After we had been turned into swans, our only hope was our sister. Only she could break the spell. She would have to make shirts for the six of us–spin the thread from the asters in the forest, weave the thread into cloth, and sew the cloth into shirts–all without speaking a single word or even uttering a sound.
She hid in the woods for a while, but then the king discovered her. He took her back to the castle and married her. As queen, she carried on with her secret task, but people did not understand what she was doing or why she could not speak. The king’s mother accused her of horrible crimes, of eating her own children and practicing witchcraft. She was thrown into prison and sentenced to be burned at the stake.
While awaiting her death, she worked on our shirts. On the day she was led to the fire, she had finished all but one. Mine was missing a sleeve.
My siblings live happily now, and they can forget what happened to us. But I have one swan’s wing, and I am asked, over and over again, to tell the story.