The Perils of Rosella: From the Chronicles of Daventry, Part IV (Part 4 in some editions) is the novelization of KQ4 from the King's Quest Companion. It is written from the perspective of Valanice (as told to her by Rosella).

The novelization is actually designed as a walkthrough that can be followed to win the game. It follows the main path through the game (as designated by the game developers)[1].

The Perils of RosellaEdit

Note: The section titles correspond to unnamed section brakes in the original text. The titles themselves did not exist, but are here to make the story easier to read.

Chapter I: PrologueEdit

This is Rosella's story, although to tell it I just begin with myself.

Rosella lies quiet now, recovering from her ordeals. She has told me her story, again and again, trying to purge many of its horrors from her mind, to make them less real for the retelling. She begs me to record her recounting, ink to parchment, before the facts grow cold and distant. This I do gladly for my daughter who risked all, again and again, for love of her father.

My children are safe and my husband is again well. Daventry is rebuilding. A peace seems to be settling on the land like a weary warrior home from the wars sinking into a comfy chair. The fit is good---the fighter and the chair. Daventry and peace. All want and pray for the end of the troubles, and release from the weariness that steals people's strength and souls. We pray the peace does not pass as quickly as the almost-remembered dream of a quiet night.

A am Valanice of Kolyma, daughter of Coignice, who was a miller's daughter, and Cedric, a prince of that fair and tropic land. Now I am wife and love to King Graham of Daventry, who rescued me from the Crystal Tower of the Enchanted Isles, and who is father of our twin children, Alexander and Rosella. I have some small reputation as scholar versed in the history and folklore our world, but I am more comfortable as a teacher of young minds, getting joy from the smiles of discovery beaming from children's faces.

The pleasure of seeing those smiles on Alexander's face was denied me, as was his childhood and youth after he was stolen from his cradle by the shores of Lake Maylie. But Rosella---ah, my darling Rosella---she I taught, both as student, daughter, and heir to the throne of Daventry. All I knew, and all I learned, I offered her, as did my husband. Histories, geography, folklore, common sense, and rules of thumb; swimming, running, riding, shooting, and fighting; stories of honor, courage, valor, humor, and humility; tales of love, death, and hard choices---all these she devoured, as if hungry to learn enough for two. She also learned to climb trees and clean house, sing, play the flute, the lute, and all the keyboards, speak politely, listen quietly, and survive alone in the wilderness.

All of our love we gave to our princess, and when the dragon---Oh, vile beast!---demanded her as a sacrifice against the total destruction of all Daventry and its people, she returned that love by willingly going to meet that flaming doom. She had learned well about hard choices, and marched with sure, firm steps, back straight and head held high, to the appointed place. Only one small, quiet tear glistened on her young face as she kissed us farewell for what we all thought to be the final time. As she disappeared into the mountain, Graham and I were devastated with loss.

Chapter IIEdit

I think it was the immensity of emotion, combined with the sudden and complete change of fortune, that brought about my husband's collapse. Rosella was gone but two or three hours when the gnome came shouting to the castle's gates that she was safe and well, we went from the pit of grief to the pinnacle of happiness in the time it took to hear "Rosella is safe, the kingdom is saved!" This news, this happy shock, left Graham and I so weak-kneed that we literally could not stand after hearing it. Thus it was that we were sitting on our thrones to greet the daughter who came back to us as if from the dead. She was leading her long-lost and presumed-dead brother by the hand.

It seemed hours, but 'twas only minutes that we laughed and cried and hugged and cried and cried and cried some more. In a world where miracles often happen, where the impossible sometimes only takes a little longer, that for which we had given up all hope stood embracing us. After almost eighteen years, were a family again.

It lasted less than an hour.

In the euphoria of the occasion, Graham went and took th eold hat he called his "adventurer's hat"---the rumpled one with the red feather---and tossed it to the children, offering them their future. It was still drifting down towards their outstretched hands when my beloved Graham dropped to the floor, clutching his chest. As I said, I think too many strong emotions in too short a time are what felled him.

With all haste he was taken to our chambers and the royal physicians summoned. They could do no good. Nothing helped my husband; neither their healing herbs and ointments, magical invocations, nor laying on hands. Death seemed certain and certainly soon.

Rosella, who had just so recently stared at her own death, could not bear to witness her father's imminent end. New tears burst from her as she rushed to the throne room so as to grieve alone. "If there were only something I could do!" she demanded of the empty air, knowing that no answer could come. But one did!

A soft voice whispered to her from nowhere, "If you really want to help, look into the magic mirror, for help is there." Unbelieving and startled, Rosella quickly turned to face Merlin's Mirror, which tells the future and tells it true. She watched it shimmer and saw a woman's face appear. The image was that of the fairy Genesta who some say is the queen of all the fairies. Genesta told Rosella of a magic tree that bears just one fruit every hundred years, and how that fruit cures all ills, bestowing perfect health for many years upon the one who eats it. Genesta offered to take Rosella to Tamir where the tree was, even then, bearing its unique fruit. Genesta's magic would carry her to the far land.

There was something in the way Genesta made the offer that caused my daughter to refrain from elation. "There's something you're not telling me, I think. I would accept the fruit gladly for my father's sake. But, why can't you simply bring it here? Why do I have to go there?"

Genesta nodded. "Life is never simple, is it? If you come here, I will explain. But you must make up your mind quickly, for my powers are fading and, once here, I might not be able to help you return. It is King Graham's only hope, and you must decide now if you truly wish to help your father!" Rosella says that doubts and indecision crossed her mind at that moment. They crossed her mind and then faded away behind a courageous and determined, "Yes, I will go!"

Chapter IIIEdit

"What should I bring? Oh!" She had continued speaking following her vigorous nod of agreement. These words were not spoken in the throne room of Castle Daventry, however, but on a lonely beach by an ocean. Genesta's magic had carried her there in the time between words. Rosella assumed she was now in Tamir. "I never expected to get her this quickly," she murmured in her amazement.

It seemed a fair place. Looking around, she saw a golden beach stretching north and south and a small river flowing out of the east through flower-filled meadows. The ocean filled all of the west, although Rosella thought she could barely see the faint outline of an island in the disance. On the other hand, it just might have been clouds or fog; she wasn't sure. As she stared across the waves, three dots appeared flying towards her, soon resolving themselves into the forms of Genesta and two other creatures, fairies of the tiny race. They all floated noiselessly to the ground in front of her.

Rosella was stunned by Genesta's beauty, but the fairy queen carried a sad and desperate expression upon her face. "Welcome to Tamir," she said. "Yesterday, while I walked through the nearby woods, an evil fairy by the name of Lolotte attacked me. She stole a magic Talisman from around my neck, leaving me, I think, for dead. I was not, although I will be soon, for the Talisman is the source of much of my magic. My powers have already diminished, and if the Talisman is not recovered within twenty-four hours, I will die! Lollote is evil and hates me. She will use the Talisman for evil purposes and contaminate the land. Only you can stop her."

Genesta went on to say that she thought Rosella could get into Lolotte's caste, which lurked above Tamir in the Impossible Mountains. To help, she waved her wand and transformed my daughter's gown into the simple dress of a peasant girl, saying the disguise would help if Lolotte captured her.

