a play (c. 1610) by William Shakespeare. It begins sadly and ends happily. Leontes, king of Sicilia, thinks that his wife is not faithful. He puts her in prison and orders his baby daughter to be left on a 'desert shore'. He believes that they are both dead, and feels very sorry for what he has done. His daughter, however, is found by a shepherd (= a person whose job is to look after sheep), and grows up to become a shepherd herself. When she falls in love with a prince they run away together to Sicilia. There, Leontes recognizes his daughter and finds out that his wife is also alive. The young lovers are married and the king and queen are united again.