The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

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Hyacinthia Who is Trapped in the Underworld

I am one of thirty young women who have been trapped underground by my father who is a powerful magician.

He allows us to surface and play in the water as ducks, but then we must put on our white robes and return through the portal of the willow tree that stands by the lake.

Today, when my sisters put on their robes, I could not find my own. Then I saw a young man crouched in the tall grasses. I knew him as Prince Milan, and he was holding my garment.

I begged him to give it to me. I saw that he had the sort of choice that defines a person’s character. He could hold onto my robe and keep me as a duck. Or he could give me the robe and let me go back to the underworld.

But it was even more complicated because I knew that if he returned my robe to me, he would come under my father’s power. He’d be made a servant in the underworld.

I wondered. What would he do?

Hyacinthia in King Kojata, Green Fairy Book. Illustration by H.J. Ford.

Hyacinthia Who is Trapped in the Underworld

Once the prince took the garment of the white duck, he was bound to her, one way or the other. How would you describe the prince’s dilemma? What would you do, standing in his shoes? Have you ever been in this position in your life?