After we fought the shark, Geirlaug sprinkled some white powder over us, and the next thing I knew we were outside the palace of my parents. I hadn’t been there since I was a tiny child, but I remembered the surroundings. Geirlaug told me not to drink anything until I had spoken with my father, no matter how thirsty I became.
Why should I become thirsty? I thought. The castle gate was only minutes away. I set off, and when I went through the gate, I could see the open door of the castle. It was so near that I could see the color of the wall hangings inside, but no matter how far I walked, the door never appeared to get closer. The sun burned hotly and my tongue became parched with thirst. I couldn’t understand what was happening. What was the matter with me?
My knees knocked, my mind swam, and I staggered blindly onwards. Then I heard the sound of rushing water and saw a stream falling over a rock in a cool patch of wood. I left the path, fought my way through brambles and cast myself down beside the fountain. I completely dismissed Geirlaug’s warning, seized the cup that was hanging from a tree, and drank deeply. When I rose, my remembrance of Geirlaug had vanished, along with the memory of everything I had lived.
Then a white-haired man and woman appeared at the open castle door. “Grethari! Grethari!” they called. “You have come home at last!”
Grethari the Orphaned Prince in Geirlaug the King’s Daughter, Olive Fairy Book. Illustration “Enchanted Castle” by Errol Le Cain