GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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have only taken it in a case of extreme need. My wife has seen your lettuces from her window, and she wished for them so much that she said she should die if she could not have some of them to eat."
Then the witch's anger cooled a little, and she replied, " If what you tell me is true, then I will give you full permission to take as many lettuces as you like, on one condition. You must give up to me the child which your wife may bring into the world. I will be very kind to it, and be as careful of it as a mother could be."
The husband in his alarm promised every thing the witch asked, and took away with him as many lettuces as his wife wanted.
Not many weeks after this the wife became the mother of a beautiful little girl, and in a short time the witch appeared and claimed her, according to the husband's promise. Thus they were obliged to give up the child, which she took away with her directly and gave her the name of Letitia, but she was always called Lettice, after the name of the vegetable which grew in the garden.
Lettice was the most beautiful child under the sun, and as soon as she reached the age of twelve years, the witch locked her up in a tower that stood in a forest, and this tower had no steps, nor any entrance, excepting a little window. When the witch wished to visit Lettice, she would place herself under this window and sing :
" Lettice, Lettice, let down your hair, That I may climb without a stair."
Lettice had most long and beautiful hair like spun gold, and when she heard the voice of the witch, she would unbind her golden locks, and let them fall loose over the window-sill, from which they hung down to such a length that the witch could draw herself up by them into the tower.
Two years passed in this manner, when it happened one day that the king's son rode through the forest. While passing near the tower, he heard such a lovely song and could not help stopping to listen. It was Lettice who tried to lighten her solitude by the sound of her own sweet voice.
The king's son was very eager to obtain a glimpse of the singer, but he sought in vain for a door to the tower; there was not one to be found.