GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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PRINCESS MALEEN.                    565
loved each other so dearly that they would not be separated, and Princess Maleen told her father she would not marry any one else than the son of the neighbouring king.
On hearing this her father fell into a great rage, and ordered a dark tower to be built, into which not a sunbeam nor a ray of moonlight could penetrate. When it was finished, he said to his daughter, " You shall be shut up in that tower for seven years, and then I will come and see if your obstinacy is not cured."
Provisions to last for the time were stored in the tower, and then the princess and her maid were led into it, walled up, and cut off at once from heaven and earth, and there they had to remain in total darkness, unable to distinguish day from night.
The prince went often to the tower, and called the princess by name, but no sound could penetrate those thick walls; and what could she do but weep and complain ?
Time passed on, and by the decrease in the provisions she knew that the seven years were coming to an end, and she supposed the hour of her release was at hand; but no stroke of a hammer was heard, no stone fell from the walls, and it seemed as if her father had forgotten her.
Finding no change, and knowing that their provisions would not last much longer, the position of Princess Maleen and her maid became very painful, for a terrible death threatened them, " We must not give up yet," said the princess. " I think we might try to break through the walls in some way." She took up the bread-knife as she spoke, and dug and scraped at the mortar between the stones for a long time, and when she was tired the maid took her place.
After working very hard they managed to displace one stone, then a second, and a third, and in three days the first ray of light fell upon the darkness, and at last there was an opening large enough for them to look through. The sky was blue, and the fresh air that came into the tower had a sweet fragrance. But how sad everything appeared to the princess. Her father's castle lay in ruins, the towns and villages round it, so far as one could see, were burnt. The fields, far and wide, had been laid waste, and not a living soul could be seen.
They continued to work till the opening in the wall was large enough for any one to creep through. Then the maid jumped