"But, what about my father? What about the magic fruit?"

"The fruit is on a tiny tree, on a tiny island in a swamp. The swamp is on the other side of the moutnains, on the other side of a waterfall, and on the other side of a dark and fearsome cave---the lair of the troll. That is where you must go to find it. However, I will not be able to return you to Daventry unless I have the Talisman, so you must get it back from Lolotte and bring it to me on my island. It is the only hope for me, Tamir, and your father!" With that, Genesta and her fairies flew over the waves and out of sight.

"Thanks a lot!" my daughter grumbled. "But then, I'm not tied to a stake, face to snouts with a three-headed, fire-breathing dragon! My father, mother, and brother all have done impossible things; it's my turn to show them up!"

Chapter IVEdit

Lolotte and the Impossible Mountains lay to the east, so Rosella set her steps that way, following the cold river. She had not gone far when she was surprised by the sight of a unicorn standing in a fragrant meadow next to where the river turned north. Some say the unicorn is a mythic beast that does not exist in fact, but there it stood, spotted-gray in color, it's head nodding and sunlight glinting off its long, golden horn. The great, magical horned horse grazed among the wildflowers. Startled at the sound of Rosella coming close, the beast bolted away.

Sad at not being able to gaze longer upon the unicorn, Rosella followed the river north, then east, until she came to a stone bridge crossing the stream. As she came closer to what she thought a charming span, a sparkle caught her eye where a stray ray of sunlight slipped under the bridge. Kneeling, she got a good look at what appeared to be a ball---a golden ball the size of a large button. Rosella admired the ball's luster and hefted it. Heavier than it looked, it must have been made of pure gold. She put it into one of the many pockets of her peasant dress and followed the stream east.

Chapter VEdit

The river meandered calmly through the trees, on and on. Soon it even flowed directly through the roots of an oak so large that a small two storey house was built between the giant branches on the river's bank. A red door beckoned her to knock; perhaps here she could get help on her dual quests. Three knocks brought silence. Rosella thought someone should be home because a thin trail of smoke drifted out the chimney. Gingerly, she opened the door and shouted, "Anyone here? Yoo-hoo!" Still there was no answer, so she started looking around. The place was an absolute, abysmal mess. In the sink were dirty dishes that looked as if they had been unscrubbed for weeks with crusty remains of half-finished meals stuck tight to them. Yuk!

It looked even worse to Rosella upstairs. Still calling for anyone who might be there, she discovered one large bedroom containing seven small beds. At least at the time she thought there were seven. So bad was the mess there---with dirt-caked clothes and boots strewn about, stiff socks with odors that brought her close to retching, and filthy bedding that appeared to move under its own power---Rosella was sure no one who lived there knew just what the debris hid. There could have been an entire village there that she couldn't see. It was beyond yuk!

Down the stairs and outside my daughter ran, hoping to get some fresh air. Breathing deeply, she crossed the gentle river and walked to the hilly woods just south of the house. The scent of pine and fresh earth soon cleared her head. "I thought my room was messy," she told herself. Before long, Rosella spotted a door in one of the hills, apparently the entrance to a mine. The sound of people digging came from within, and she thought perhaps these folk might be able to give her some help.

Inside she found seven stocky people dwarfs by their appearance, digging what looked like diamonds from the earth. They were so dirty from their labors that she was sure taht these were the folk who lived in the tree house. The mine even smelled much the same. "Hello!" she cried, trying to get their attention. Their attention they got allright. The dwarfs looked up at her, but their looks weren't very friendly. Grumbling, they went back to their work, but one especially grumpy looking one told her gruffly, "Scram!".

Rosella scrammed---right back to their filthy home. While not exactly hot-headed, my daughter does not take insult lightly. She felt her treatment by the miners was insulting and osme retribution was in order. She cleaned their house.

Chapter VIEdit

I know it seems like a stupid idea: she has a little less than a day to accomplish two life-or-death quests and she spends some of the precious time getting even for some imagined insult. That's my daughter; she has always been her own woman. It's hard, but we must always remember that we cannot live our children's lives for them. Not that anyone could have stopped her at the time.

Why clean house, though? She tells me that in her messy rooom, she knows exactly where everything is and figured the same must be true of the seven dwarfs. By cleaning the filth and clutter they might never find anything again, and this would sweet payback. And it was a small house.

They dwarfs walked in just as she finished. Rosella heard them coming, but all she could do was hide in a corner and hope they'd just kick her out when they found her. She would not lie. She would admit to what she did, but she didn't have to tell them why. Anyway, they probably wouldn't hurt someone for cleaning, would they? They wouldn't.

One by one they filed into the kitchen and poured themselves bowls of steaming soup. Maybe they were too tired from their labors, but they didn't see Rosella and they didn't see the cleaning. Finally, one by one, their bulls full, they sniffed and looked around. Grins burst out on their tired faces as they noticed the clean state of affairs and my daughter. So delighted were they with what they saw, they actually thanked her and asked her name, and would she like to sit with them and join in supper? Rosella smiled back. She too was no longer angry, and hungrily she ate some of the soup. It was surprisingly good.

The dwarfs had never heard of Daventry, but they were well aware of Lolotte and held no love for her. Such was the conversation while all finished the brief meal. They could offer no news or information to aid her. "Well, it's off to work we go,"" groused the grumpy dwarf from the mine. WIth a hearty "Heigh Ho!" they pushed themselves away from the table and started back to their mine. Rosella could hear them singing a marching song as they disappeared.

Clearing the dishes from th table before she too left, Rosella saw a thick blue pouch lying among the empty bowls; one of the miners must have forgotten it. Opening it up she discovered a large handful of sparkling diamonds, a fortune for miners such as these. She hurried after them to the mine, to return the precious stones. I did raise her to be honest.

Inside the mine, diamonds sparkled and glittered from the walls. The dwarfs were already busily working; Rosella stopped the first miner she saw and offered him the pouch. "Thanks. Keep 'em," he said. "I don't want 'em!" And that's the way it was from all of the dwarfs. She walked deeper into the mine, and each one gave her the same answer: "Nah, you keep it. We got plenty."

At the very back of the mine, the grumpy one looked up and gently told her that he didn't want the diamonds either; anyway, the mine was no place for a girl like her. "Here, take this," he said, handing her an extra lanter. "It just might come in handy sometime. Now, skedaddle!" Rosella did just that, being careful not to fall down the narrow path out from the mine.

When she had arrived at the tree house the second time, Rosella caught a glimpse of a larger house beyond the trees somewhat to the north. Any help she could get she wanted, so she turned her steps north past the dwarf's place. She now thought of it as the home of friends.

Chapter VIIEdit

The trees got thicker as she moved north, and they led to a graveyard ust a little west of the hosue she had seen. Graveyards are not common, I know, but it is said that they are creepy even in the harshest light of day. This one, shrouded by the trees both alive and dead, seemed that way to Rosella. She stopped briefly to read the inscriptions on a few of the tombstones. At the back there was even the grave of a six-month old infant who had died in its sleep---Oh, so sad it was!---but she kept her legs moving mostly east to what now appeared to be an old manor house. Rosella kept looking over he shoulder, sure someone, or something, was following her, and that the cold breeze she felt on her neck blew from some unwholesome place.

