The main character who was a modern earthman (I think his name was Ivan) wanders into a medieval kingdom (I don't know if it was time travel or simply travel to another dimension). There he winds up married/engaged to a princess that he brings back to the modern world.

A big scene I remember clearly is when he first takes the princess to modern earth, she's naked as she doesn't have clothes in our realm/world/time. The MC offers her his shirt to cover up the obvious modesty issues but she refuses as it would violate the prohibition of crossdressing. She will not wear men's clothing. The MC then explains that things are different here and that it is much worse for a woman to walk around in the nude than it is to wear men's clothing, and that in fact as his wife/fiance/girlfriend most people would find it cute to see her wearing his clothes. They are also trying to hitch hike back to town.

I also remember that in the medieval setting he has a friend/ally who walks with a bad limp (I think he was also a monk). At one point the MC disguises himself as the guy with the limp and has to be coached on how to walk with limp. He fakes simply limping but that's not right as the guy with the limp has the limp but walks trying to minimize it.

Also in the end the MC and the princess have kids and are raising them jointly between the medieval world and the modern world.

I read this sometime between 2000-2005.

  • @user14111 yeah not it. I think the story I'm looking for had something to do with Russians (hence why I think the MC is named Ivan) but the Harold Shea stories do look interesting. Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 17:39
  • 1
    Wow. Sure it's easy to fly medieval princesses, but try to land one!
    – John O
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 18:12
  • Harold Shea's girl is Belphebe a virgin-huntress character in Edmund Spenser's poem The Faerie Queene. One of the things in Shea's 'travels' is that he ends up in works of fiction rather than the past.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 23:39

1 Answer 1


Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. 1999.

"The protagonist and narrator is Ivan Smetski, a young Ukrainian-American linguist who specializes in Old Church Slavonic, a language from 10th-century Russia. In 1992, Ivan returns to his native town of Kiev to pursue additional graduate studies. While there he re-discovers the body of a woman that he had seen as a child, apparently sleeping in the woods. He awakens her with a kiss, and she tells him, in Old Church Slavonic, that she is Katerina, a princess of the kingdom of Taina." - Wikipedia

"These words frightened her even more than his immoral claims about women wearing men's clothing."

"... A woman puts on her husband's shirt and we think it's charming. That it shows love and ..."

"Whatever a man wears is men's clothing while he's wearing it, and whatever a woman wears is women's clothing while she's wearing it."

" “What, I can be naked and you can't part with one piece of clothing?” “Are you trying to shame me?"

" Ivan took a few steps, trying to get Sergei's limp right. “No, no,” said Sergei. “You look like you're trying to limp. I try not to limp.” Ivan tried again. It wasn't good, but it was better."

  • 1
    I think that's it. Thank you. Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 22:56
  • You are welcome.
    – Frock
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 2:12

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