Vantage point

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Princess and the Soldier

A: Once a soldier saw the princess of his kingdom and fell in love. He told her that though he was a mere soldier he thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and he was in love with her. The princess was touched by the soldier's sincerity. She told him that if he really loves her, he should stand beneath her balcony for 100 days and 100 nights. If he can wait for her that long, she will be his. So the soldier went and waited below her balcony. One day, two days, ten days, twenty days. Each evening the princess looked out and he was there. Standing, waiting for her her. Birds would shit on his head, bees woud sting him, but he didn't move. He just stood there. After ninety days and ninety nights he became dry and white. He couldn't hold back anymore. Tears streamed from his eyes and he didn't have the strength even to sleep. At long last it was the 99th night. One more night and she would be his. But on the 99th night the soldier got up, and left.
S: What happened at the end?
A: That is the end. Don't ask me what it means. I don't know.

Which movie is this dialogue from? (not verbatim, largely reproduced from memory).

Much later in the movie, S tells A he's finally understood why the soldier left on the 99th night. What does S say is the reason?

Send your answers to gaurav.sabnis(at)

Update: The quote is from the classic Italian movie Nuovo Cinema Paradiso as quite a few of you guessed. However no one was able to remember Salvatore's explanation.

He says that the soldier realised on the 99th day that the next day, the princess might be his. But she might even break her promise. And that would have broken his heart and dented his love. So rather than risk his heart being broken, he left on the 99th day, carrying with him his love for her, untouched and pure.

And that is why he left.