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A fair prisoner.
From Enchanted Castle Fairy Tales
Start of Story
by Hartwell James
Age Rating 4 to 6.
"The sweetest flower
That decks the golden breast of May."
SOME four or five hundred years ago there stood upon the banks of the
River Tweed, in Great Britain, a grand and stately castle.
It was enclosed by high walls, and its gates were guarded day and night
by soldiers, for these were warlike times, and an enemy might be lurking
near, watching his opportunity to make a raid upon the owner's property.
At one corner of the castle was a high tower, in the topmost chamber of
which was imprisoned a beautiful maiden, the only daughter of the
chieftain who owned the castle.
And not far away stood another grand old castle, the lord of which was
her father's greatest enemy, whose only son had dared to ask the
maiden's hand in marriage.
Very terrible to see was the chieftain's anger when his child confessed
her love for the son of his enemy; and since she would not give him up,
or listen to the words of other suitors, he shut her up in the
turret-chamber, where she could hold no communication with the outer world.
Day after day this stern father climbed the steep staircase and bid the
maiden renounce her love. But the poor girl remained faithful, and
continued a prisoner.
And what of her lover? Had he deserted her? No indeed; he thought of her
day and night, and was busy forming plans for her escape.
In the disguise of a peddler he came to offer his wares for sale at the
castle, and by means of rich gifts he bribed the maid who waited upon
his betrothed to convey to her a stout silken cord, by which she should
descend from the turret-window.
There he would await her, with horses, outside the castle walls, and
together they would ride to the nearest church and be wedded without
At last the appointed day came. In the gathering twilight the maiden saw
her lover's signal, and fastening the cord to the bars of the window she
began the perilous descent.
But, alas, for the hopes of the youthful pair! Making too great haste to
accomplish her descent, her trembling hands missed their hold of the
ropes and she fell, bruised, bleeding, and dying, into the courtyard
below. Then in the words of an old song:
"Love in pity to the deed,
And her loving luckless speed,
Twined her to this plant we call
Now the 'Flower of the Wall.'"
And ever since, upon old walls, and in the nooks and crannies of ruined
buildings, the golden wallflowers have bloomed, filling the air with
fragrance as they tell their story of faithful love.