Alfredo / Salvatore, Cinema Paradiso (1989)

Once upon a time, a king gave a feast for the loveliest princesses in the realm. Now, a soldier who was standing guard saw the king’s daughter go by. She was the most beautiful of all and he instantly fell in love. But what is a simple soldier next to the daughter of a king? Well, at last he succeeded in meeting her and told her he could no longer live without her.

The princess was so taken by the depth of his feeling that she said to the soldier, ‘If you can wait for 100 days and 100 nights under my balcony, at the end I shall be yours.’ With that, the soldier went and waited one day, two days, then ten, then twenty. Each evening, the princess looked out and he never moved! In rain, in wind, in snow, he was always there. Birds shit on his head, bees stung him, but he didn’t budge. At the end of 90 nights, he had become all dry, all white. Tears streamed from his eyes. He couldn’t hold them back. He didn’t even have the strength to sleep. All that time, the princess watched him. At long last, it was the 99th night, and the soldier stood up, took his chair and left.

Now I know why the soldier left after all that time. One more night and the princess would be his. But she might have broken her promise, and that would have been terrible. It would have killed him. This way, at least, for 99 nights he had lived with the illusion that she was waiting for him.

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