Once upon a time there was a fair maiden. She lived happily in her own little world in her own little corner of a garret. Her friends were odd little creatures: the birds and the mice. But she was happy. And that was enough. Dreams took her to lands unexplored. Songs lifted her days while she cleaned and cleaned.
Nothing ever stays the same. Life changes. And so, all went along this way, until one day . . .
One day, a messenger came, announced a party, extended an invitation, and invited the maiden. All day she fretted as she put her house to order, for, you see, all she did was cook and clean and sing and talk with her friends the mice, so she had nothing suitable to wear for the dance. But innocence is richer than silk dresses and kindness purer than glass slippers. Such goodness better adorns a pretty face.
And so, the maiden went to the party. She looked very pretty, so pretty, that many eyes followed her about the room, feminine eyes jealous of her laughter, masculine eyes longing for her favor. But only one handsome, young prince had the courage to ask her to dance. Thus, she danced only one dance. This dance was enough. All the unexplored worlds her dreams had built vanished. A memory replaced them, the memory of the dance and of the prince.
Yet, as the story goes, time was up, the clock stuck twelve, and the maiden had to return home. She left in a hurry, into the night she flurried, carrying with her the dreams building a castle from a dance. In this dream castle in the clouds, the maiden danced with the prince, for she thought he would follow her.
The maiden waited, for seven months, she built her dreams, and she waited, hoping for the prince to find her, hoping to dance with him again. But he never came. And the clouds upon which her castle sat drifted away. Still the dance remained a memory to which she clung with fondness, remembering she could have missed this sadness, but she would have had to miss that dance. And so, the maiden lived, not so happily, in her own little corner of a garret. She had her friends, who were odd little creatures –the birds and the mice. But she was not so happy as she was once.
What she did not know, was that the prince, so enchanted with the maiden, felt in his heart he must find her. And thus, he searched. For seven months he pursued the maiden. He searched the cottages near the sea, he searched the mansions on the hilltops, he searched the houses in the village, but he did not search in the little corner of a garret, which was where the maiden lived. So, he did not find the maiden. When time had passed, he grew tired of waiting for the maiden to appear. And in the meantime he longed to marry, and chose a wife, very charming and sweet and kind. And in the end, the memory of the maiden faded. For, to him, she was just a pretty face, and nothing more.
But, nothing ever stays the same. Life changes.
The maiden did not end her days in her own little world in her own little corner of a garret. She learned to look out from under the eaves. She saw all the wonderful parties there were in the world and all the dreamy princes who awaited her, asking for another dance. And she danced, a good many dances, and became very, very happy –happier than she had ever been before. For, you see, she had found a prince who saw more than just a pretty face. And so, they danced happily ever after.