The manor house wasn't much more comforting; old and falling apart, it too sent shudders up and down Rosella's back. No smoke left its chimney; it might well have been abandond. Nonetheless, Rosella walked the few stairs to the door and knocked loudly. As was the case at the dwarf's house, no reply came to any of her repeated knocks and shouts. With a deep breath for extra courage, my daughter opened the creaky door and entered.

Rosella was not at all surprised at the many cobwebs she had to wave through. Abandoned houses grow them much as we grow nails on fingers and toes; they always grow back. She found herself in the entryway where a staircase led up to several open doorways. A mirror stood at the foot of the stairs, and in it she saw the reflection of a pretty peasant girl. With a start Rosella realized that the girl was herself. A grandfather clock showed the only sign of life---the steady ticking of time reminded her that both her father's and Genesta's lives would run out of ticks the following dawn.

To her right, Rosella found the old dust-incrusted dining room, and past that was an utterly cold kitchen. Rosella imagined it had been many years since it had been used. Indeeed, it must have been many years since the house itself had been occupied by anything other than mice and spiders. To the left of the entrance hall she found an equally cold parlor; no fire in the heart, but a few moldy books still sat on the dusty shelves. A large portrait of a young girl hung over the fireplace, its eyes seeming to stare at the parlor's left wall, she discovered a little latch where one of the bookcases and the wall met. She flipped the latch and it opened a secret door into the wall. One the other side of that door, Rosella looked on a narrow staircase going up, and a shovel leaning against one stone wall.

Shouting "Hello!" yet again, my daughter went up those stairs that were so narrow, twisty, and slick with damp that she was ever in danger of tumbling down to the stone floor, perhaps to her death. At the top---Oh, endless climb!---she found an old pipe organ and nothing else. The organ played well and had good tone, but there was nothing to keep Rosella there---other than her displeasure in having to climb down those treacherous stairs wearing a long skirt. There was much to be done so down she did go. The climb didn't change her mind about skirts and stairs at all.

Chapter VIIIEdit

My daughter loves books. She sometimes would rather read than eat or sleep, and this is a good habit that Graham and I have always encouraged. On her way through the parlor, Rosella spent a moment to look at the few books that remained in their abandonment. There was but one of any note, "The Compleat Works of Shakespeare," but it was one of her favorites. The Bard's works are rare but not unknown in our kingdom, and my daughter had taken to memorizing many of the better passages and reciting them with dramatic flair. She always played the heroine. Rosella decided to take the book with her for when she returned to Daventry---if she ever returned, she reminded herself!

Up the main staircase were three bedrooms in as much disrepair as the rest of the manor. The room at the top right of the hall had what looked like a trapdoor in its ceiling, but there was no way to reach it; the ceiling was two high and no rope hung down. The second door led to what must have been the master bedroom; it was dominated by a massive canopy bed. A baby nursery led off from this room, and Rosella sneezed several times from the amount of dust her passing raised as she walked into it. Once love must have filled it, but all that remained amid the dust were a small wooden horse, a cradle, and some furniture. Even the memories were gone.

Rosella left the spooky old manor house and continued her journey east. It turned out that another graveyard lay there, butting into the sheer face of the mountains. A crypt was built into that mountain, with a locked door to bar entrance to anyone without the key. Rosella looked around her and, though the sun shone bright above the overhanging trees, felt overwhelming gloom and despair oozing from the entire cemetery. She looked around, thinking movement might loosen the mood, but to no avail. Near the back part of the place, she came across the gravestone of yet another child, a young boy. This was too much for my daughter, so sad was the inscription, Rosella could stay there no longer. Weeping, she walked back the way she came, past the manor and on through the other part of the graveyard, knowing her steps should soon bring her to open country.

Chapter IXEdit

Sunlight bounced merrily on the still blue and green of the little pond. Rosella shares her father's love of water, and even though the pond was too small to swim in, it offered a clean, open, sunny, healthy place for her to rest a moment. She sought calm by looking at the water lilies that floated serenely on the surface, idly rolling the gold ball she had found earlier between her hands. A frog---something not at all unusual in a lily pond---sat on one of the floating flowers. The crown on the frog's head, however, was a trifle out of ordinary. Rosella was immediately pulled out of her glum mood by her youthful curiosity---Ah, to be eighteen again (well, almost eighteen), with all the wonders of the universe waiting to be discovered!

My daughter quickly rushed to the other side of the pond to get a closer look at this remarkable frog. As she did so, however, she dropped the ball from her hands, and she watched it disappear into the pond. Flash! the frog was in the water, following the ball under. Moments later it popped back up with it firmly in its mouth. Before retrieving the ball, Rosella reached over and picked up the frog. She was so happy to get the gold ball back that she held the frog firmly, leaned over, and gave it a kiss of gratitude. Yuk!

It gets yuckier. First the frog turned into a young man--a prince, actually. Rosella says her heart went pitter-patter when she finally got past her surprise at the sudden transformation. "Maybe he will help me in his gratitude," she told herself. "I hope so. He sure is good looking!"

This was the day my daughter finally learned the lesson that looks are not everything. The prince looked at her, once, twice. Twisting his face in disgust, he scowled at my princess and spat out, "You're just a peasant, you peasant! I don't want to be around you. You can have this thing; you might look more pleasing as a frog, anyway!" With that, and not even a polite thank you, he threw the little crown to Rosella, turned up his nose, turned his back, and sauntered off. Even I hope that that nameless twit eventually said the wrong thing to the right monster! he was more disgusting than kissing a dozen dirty old frogs.

He didn't take the gold ball, so Rosella picked it up and put it in her pocket along with the tiny gold crown. Still fuming, she headed west toward the ocean.

Chapter XEdit

Rosella found herself wandering through another wildflower meadow, the scents of summer hanging delightfully heavy and replacing all memories of damp earth and tombstones. What sounded something like a melody joined the perfume of the air as my daughter walked. It got nearer and more distinct as she journeyed. It also began to sound less and less like good music.

Rosella eventually encountered the musician, sitting on a stump in the middle of a glade. He dressed like one of the minstrels who had often entertained in the court of Daventry. He strummed upon a lovely cherrywood lute and he even sang with strong voice, but he wasn't any good. His fingers would miss the notes often, and his voice kept missing the melody. Rosella listened politely for a few minutes, but the man seemed to enjoy an audience and, and smiling with confidence of his self-perceived talents, continued enthusiastically into another song.

When he finished she attempted to talk to hi. Instead of an answer, she got yet another untamed melody. Thist ime it was "Greensleeves," the anthem of her father's court---at least that is what he was trying to play. This was quite enough to her offended ears. "Here, take this! she said" as she handed the man the book of Shakespeare. Perhaps he would stop playing. If he did she felt that she would have done the world a large favor. He did cease his playing to turn the pages. In a few moments his face burst again with creative fervor as he began to recite one of the plays aloud. He was as good an actor as he was a minstrel.

"I shall become an actor!" he exclaimed loudly and proudly to the world. "I shall become famous throughout all the realms of the world, and all shall sing the praises of Frankie of Avalon! Oh, thank you for your gift, sweet peasant. As my gift to you, dear girl, I present you with my lute. It is precious, but you have given me something more precious still!"

