Once upon a time, a beautiful Norwegian Princess with magical powers visited a German talk-show host and turned her into a golden salmon -- or was it the other way around?
Norwegian Crown Princess Mette-Marit sporting a matching red hat and face.
One of Germany's most prominent talk-show hosts received an unexpected award on Friday.
Sandra Maischberger, who presents a popular daily show of the same name on the news channel n-tv, was honored by the Norwegian government with the "Golden Salmon" for sending Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit back home red-faced.
A fishy tale, I hear you say, but true nonetheless. Back in May, Maischberger was granted an interview with Mette-Marit and her husband Prince Haakon at the royal couple's residence in Norway.
Of Fjords and fish
Now, Norway is famed for fjords, freezing weather and err, fish. Let's not kid ourselves: It will never make it onto the front page of The World's Top Sunshine Resorts.
Which is why -- because the sun was actually shining on that May day in Norway -- the royal couple spontaneously decided to soak up some rays and asked for the interview to be held outside.
N-tv talk-show host Sandra Maischberger looking slightly red-faced herself.
Fine, thought Maischberger and her crew and proceeded to move the equipment outdoors.
Hot and sunny
With typical German efficiency, they decided that the natural sunlight with its meager 6,000 or so degrees Celsius would not do the job and set up a number of powerful spotlights for good measure to present the couple in a good light.
A-ha, I hear you say, and, yes, you're right, Mette-Marit's fellow Norwegians once sang a little ditty about the sun always shining on TV.
At first, things were going swimmingly, but then the golden salmon popped up. Roughly an hour into the interview, poor old Mette-Marit looked more like a red salmo salar (No, that's not Norwegian, it's the Latin name for salmon) than a cool, blonde Norwegian beauty.
The combined force of the sun's rays and the powerful studio lights had caused severe sunburn in her face and snowblindness (which you might expect in Norway but not in Berlin)!
Photos later showed the poor princess' flecky skin peeling off and hanging in flaps off her face, not unlike an, er, aging salmon, come to think of it.
If Maischberger was in line to win anything at that point, it was surely going to be the "Golden Toast" award. She was toast, her career was toast.
However, her magnanimous bosses bore no grudges and Mette-Marit's sunny disposition ensured that there would be no repercussions.
On the contrary. The images of Mette-Marit looking like a lobster unleashed an "enormous wave of sympathy for the Nowegian couple at home" said the Norwegian prize committee in a statement. And it guaranteed Maischberger a torrent of publicity here in Germany.
And the moral of story is: Make sure your frozen salmon is from Norway.