“The Old Woman in the Wood”
A family was traveling by carriage through a forest when they were attacked by robbers who killed everyone except a serving girl who hid behind a tree. The girl wandered looking for a road to lead her out of the forest since nobody lived there. When evening came she sat down under a tree and resolved to just wait for whatever.
Not long after that, a dove flew to her with a little, golden key in its beak. It told her that it would unlock a tree where she would find food. The dove brought a second key to a second tree where she would find a bed to sleep. The next morning, the dove brought a third key to a third tree where she would find clothing more splendid than had by any princess. The girl lived there for some time, with the dove bringing keys to unlock trees for whatever she needed.
Eventually, the dove asked for a favor. It wanted the girl to go to a house of an old woman. The girl was not to speak to the woman and only pass her on the right. In the house was a room filled with rings of gold and jewels. Among them is a plain ring. She was to find this plain ring and return it to the dove.
The girl went to the house and didn’t speak to the old woman. This upset the woman who tried to stop the girl, but the girl rushed into the room filled with rings. While she’s looking for the plain ring, she notices the old woman was trying to leave with a bird cage. The girl went after her and found that the bird in the cage had the ring. The girl grabbed it and ran back to the dove.
But the dove didn’t show up. Instead one of the trees turned into a handsome prince. The old woman was a witch who had turned him into a tree, but for two hours a day he could be a dove. All of his servants and horses had also been turned into trees, and they all returned to their original form. The prince and the girl married and lived happily ever after.
Wait, they were going by carriage through a forest without a road? Why?
I didn’t know trees came with locks.
“I’ll turn you into a tree … and for two hours a day you can be a dove.” Why?
Why trees? More importantly, why trees with locks hiding closets and bedrooms? What was the importance of the plain ring?
Why did the prince tree/dove wait to ask the girl to break the spell and not, you know, the day after she showed up?
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