Chapter XIEdit

Lute under arm, my daughter continued west to the sea. It was still there. To the north of where she stood watching the waves, Rosella could see smoke rising out of the chimney of a small shack. When she got to it, she could see it was so rundown as to be falling apart. For a change, a woman's voice answered her knock. "Come on in!" she heard.

It was in as bad a shape as out. An old woman stood preparing food in the one-room shack. She was neither polite nor friendly. Taking one look at Rosella, she waved her hand towards the still-open door. "Yer not who I was expectin'," she growled. "Git out! I ain't buyin' anything! I ain't got no gold. Git, I say. Git!" Rosella got.

Outside, a long pier stretched its way out into the ocean. At the end, an old man sat fishing, although the complete lack of fish beside him suggested his luck had not been good. he totally ignored Rosella, rose and walked quickly back to the old shack as soon as she approached. He swung the door closed behind him, right in Rosella's face. "People sure don't seem to like strangers around here, do they?" she told herself. Scratching her nose, checking it for splinters from the door, she walked east past the fisherman's hut, considering what to do next. Time was passing quickly, and she seemed to be getting nowhere just as fast.

What-to-do-next had horns, hooves, and was splaying a flute. Rosella recognized the creature as a half-man, half-goat satyr, if she remembered her natural history correctly. Possibly it was Pan himself. These rare denizens of the open woods love music and can sometimes be seen playing and dancing among the trees. In complete contrast to the wandering minstrel, now turned actor, the satyr played beautifully. It was a lively tune---a Maytime dance---that it played; one that Rosella knew well. Plucking the strings with her sure, practiced fingers, my daughter played along with the creature's melody. This seemed to fascinate the satyr; after a few moments he ceased his own playing and watched Rosella, never taking his eyes off of her instrument.

As soon as she finished, she gave the lute to the silent creature, hoping he could play it as skillfully as he did the flute. His eyes lit as the lute was handed over and, with a great smile, he offered Rosella his flute. The creature spoke not a word, but the offer was obvious and my daughter was too polite to refuse the satyr's gift. As Rosella took the flute, the satyr danced away happily, fingering a new tune, one she had never heard before.

Chapter XIIEdit

The river was the best place to go, Rosella decided. She finally remembered that Genesta had told her the magic fruit lay somewhere on the other side of a waterfall. Following the river to where it came out of the Impossible Mountains might just bring her to that waterfall. And that's just what she did, traveling back past the small stone bridge and the dwarf's house, farther and farther to the east. At last the river reached the mountains and---Good thinking, Rosella!---there tumbled a waterfall, straight down out of the heights like an exclamation point at the end of a shout!

Try as she might, Rosella could not swim under the falls; the current and the force of the water were just too strong. She thought she had seen a faint opening on the other side of the plummeting water, but her efforts to get there were proving, shall we say, fruitless.

"There just has to be a way through," she kept telling herself loudly as she sat drying herself on the grassy northern edge of the stream. "I bet I could do it if I were a fish." Pause. Pause. "Or, if I were a frog!{ she exclaimed, enlightenment washed over her. Reaching into her pocket, she took out the frog crown. "The idiot said this would turn me into a frog. I wonder how it works?"

It worked the moment she put the tiny crown onto her head. Ribbit! Ribbit! Rosella was a frog. Diving into the water, she was able to go under the waterfall and emerge on the other side, on a small beach outside a dark cave. The moment she left the water, she returned to her own form. It felt good to be herself again, and she was she wasn't nearly as attractive while a frog.

"Gee, that was fun, and I think I might be going in the right direction," she congratulated herself. Looking around, Rosella noticed an old board lying next to the cave's opening. She also discovered that she was still holing the dwarf's spare oil lantern in her hand. The transformation spell had allowed her to bring her possessions along with her.

Chapter XIIIEdit

Let us pause for a brief moment. I have written that both my husband and I had tried to reach Rosella all we knew. During that moment under the waterfall, our daughter remembered advice Graham had given her often: "Girl, my daddy used to tell me; 'Boy, if I have learned anything in my life, I have learned this: when in doubt or in trouble, pick up anything that is not nailed down, and if it is nailed down, look for loose nails or boards. Check carefully into, under, above, below, and behind things. Read everything, you might learn something. Wear clean undergarments, brush after meals, and always remember, nothing is as it appears. Nothing.

Rosella took the advice to hear and took the loose board by the cave. Then, using the flint attached to the lantern, she was able to light it and, ever so slowly, inched her way into the dark opening.


Rosella was out again before the troll's growl had finished reverberating. She waited a few minutes, getting her breath and courage back under control. She double-checked that the lantern was lit, and firmly told herself, "this is for Daddy." Walking quietly and listening intently, she returned to the darkness.

The troll didn't get her, of course, otherwise this account would have no further to go. But she swears that she never once breathed until she got to the other end of the cave, and she thinks she felt the troll's talons touch her neck once. I suspect she did hold her breath, but if the troll had touched her, she would be dead. Oh brave, brave Rosella! I too would have died of grief!

Her lantern gave just the barest of light, and she made much of her progress by feeling her way. Wary for any sight or sound of the troll, Rosella followed the cave east as far as she could and then as far south as was possible. From there she moved again to the east, shortly spotting the faintest glimmer of light. At that moment, her lantern revealed just the hint of a great, wide crack that slashed through the center of this last part of the cavern. Rosella almost, missed noticing the drop. But see it she did, and by the slim light of the dwarf's lamp, she laid the narrow board across the chasm. It just crossed the span to the east, and so did my daughter, still not breathing. Taking the improvised bridge with her, lest the troll follow---clever girl!---she followed the dim light, soon crawling out to find herself at the edge of a muddy swamp.

Chapter XIVEdit

With perhaps the exception of the troll, problems did not follow my dear Rosella on her adventure. They waited for her courage, taunting her mind and body. In this case, the swamp just moldered there patiently with no breeze at all to ripple its shallow waters, waiting to suck her in.

Rosella pondered the problem and saw a solution in a series of tiny dry mounds---high spots---that peppered the swamp. Hiking up her long skirt to give her long legs their freedom, a quick jump took her safely to the first tiny island. Again, she jumped to a second and then a third. With one jump after another, she made her way through the muck until she came near an island larger than the ret. A little tree grew upon the small piece of land, a single golden fruit hanging form its limbs. My daughter silently rejoiced; she was looking at the magic fruit that could save her father!

She was also looking at one long final leap to the island, one she was sure she couldn't make unaided. She was also looking at a very large poisonous snake, a cobra, that seemed to guard the tree. The board she carried was long enough to get her to the island; the snake posed a sharper problems. --- IT is written that in parts of Daventry people are known to charm snakes, causing the reptiles to go into brief trances induced by the rhythm of music. Rosella had heard this story as part of her studies, so she put her knowledge to the test. First she laid the board across the final piece of swamp and crossed slowly to its other end. Then, before she actually stepped onto the island, she took the flute out of one of the deep pockets of her dress and nervously played a slow, hypnotic melody to the cobra. The snake's hard eyes appeared to fuzz over, and its body began swaying along with Rosella's tune.

