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Helena

There once was a small village near the Western forests. Not much happened there, and the villagers preferred it that way. Among the villagers, however, was a woman called Helena. Helena was not so content with their simple way of life. She dreamed of royal palaces of marble, of gleaming spires atop castles, of cities bursting with activity. Most of all she dreamed of a prince who would come to whisk her away.

“Soon my prince will come!”, she would say to anyone who would listen. “He will come and take me from this village and we shall be together forever!”

The other villagers would scoff and go back to their fields.

One day, a young man came to the village, looking to take a wife. He came upon Helena and, taken by her beauty, asked her hand in marriage.

“Oh dear Helena! Won’t you be mine!”

“You are very kind”, she replied, “but I am waiting for my prince to take me away”.

He tried again and again, with gifts and serenades, but still she would only say that she was waiting for her prince. Saddened, he left the village and continued his journey.

A year later, another man tried, to much the same. And another, and another. No matter how hard they tried, they always got the same reply, “but I am waiting for my prince to take me away”.

The women she’d grown up with tutted and sighed, as one by one they were married, until only Helena remained.

Winters came and summers passed. Youngsters became adults, adults became elders. Those she knew moved away to the city she so craved. Soon there was no-one but her. And still she waited.

“Soon my prince will come!” she would cry, alone, to herself.

A child out berry-picking came across her washed up downstream. She was smiling. Her prince had come, riding in on his pale horse, and at last taken her from the village.