In the Foundation universe there's a short story that's about a mandatory stay on what's purported to be the ancestral home of humanity, the planet "Earth", by a prince of the imperial family.

A month's stay is required if you want to be Emperor and the candidates are largely on their own. They're provided with a guide who is it's made clear is not their bodyguard, more in the way of a supplier of local knowledge so the Emperor-to-be doesn't try to pet a bobcat or wipe his butt with poison ivy.

The prince is, unsurprisingly, an arrogant little git who's dismissive of the backwards planet and all its rough-hewn inhabitants. I believe he doesn't last a full day picking a fight with a local who, not knowing he's dealing with a member of the imperial family and probably not caring even if he did know, puts an end to the prince.

The final scene in the short story is the guide telling the emperor of the death of his son.

What's the name of the darned story?


This is not Asimov, but Dickson, and not in the Foundation series. (I originally thought it was in the Childe Cycle series, but that was wrong.) Otherwise, you remembered it perfectly :)

The story is Call Him Lord.

Near the end, it's as you describe:

Kyle's throat ached and was dry as ashes. "Lord," he answered, "he was a coward." The hand dropped from his saddle horn as if struck down by a sudden strengthlessness. And the Emperor of a hundred worlds fell back like a beggar, spurned in the dust.

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    If I'm the one who grants acceptance that this is a duplicate question than I agree. This is clearly the story I was looking for and thanks go to Organic Marble. – allen Sep 3 '17 at 4:12

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