Knowing that the charm might not last very long, my daughter rushed past the king cobra and got that single magic fruit from the tree. It was shaped much like a gourd, but she didn't take the time then to examine it. As quickly as she had rushed onto the final isle, Rosella hurried back to the board bridging the water. Carefully she stepped back on, for a single hasty misstep would send her splashing into the sucking slime. She heard the snake resume hissing almost as quickly as her feet stepped onto the makeshift bridge. As soon as she reached the other end, she stooped and picked up the board, and the cobra hissed and spat even louder at its loss of the magic fruit.

Rosella left the swamp as she had entered---jump, jump, jumping her way across the water. On the shore she crawled back into the cave (she had forgotten to extinguish the dwarfs' lantern) and began her cautious way back through the blackness. Again, she laid the old board west across the chasm and carefully crossed. Once safely across, Rosella retraced her steps exactly. She was ready to dart backwards at any sight or sound of the troll, but this time she came through the cave without incident.

As she reached light again at the cave's entrance. Rosella saw something that had escaped her notice when she had entered; a large pile of gnawed bones, many of them showing fresh tooth marks. Remembering her father's advice, she took a bone to carry with her; it might come in handy as a weapon, although she hoped things never came to a desperate state.

The light at the end of the tunnel refreshed her soul; the air refreshed her body. She was out, alive and carrying the fruit that could restore her father's life and health. A slight swell of pride coursed through her body. She revelled in her feat for a few moments, knowing full well that she still had a wicked witch to deal with and a Talisman to return. She also knew that she didn't have much time to do it in. Then Rosella dived into the water and lets its force sweep her back out from the waterfall---no frogging around for my princess that time! She wanted to meet Lolotte in her own form.

Chapters XVEdit

Rosella let her search for Lolotte's castle move her south along the wall of the Impossible Mountains. She was wondering how she would get the Talisman from the witch when she saw a narrow path coming into view. It was the first path she had seen that went up---the direction she wanted to go. My daughter put her planning to the back of her mind and began to climb, always playing close attention to avoid getting her feet tangled in the long dress. She didn't have to climb far; around the path's first bend, the black twin towers of Lolotte's keep shuddered into view. It did not look inviting. Worse, though, were the two small, sturdy forms flying from there directly at her. Before Rosella had time to even think about eluding them, the two flying monkeys---what's what they looked up like up close, she never did find out exactly what they were---snatched her into the sky by her arms, and turning upwards, winged my poor darling straight to Lolotte's throne room!

Lolotte's castle was a cold, hard place, much like the witch herself, only more pleasant. Her throne stood upon a high dais, which permitted her to gaze down like a carrion bird on any who stood before her. Long and gaunt in form, Lolotte was dressed all in black, which gave her greenish complexion an even more diseased pallor. her voice hissed from her throat like a sick snake, her eyes were tight and red, nog quite as soft as a cobra's glare. Her hands gripped the arms of her throne so tightly that her long nails gouged deeply into the wood. A stooped, deformed man stood neary her, scratching his armpits.

"What were you doing, coming here?" she demanded of Rosella. "You look like a spy sent by Genesta!"

"No, your majesty! I'm just an ordinary peasant girl. I was lost when your creatures grabbed me."

Real fear clutched at my daughter as she stood under Lolotte's gaze. It was obvious that the witch did not believe her story, and she waited fearfully for the full force of Lolote's wrath.

The witch ordered her monkey guards to take Rosella to a grim cell---a torture chamber by its looks. Instruments of pain filled the stone room, the bones of unlucky victims hung in manacles from the walls and ceiling, and the place smelled of ultimate despair. Rosella glanced around at what would be her fate and shuddered. She had stared sure death in the eyes before, it still did not look inviting.

My baby was kept there for some time; not long in minutes, but long enough to make a firm impression. Then the guards game back and returned her to the throne room. Pointing to the misshapen figure Rosella had seen earlier, the witch announced that he was her son Edgar, and that he believed my daughter and had taken a liking to her. Rosella swallowed hard as she saw how Edgar stared at her; it was like the dumb-love look a dog might give its mistress. At least, she thought, his stare wasn't evil. But that was small consolation.

"Bring me the unicorn that lives in Tamir. Then I will set you free and give you a reward, peasant girl. You can never escape me. Now, go!"

Lolotte called her flying henchmen and ordered them to take Rosella back to the foot of the mountain. ===Chapter XVI Rosella stood there, watching her captors disappear into the sky. She knw she needed help and advice, and Genesta might be the one who could give it to her. Having made the decision, she started walking straight west to the sea, intending to reach Genesta's island. As she hurried she across a robin pecking at the ground, pulling up at a plump worm. Seeing this gave her an idea, and she decided to gather what worms she could to carry with her to the home of the gruff fisherman and his wife. Bait was her idea. Maybe the man needed more bait; that was why he hadn't caught any fish, and that was why he was so gruff. Maybe he could tell her how to get to Genesta. It sounded good in theory, but, in practice she was only able to come up with one worm. She carried it anyway, knowing she had to cup with a better plant.

Unicorns are shy and bashful bests, magical in both fact and appearance. Rosella's westward course brought the animal into view a second time that day, but as before, it bolted the moment she approached. Although she didn't want to, she had to capture the creature, and she needed Genesta's help to do that. She moved quickly from the unicorn's meadow and soon arrived at the seaside shanty.

The man was not on the pier fishing; both he and his wife were inside and answered her polite knock with a surly "Come in!"

He didn't ant the worm; one worm would do nothing to change his luck. Fishing had been so bad lately that he was afraid his wife and he might starve. If nothing else, that explained their mutual bad temper.

We have here in Castle Daventry a magic chest. Full of gold, it never empties, always replenishing what is taken from it. Because of this, we have no need for the normal material wealth of the world. So, reaching into her dress, Rosella brought out the pouch of diamonds the dwarfs had insisted she keep. "Here, take these, they should help you."

They both fell quiet when they saw the gems. Rosella insisted they keep them, so the man told his wife to give my daughter his fishing pole. "Thank you," they gushed. "We won't be needing this any more!" Pointing west, they told her the island on the far horizon was Genesta's. They had no boat, they said, and they hoped she was a strong swimmer.

Fishing is said to help relax, calm, and organize the mind. Rosella walked to the end of the long pier, baited the pole's hook with the worm, and threw it in the sea. She cared not if she caught anything; she just needed a few moments to thin of alternatives to swimming to the island. I have always told her that, when puzzled or in doubt, it is wise to stop and think a problem through; patience pays great rewards. This time it didn't pay her way across the waves, but after several casts, she did catch a fish. Rosella looked at it. "I'll be hungry soon," she thought. "Now I've got dinner." For want of a better place, it went into the pocket that had moments before held the worm. Then, fixing her eyes firmly on the hazy island in the west, she dove straight from the pier and stroked directly at it.

My husband Graham, as I have mentioned, taught his love of swimming to my daughter. She is a strong swimmer, and her sure strokes swiftly shortened the distance to the fairy's island. Once, a whale started to surface not far from her, but she quickly and briefly changed her course to avoid it. The same with the one shark fin she spotted; a quick swerve, a burst of speed, and the shark disappeared.

Chapter XVIEdit

At last my wet daughter stood on the golden beach of Genesta's isle. Birds of all kinds sang in the trees; a magnificent peacock strutted in the sand. She followed it in the direction of the dazzling turreted palace that stood in the island's center. It seemed made of ivory. As she followed the proud bird, a tail feather dropped from the peacock. It continued on its way without noticing the loss. Rosella picked it up; it was pretty, and it wasn't nailed down.

