Years passed on, the lands changed, and the prince stayed on the bank of the river, trapped in wood and stone. Because he was no longer human, the prince did not age. He lived on as his parents grew old and died, succeeded by his brother. The people of the kingdom forgot their lost prince, although now and again someone might remark,
“Do you remember the lost prince?” Sparking conversation like a match amongst dry leaves. However, just as all fires eventually die, the discussions would fade, leaving the thought of the prince hidden in the recesses of memory and time.
After the prince was first transformed, he would passionately try to reveal his identity to anyone who crossed the bridge. He creaked him boards and ground his stones, sometimes trying so furiously he would almost throw himself into the river.
After many despondent months, the prince ceased his efforts, residing himself to spending his whole existence as a bridge. He began to watch and listen to the people who passed over him. He learnt about the hard lives of the peasants, as they trudged over him, backs aching and hands sore. He also saw the nobility, some of which were his old friends and admirers from long ago. He saw how mean, spiteful and proud they could be. In them he saw himself, long ago, prancing and parading around the palace, rude and impetuous.
Was I really that self-centred? He thought. Was I really such an ignorant fool? The realisation that he would never be able to right any of the wrongs he had committed sank over him, engulfing him in sadness. He would never be able to live a truly noble life.