The Caliph, Cupid and the Clock (Henry)

From Summarium
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The Caliph, Cupid and the Clock
Summary of a short story
Microsummary: A wealthy prince, disguised as a poor man, comforted a distressed young man in a park. He offered assistance and hope, leading to the young man's reconciliation with his fiancée and a happy ending.

Prince Michael, a wealthy man from the Electorate of Valleluna, enjoyed spending his time in a park, disguised as a poor man. He found pleasure in observing humanity and helping those in need. One evening, he noticed a young man in evening clothes, who seemed to be troubled by the time shown on the illuminated clock in the park. Prince Michael approached the young man, offering his assistance in overcoming whatever problem he was facing.

The young man, initially hesitant, eventually shared his story with the Prince. He had been engaged to a woman named Marian, but had done something wrong, and she had given him an ultimatum. At exactly 8:30 PM, she would either hang a white silk scarf from her window, signaling her forgiveness, or display nothing, ending their relationship forever. The young man had been anxiously watching the clock, and as the time passed, he grew increasingly desperate.

Prince Michael, believing that women were the natural enemies of clocks, urged the young man to wait until the clock struck nine before giving up hope. He even promised to give the young man $100,000 and a palace on the Hudson River on the day of his wedding, as long as there were no clocks in the palace. The young man agreed, and they continued to wait together.

As the clock struck nine, the young man looked at Marian's window one last time and saw the white silk scarf waving in the wind. Overjoyed, he thanked Prince Michael and rushed to Marian's house. A passerby informed him that the clock in the park was actually half an hour fast, meaning that Marian had indeed forgiven him on time.

The next morning, two policemen found Prince Michael asleep on a park bench, still in his tattered clothes. Unaware of his true identity, they assumed he was a drug addict and marveled at the fifty-dollar bill he held in his hand. They woke him up, and Prince Michael continued his life in the park, helping those in need and finding solace in his altruistic endeavors.