Marvelous gardens surrounded the ivory palace with fragrant bushes, herbs, and flowers. Small paths wandered throughout; a marble statue of dolphins playing in the waves graced one of the garden's corners, and a small pond, home to a pure white swan, adorned another. Hovering above the doors to the palace were two tiny fairies, perhaps the same ones who had accompanied Genesta to her meeting with Rosella. Hey made no sounds at all, their tiny translucent wings beating in silent strokes. They made no effort to hinder my daughter from opening the great doors and entering.

Inside, Rosella was greeted by two locked doors and a set of stairs leading up through an archway. The two tiny fairies had followed her inside and now fluttered ahead of her and up one of the palace's ivory towers. Rosella followed their lead to the top of the staircase and Genesta's bed chamber. On the marble floor a snow leopard sat guarding the fairy queen, who lay in a seashell bed.

Genesta lay there silently sleeping; pale and thin, she looked close to death. No sound but shallow, labored breathing came from her, and her fairies tried to back my daughter away from their mistress. Rosella was crushed with sorrow; Genesta was losing her hold on life and asleep---perhaps in a trance---was unable to offer any aid or advice. All Rosella could do was return to the mainland and survive by her wits. Slowly, she left Genesta's chamber, never expecting to see the good fairy alive again. Her steps took her to the beach where she had arrived, and she started swimming back. Fatigue from the first swim had now caught up to my daughter. Following that came another whale. This time Rosella was too tired to elude it, and blackness swallowed her.

In truth it was the whale that gulped her down, but distinction meant nothing to Rosella at the time. All she knew was that she was alive, in the belly of a whale, breathing noxious, deadly fumes, and swimming in digestive juices. Some ghostly red light, its source unknown, gave meager illumination. Rosella knew she had to get out soon, before the leviathan digested her. Ugh! The whale's flesh was slimy and slippery, the only place Rosella was able to climb out of the stomach was on the far side to her left. From there she could see up the beast's gullet. This became her goal: somehow she would get out of the whale's mouth, but first she had to climb up there.

Of course, it wasn't easy especially in a wet dress that insisted on tangling her knees and tying her ankles. Up and over, up and over, a slip would skid her into forever. So very slowly she crept on that slick flesh, every inch momentous victory. UP and over, up and over, and then success; she could stand!

Looking up, Rosella saw part of the whale's gullet dangling above her---a tonsil, or something like that---it didn't matter. Whatever it was, she was determined to tickle the whale with the peacock feather she was carrying, hoping to make the giant beast gag and vomit her up. She was wrong. the leviathan didn't gag, it sneezed.

The less aid the better. Moments later Rosella was back out in the open air, swimming in a sea of whale snot. But she was alive and could see an island nearby. She swam there as fast as she could.

Having cleaned herself as best she could and drying in the hot sun, Rosella took quick stock of her situation. She was neither in the dark belly of the beast, breathing poisonous fumes, nor up to her chin in stomach acid. That was good. On the other hand, the island was small, deserted, and without water. Numerous hulls of wrecked ships, mostly submerged, were decaying on the reefs that ringed it. On top of all that, she still had a dead fish in her pocket. My daughter did not cry, would not cry. She did not shout her frustration to the heavens, she did not curse her turn of fortune. Instead, she took the previously forgotten fish from her pocket and threw it away from her in the direction of the only other living thing there, a raucous pelican that seemed to be mocking her. Squawk! Greedily, noisily, the bird snatched the fat fish from out of the air, and as it did so, something fell from its beak onto the sand. It sparkled as it lay there, shiny and metallic. As the bird flew away, Rosella went to see what had fallen. She took it. It was a whistle made of silver, although how the bird had come by it will always be a mystery.

Her curiosity getting the better of her, my daughter searched the rest of the island. Looking on the ground inside the remains of a wrecked rowboat, she saw something else glisten. Picking it up, she marveled at her discovery of a golden bridle and again wondered how such a splendid thing came to be in that desert place. Perhaps one of the wrecks had once been a great treasure ship, dead now, the victim of a forgotten storm.

As Rosella was growing up, climbing trees and playing in the nearby woods, Graham and I had always told her that if she were ever in trouble or needed help, just whistle and we'd come to her aid. The silver whistle reminded her of those happy times of childhood. She walked to the edge of the island and blew on it.

We didn't come, of course, but a dolphin did. Perhaps the whistle brought it; perhaps it was loyal to Genesta and knew Rosella to be her friend and in trouble. It matters not why it came, only that it did. Many times have I read tales of these gentle, friendly creatures helping human folk in distress. I thought the tales to be fables. I have since changed my mind. Flipping and dancing in the shallow water near shore, it seemed to be gesturing for Rosella to ride it to safety. My daughter grabbed hold of the dolphin, and it bore her back over the waves to Tamir. Safely on shore, Rosella looked back to see the Dolphin leaping into the air and flipping its shiny tail to the sky. Then it dived, disappearing under the waves. Rosella waved good-bye.

Chapter XVIIEdit

Where was she? That's what Rosella needed to know. Looking south, she could see the fisherman's shack, so she must be a little north of the fishing pier. With that settled, she began walking east looking for the unicorn. She could see stone pillars in that direction, so she decided to look for the unicorn there. If she could get near enough, she would use the bridle to capture it.

Her eastward trek brought rosella to an artificial pool made of marble. Carved columns, also marble, flanked it on two sides. They looked to be waiting to hold up a roof; perhaps they were just keeping the sky from falling. On another occasion , Rosella might have swum in the pool's inviting waters, but not this time. Too many lives rested in her hands.

As she stood there thinking, a small figure fluttered down on stubby wings and started its own leisurely dip in the pool. At first Rosella thought it might be one of Lolotte's flying monkeys coming to look for her. That impression passed quickly; this being was smaller, chubbier, had no fur, and was completely naked. Her learning served her well; Rosella was sure that was looking at Cupid, the God of love.

Here, she was sure, was help for her. Rosella rushed from the shadows that had concealed her and swiftly walked to where Cupid was bathing. The god looked up at Rosella, surprise on his baby face. Quick as a hummingbird, his wings blurred and he flew away from the pool, leaving Rosella with a face full of spray and nobody to talk to.

"Drat! It's so hard to talk to people around here.

Cupid fled so quickly that he abandoned his tiny bow on the side of the pool. Next to it was a quiver with two arrows---love darts, as Rosella well knew. This discovery wiped all disappointment from her mind; with one of cupid's arrows she could enchant the unicorn, and with the golden bridle, she could take the proud beast to Lolotte. Once there, she would have another chance to get Genesta's Talisman.

With new confidence, Rosella decided to go where she had seen the unicorn before. She ran swiftly south until she reached the river, and followed this west until she came to the meadow. No unicorn. Perhaps it sensed she was there. Quietly she left, waited a few minutes and then returned, slowly and silently. This time the horned horse was there, moving through the meadow, its majestic head held high in the air.

