Long ago, in the days of bold knights mounted on even bolder steeds and fair maidens guarded within the formidable stone walls of proud castles, there lived a king who loved his daughter very much. This princess was all that fairytales delight in describing: lush locks of rich brown hair, pale skin with a hint of blush, a musical laugh and a skip in her step. Of course, she had a kind heart to match; all in her kingdom adored her. She would flit throughout the city, playing with the children, sitting at the feet of the grandmothers as they recounted tales from the past, and helping the hardworking mothers with their daily household duties.
Needless to say, there were more than women and children who adored her. She caught the attention of many a young man, but none more so than one gallant knight who had known her when they grew up together as children. The day came when he determined to summon every ounce of his courage and approach the king with his request to pursue her heart for his own. This brave knight had slain dragons and conquered evil kingdoms, yet nothing caused his heart to tremble more than approaching such a devoted father. However, his love for her overcame his fear and he humbly, but boldly, laid his petition before the king.
While the king was not surprised by the young man’s request, it saddened him just the same. He knew that this young man was the model of chivalry and had done the kingdom proud. He also knew that the young man was sincere in his request. But an awareness of these facts did nothing to sway his reluctance about releasing his daughter so easily. After much reflection he finally replied, “Young knight, I will grant your request with one qualification. During your courtship I will also entrust you with the key to my castle’s treasure chamber. Within those hidden vaults, lies the entirety of the kingdom’s wealth. Should you decide you do not wish to marry my daughter you will be allowed to keep the key and you will be a more powerful man than I. If your love for her does not change, you will exchange the key for my daughter’s hand in marriage. Do you accept this condition?” Without hesitation the knight agreed and word of it quickly spread throughout the kingdom.
They courted for many months and the young man’s love only changed to become deeper and more pure. With great joy the princess accepted his offer of marriage and soon they were exchanging their vows in front of a rejoicing kingdom, for the people loved both brave knight and fair princess. So great was the rapture of the crowd and the young couple that no one noticed the sinister villain silently slipping up towards the hero and heroine of our story, and when the groom reached out to place the key in the king’s hand in exchange for his bride’s ring, the flash of a sharp blade slicing the air stunned all who saw it.
Apparently the villain’s goal was to grab the key and disappear into the crowd. He was not successful, but he had severed the knight’s ring finger of his right hand – the hand that was supposed to bear his wedding ring. The crowd held its breath to see how the knight would react. He calmly stopped the flow of blood and held out his left hand, indicating that he wanted the princess to place the ring there. She bravely did so and without hesitation held out her left hand. And ever since, as a sign of commitment and bravery, the wedding ring is boldly displayed on the left hand. True love requires courage and commitment.