to see if he would finally be able to get to sleep.
The third knight arrived pushing an empty cart.
The Prince was intrigued. “How will an empty cart get me to sleep?” he asked. “Will you take me for a ride in it?”
“No sire,” the knight answered. “I don’t need the cart to get you to sleep. I haven’t been anywhere, but I promise I can get you to sleep. Just lie down with your eyes closed and listen to my voice.”
The Prince was confused, but he did as the knight instructed. He lay down in his bed and closed his eyes.
“All you have to do,” the knight said, softly. “Is to take ten deep, slow breaths. In and out… in… out… ten times… and feel yourself drifting down, down, toward the most relaxing place you’ve even been. Peaceful, quiet, relaxed. Breathe in… and out…”
As the knight spoke, the Prince could feel himself getting more and more relaxed, and more and more sleepy. Eventually, as the knight finished speaking, the only sound in the Prince’s bedroom was the sound of soft, gentle snoring.
Not only had the Prince fallen into a deep, happy sleep, but all his courtiers had too. They sat around the room with their eyes closed and their heads nodding onto their chests.
The knight looked around at them and smiled. Then he started to collect all of the prince’s treasures, gold and jewels, and loading them into his empty cart.
When the cart was full, he pushed it away, whistling as he went. The Prince had the best night’s sleep he’d ever had, and the knight – and all the treasure – was never seen again.