reaching the castle. But with us, you
will arrive tonight!” Then he used
his gaze to burn a path through
every obstacle directly to the wizard’s
castle. Following this path, the four
travelers reached its iron gates just as
the sun was setting.
Entering the castle, they soon
found themselves in a great hall
where a long table was laden with the
finest of foods. Along the wall, many
knights and princes stood like statues
where they had been turned to stone
by the wizard—some in the midst of
drawing their swords, others frozen
in attitudes of terror, and one lifting
a tankard of ale.
Hungry after their long journey,
the four travelers sat down to enjoy
the feast before them and ate until
they felt like their stomachs would
pop. Just as they took their last
bites, a crooked old wizard in a long,
black cape appeared in the doorway.
Around his waist hung three iron
belts. Looking darkly at the prince, the wizard croaked, “I assume that you
have come to take the princess from me, so I will make a deal with you. If
you can keep her for three nights, she will indeed be yours. But if I find her
missing when I return each morning, I will add you and your friends to my
collection of stone statues.” Then he vanished in a puff of green smoke. As
the cloud dissipated, the men saw the princess, as pale and cold and still as
the grave, standing in the place where the wizard had been.
The prince bowed respectfully. “My lady, we offer you our service and
pledge to rescue you from this castle!” Though the princess could make
no reply, her sad, silent stare pierced the prince’s heart and fueled his
desire to save her.
H’M. I WISH I HAD
FRIENDS WITH SPECIAL
TALENTS LIKE THAT.