From the time I was a lad, my grandfather has been telling me stories about the princess who sleeps in the enchanted castle. Many men have lost their lives trying to break through the thorns to reach her. They have all died trying. The castle is under a curse, and those who get into the thorns cannot get out. The lads are pierced through and through, from all sides, and they die a miserable death.
When the king’s son comes along down the road, he stops to ask for directions. I warn him not to go to the castle. Does he not know the stories of the other men who have lost their lives? Does he not know what his heroics will cost him?
He tells me he is not afraid. He will go and see the beautiful Briar-Rose.
And so I watch our future king ride to his death.
Old Man on the Road in The Briar Rose, Grimms. Illustration by Arthur Rackham.