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A fair prisoner.

From Enchanted Castle Fairy Tales
by Hartwell James
Age Rating 4 to 6.

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"The sweetest flower That decks the golden breast of May." --_Langhorne._ 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 delay. 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.


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