I went swimming with my friends and when we came out of the lake, I couldn’t find my clothes!

I knew where I had stashed them. They were dazzling white. There wasn’t any other explanation except that they had been stolen!

My friends stopped helping me when they thought there might be robbers in the woods. They left me huddled in the thicket, naked and weeping.

Then I heard a man’s voice say, “Don’t be afraid. I have your clothes. I’ll give them back to you if you come with me.”

There was something in his tone that I trusted. And besides, what choice did I have?

I took the clothes, put them on, and followed him to town. There he bought me a small horse that ran like the wind. I could have run away, but I didn’t.

Porcelain Maiden in The Golden Blackbird, Green Fairy Book. Image by Louis Icart.