The bow was strung, the arrow ready. Rosella moved as close as she dared and then shot the unicorn a true hit upon its flank. Instantly the magic creature stopped, shook itself, and then turned to face its attacker. Much sadness dwelled in its eyes as it looked to Rosella, but it did not bolt away. Instead, it stood waiting, nickering softly and pawing the ground. Slowly my distraught daughter walked up to it, patting its nose gently and putting the[2] bit in its mouth. Rosella mounted the unicorn and pointed it towards the Impossible Mountains. All is for the best, she told herself, all is for the best. This time she did cry.

Chapter XIIIEdit

Three of the witch's goons set upon them as Rosella and the unicorn started up the path to Lolotte's Again Rosella was grabbed and flown into the sky, at the mercy of flying monkeys, straight to the throne of the wicked witch. Edgar stood beside his foul mother, his puppy eyes slightly moist as if with tears of relief at Rosella's return.

"I'm still not convinced you are telling me the truth, my ugly little peasant girl!" the witch snorted. At this Edgar flinched and glared at Lolotte. "Bring me the hen that lays the golden eggs, and then I will give you freedom and the promised reward. Fail and you shall die the death of a spy. The hen is kept by an ogre and his wife in the great forest. Go there now and bring it to me. Away with you!"

Rosella was roughly snatched by the flying monkeys and dropped again at the foot of the mountains. Again she felt anger and frustration at herself, having been so close to the witch twice but unable to figure a way to steal the Talisman from her. She hadn't even seen it!

Rosella's fury passed quickly. When her temper flashes it sears with intensity, and then focuses into determination. "All I have to do is teal a precious, golden-egg-laying chicken away from a family of ogres, and probably right out from under their noses. But if I do that. I'll have another chance to get the Talisman from her. Okay, girl; stop talking about it and do it!" At least she had an idea where the ogre's house was.

While she had been looking at tombstones in the graveyard, earlier that day, Rosella had seen the silhouette of a large hut in the distance north of the cemetery. The forest seemed to get more dense in that direction also, so my daughter deduced there was a good chance that that might be the ogre's home. if she were wrong, she was at least in the forest, and Lolotte had said the house was in there somewhere.

Rosella found the hut she was looking for rather easily. "Hut" is the wrong word for it, however; two stories tall, built solidly of large stones with a great thatched roof, it was a large and substantial house. From the look of the oversized doorway and the enormous flagstones leading to it, she felt confident that an ogre could live there. She'd find out soon enough if it did.

My daughter could see nothing by peering through the house's windows. They were set so high off the ground that she could not see into them at all. She decided to walk boldly up to the massive door and simply knock. If she heard anyone inside, she would bolt for the trees; if there was no noise or answer, she'd steal inside and look around.

There was no answer, but there was a very large, very unfriendly watchdog inside. Leaning against the heavy door with all her weight and strength, Rosella had been able to open it. As she pushed, she heard the dog's growl and, peeking around the door's edge, was able to see it before it saw her. Reaching into the peasant dress, Rosella took out the bone she had been carrying with her for protection---Oh, what good that did!---and threw it inside to the dog. The growls turned to woofs as the grateful watchdog snatched the old bone, and then took it his spot in the corner of the room, gnawing and licking contentedly. The beast stopped paying any attention at all to the girl.

Some tables and chairs were all that furnished the room she had entered, and the only decoration was a stuffed dog's head set high on one wall. A doorway opened on the far side of the room, and form within Rosella thought she could hear humming and someone moving around. Stairs went up; so did Rosella, on tip-toes. At the top was one room, a filthy bedroom containing a huge bed. Tattered curtains hung on the windows, and a gaping hole yawned unrepaired on the floor. There was a closet in the room, but it was locked and Rosella could find no key. A sharp ax learned against the right wall. She thankfully took it, thinking it might come in handy if the dog got tired of the bone.

Back downstairs, Rosella saw another closet just by the open doorway. She crept past the dog and discovered the closet was unlocked. The sounds coming from the other room were now loud, and disgusting smells drifted out. Evidently someone was cooking food there, but judging from the odor, she didn't want to know what was planned for the next meal.

Rosella quietly opened the door of the closet and slipped in, closing the door behind her. A quick search uncovered nothing, especially no golden-egg-laying hen. That's when she heard the second ogre come home, moving around the house, humming as it went. She was trapped!

Willing her thumping heart to be still, Rosella peered out of the closet through the door's keyhole. The ogre was huge, at least twice her own size., tall and broad with a huge black beard, huge black teeth, and huge muscles. With no idea of what to do next, Rosella decided to wait there until they left the room, perhaps to go to bed. She prayed that they had no need of her hidey-hole. She watched them eat, and at one point the man started sniffing the air, telling the woman he smelled something. She assured him it was only the decaying deer she was preparing, and this seemed to satisfy him.

When the meal had ended, the bushy ogre roared to his wife, "Bring me my hen!" Through the tiny hole, Rosella could see a small white hen placed on the table in front of the ogre.

"Lay, I tell you! Lay!"

Soon, an egg began to appear from beneath the poor chicken. It was indeed golden and metallic in color. The ogre weighed the egg in his hand a few times, and then put it in a pocket. Moments later he laid his head next to the bird and fell into a contented sleep. His snores rattled the windows.

Rosella knew this might be her only chance to escape with the hen. As soon as she was sure the ogre's wife had returned to the kitchen, she opened the closet door knowing the snores would cover any sounds she made. Quickly she picked up the hen from the high table, only inches beyond the greedy grasp of the sleeping giant, and rushed to the front door. Just as she got there, the hen began to squawk. The noise woke the ogre and brought him roaring after her. Without hesitating, Rosella flung the door open and raced outside, the irate ogre screaming after her.

Speeding out the door, feeling the ogre's hot breath on her legs, Rosella turned left---east---and fled deeper into the forest attempting to elude the enraged creature. Finally, despite the hen's constant squawking, she did escape the ogre and ran right into the arms of more danger.

I do not know how my daughter endured all she did that day. I am sure I would have gone mad, leaping from danger to danger to near death to sure death to even more danger, one shock following the other so close that it should plunge even the stoutest of heart into gibbering insanity. The young are strong and resilient; they don't think but know they are invulnerable and immortal. Perhaps that is what kept her going on. Whatever it was, I will always be grateful!

Rosella found herself in a thick grove of the oddest trees she had ever seen. All around her their branches drooped like zombie fingers eager to snare anyone that came near. Dim, strange lights seemed to glow dully from within them, vampire eyes by firelight. She stopped short; the ogre had ceased giving chase the moment she entered the strange trees. Hefting her newly acquired ax in one hand, she wondered why. In the corner of her eye, she thought she saw a branch move and begin reaching for her. Startled, she swung the ax at the trees, yelling at the top of her lungs as if trying to frighten them. A stillness descended over the odd grove, and the sense of evil she had been feeling lifted. No branch stirred there. All was still and calm again. Rosella wondered if it had been just her overwrought nerves playing tricks. "Probably," she told herself, but not believing. "That must have been it."

Whatever the truth, she met no menace in the wood and kept her feet rushing further east towards the Impossible Mountains. There she discovered the skull cave.

