74 THE GARDEN OF THE SORCERESS.
So he rode home, but the song had made such an impression
on his heart that he went daily into the forest to listen. Once
while he stood behind a tree, he saw the witch approach the tower
and heard her say,—
"Lettice, Lettice, let down your hair, That I may climb without a stair."
Presently he saw a quantity of long golden hair hanging down low over the window-sill, and the witch climbing up by it.
" Oh !" said the young prince, " if that is the ladder on which persons can mount and enter, I will take the first opportunity of trying my luck that way." So on the following day, as it began to grow dark, he placed himself under the window and cried,—
" Lettice, Lettice, let down your hair, That I may climb instead of a stair."
Immediately the hair fell over the window, and the young prince quickly climbed up and entered the room where the young maiden lived.
Lettice was dreadfully frightened at seeing a strange man come into the room through the window; but the king's son looked at her with such friendly eyes, and began to converse with her so kindly, that she soon lost all fear.
He told her that he had heard her singing, and that her song had excited such deep emotion in his heart that he could not rest till he had seen her. On hearing this, Lettice ceased to fear him, and they talked together for some time, till at length the prince asked her if she would take him for a husband. For a time she hesitated, although she saw that he was young and handsome, and he had told her he was a prince. At last she said to herself, "He will certainly love me better than"old Mother Grethel does." So she placed her hand in his, and said, " I would willingly go with you, and be your wife; but I do not know in the least how to get away from this place. Unless." she said, after a pause, " you will bring me every day some strong silk cord, then I will weave a ladder of it, and when it is finished I will descend upon it, and you shall take me away on your horse."
The prince readily agreed to this, and promised to come and see her every evening till the ladder was finished, for the old witch always came in the day time.
The witch had never seen the prince; she knew nothing of his