A prince was put under a spell so that he could speak only one word each year. If he didn’t speak for two years, the following year he could speak two words and so on.
One day, he fell in love with a beautiful lady. He refrained from speaking for two whole years so he could call her “my darling.” But then he wanted to tell her he loved her, so he waited three more years.
At the end of these five years, he wanted to ask her to marry him, so he waited another four years.
Finally, as the ninth year of silence ended, he led the lady to the most romantic place in the kingdom and said, “My darling, I love you! Will you marry me?” And the lady said, “Pardon me?”