There once was a princess named Maid Maleen who was in love with a prince, but her father wanted to marry her to someone else. She said she wouldn’t marry anyone else, so he built a tower into which no sunlight could enter. He put in seven years’ worth of food and drink, and locked her and her waiting woman in.
Seven years later, when their food and drink ran out, Maid Maleen and her waiting woman took a butter knife and worked some of the stones loose. When they finally broke free from the tower, they found that her father’s castle was in ruins and the surrounding towns had been destroyed.
The two wandered looking for food and work, and eventually made it to another castle where they became scullions in the kitchen.
The Prince of this castle was the one who had loved Maid Maleen. His father had chosen a very ugly woman to be his bride. She was in the castle, but so ashamed of her ugliness that she never left her room and Maid Maleen had to take her her meals.
On the wedding day, the bride was so worried the people would laugh at her ugliness, that she hatched a plan. She told Maid Maleen that she had hurt her foot and would not be able to walk to the church, so she told Maid Maleen to put on her dress and be a stand in bride. At first Maid Maleen refused, but when the bride said, “Do it, or die,” she didn’t have a choice.
As the Prince led her through the town, she sang odd little songs. When the Prince asked her what she was singing, she always said, “It’s nothing.” At the church door, the Prince took a necklace and put it around her neck. They were married, and when they returned to the palace, she went to the bride’s room and took off the dress and jewels, but kept the necklace.
When the ugly bride went to the Prince that night, she wore a veil so he couldn’t see her. He asked her what she had sung at the various points as they walked. The ugly bride went and found Maid Maleen for all the answers. When she finally lifted her veil, the Prince was shocked. She explained what she had done, and the Prince wanted to see the scullery maid.
The ugly bride went out and tried to have Maid Maleen executed, but she screamed and the Prince came to her rescue. He saw the necklace and knew her to be his “real” bride. She also told him that she was Maid Maleen, and they lived happily ever after. The ugly bride was executed.
So Maid Maleen and her waiting woman just sat in a dark tower for seven years before thinking of trying to escape?