At least, that's what it looked like to Rosella, a huge human skull built into the rock of the mountain. The rocks overhanging the entrance huge like teeth, giving the impression that to enter was to enter the maw of death. Smoke twisted up out of the cave through a small chimney, so somebody must be home, she thought. Wrong. Nobody was there, but a black cauldron bubbled over a fire in the middle of the cave. A quick search revealed nothing to Rosella. It was a relief.

Leaving the cave, my Daughter speed swiftly south along the edge of the mountains. The afternoon shadows had become very long; night would come soon and she wanted to be through the graveyard before that happened. She was, and Lolotte's monkeys were waiting for her in the usual place.

Chapter XIXEdit

That Lolotte was evil made flesh is beyond question. If Rosella had any doubts about this truth at the time, they were cleared up as soon as she was dragged into the wicked witch's presence. The hen had been taken from her by the guards, as had the unicorn.

"Poor peasant girl, if that is what you really are, I still don't belief you!" As Lolotte taunted her, the guard held Rosella tighter lest she try to attack their mistress.

"I demand of you a final task. Complete it and all I have promised is yours. Bring me Pandora's Box; it contains the purist evil in the universe, and with it I could---dare I say it? Yes, I dare!---rule the world! Find it and bring it to me. Take her away.

Poor wretched Rosella! To find the box for Lolotte might doom the world to enslavement by the witch. To not find it would surely doom her father, Genesta, and herself, and still give no certainty that Lolotte would be vanquished. The choice was between sure death or barest hope. Rosella chose hope, however slim, resolving to get Pandora's Box and try to overcome Lolotte. She hoped she wasn't making a mistake.

Rosella decided to start her search for Panodra's Box bac at the skull cave. There she had seen a number of containers there containing the raw materials of spell casting: weirdly twisted rots, rare herbs, unnaturally colored fluids, and assorted preserved body parts. Chances were it was the workshop of a wizard or perhaps a witch. If she had no success there, she would revisit the old manor house, and if that proved fruitless---well, she hadn't thought the problem through past that point.

My daughter was incorrect in her assumption that a witch might reside in the cave. Not one, but three dwelt within, and by the way they eyed Rosella, she wasn't too sure entering the skull cave was a good idea. First of all, they were witches of the dark variety, followers of the lefthand path who used their magical art for evil. Then there was their welcome, cold and cackling, like a spider asking the fly to come into its web.

"Hello, little girl. Would you like to join us for dinner?" One look at their boiling cauldron was enough to tell Rosella just what they intended by that invitation.

Lastly, there was the matter of the eye. The three crones were blind except for one glass eye which they were able to pass back and forth between them, cupping it like the rarest of jewels in the palms of their hands. The eye was fixed directly upon Rosella, held by one of the weird sisters furthest away from their cave's entry. The woman began giving direction to the witch closest to Rosella, and that one started after my daughter, arms outstretched, fingers writhing, trying to grab her.

Rosella knew at once that if she could take the eye from the dark sisters, she would have no troubles from them. With their sight as hostage, she might find out the location of Pandora's Box. All she had to do was avoid the one who was clutching at her.

Because of her youth, Rosella was sure she was quicker than the blind witch. She took a position near the left wall of the cave, slowly moving back and forth a few steps in each direction, enticing the hag to rush her, back and forth, back and forth, keeping a wide safe distance between them. Rosella's movements were mirrored by the two witches in the rear; back and forth, back and forth they passed the eye, always directing the third. Finally, the witch near Rosella made her move, rushing past the cauldron straight for the girl.

Rosella darted as quickly as she could away from the hag across the cave, past the cauldron and then straight back, almost hitting the great pot, so close did she pass it. Her rush took her to a spot directly between the two hags passing the glass eye. Rosella reached out as quickly as she had run and rook the eye from them, closing her hand tightly around it.

The three witches screeched, blind and lost; the pursuing one stopped and stumbled, unable to see her prey.

"Give us back our eye!" they demanded, falling on their knees.

"Give me Pandora's Box!" was my daughter's reply.

"We do not have it! Give us back our eye!"

Rosella searched the cave for the second time that afternoon, but did not find the treasure. They hags had been telling the truth. She kept the eye clutched tight so they couldn't follow, and she left the cave. Outside, her heart softened; she couldn't leave the witches in blindness forever. With that thought, she went a little ways back inside.

The intensity of their pleas increased as the three weird sisters heard her return. One of them threw something in Rosella's direction; it rolled to a stop at her feet.

"Take this, it will protect you from the undead!" one cried. "Look for the box among the undead. Give us our eye!"

Rosella looked to the ground and picked up a scarab---an obsidian charm carved in the form of a scarab beetle. She admired its workmanship and then placed the cool stone against her cheek. She could feel it warm to her touch.

"Thank you for the loan of your eye," she told the witches, her business in the cave done. Rosella walked to the edge, then threw the eye to the cave's floor, away from the three crones. She was out of there before the glass hit the ground, sure they would have revenge if they could get close to her again.

Chapter XXEdit

In that part of Tamir the dead walk the night--the restless dead, the uneasy souls, the tormented ones. Zombies that tear the flesh and then devour it prowl among the tombstones. Ghosts, the ephemeral ones, haunt the world seeking peace. Night gaunts, dholes, and ghouls lurk in the darkest places. They wait. They hunt. They feed.

Darkness was beginning to take its daily dominion of the world. Rosella moved swiftly south to the graveyard. She was not particularly looking forward to the prospect; the night chill was about her, and the sounds of the world scratched claws up her back. The scarab, now in one of her pockets, began to vibrate softly.

Zombies smell of damp earth and decaying things that are best left nameless. That's how my daughter remembers them, although she shivers some when she does. They exploded out of the ground, grabbing at her ankles, holding her legs as they pulled themselves from their graves. Rosella screamed, and the undead backed away in fright. At first my daughter thought it was her scream that did it, but when she took the scarab charm from her pocked she could see it glowed with a strong, healthy light. The stone's vibration produced a low hum that had been muffled by her skirt. Rosella thanked the witches under her breath and was glad she had returned them their eye.

Other than the zombies groping hungrily among the tombstones and the locked crypt built into the mountainside, Rosella found nothing in either part of the graveyard. There were not signs anywhere of Pandora's Box. She moved on then to the spooky manor and found that this too had become haunted after dark.

A baby's cry startled her as she stepped inside the front door. It was coming from upstairs. Rosella rushed up the steps, wondering how an infant could have come to the deserted house. The smaller bedroom was as she had left it, as was the master chamber. There, however the cries came much stronger; that their source seemed to be the nursery attached to that room. She quickly entered it. The nursery was still empty, but the old cradle was gently rocking back and forth. It was empty, but the cries were definitely coming from it. Rosella was sure she could feel a ghostly presence, that of a dead baby seeking comfort. Perhaps the ghost wailing in the cradle was that of the baby whose tombstone she had read before.

Rosella had come across the graves of two children, one in each part of the graveyard; the infant had been laid to rest on the western section. Evidently, it wasn't resting very well. Why the child's spirit had returned to the nursery, Rosella didn't know. Perhaps it was looking for something, or someone. The sound of its crying was heartbreaking.

Rosella walked downstairs to the parlor. The secret door in the wall was open, just as she had left it, and inside that door the shovel still learned against the stone wall. Rosella took the shovel and left the house. The hags said she might find Pandora's Box amongst the undead, so she intended to open the infant's grave and see if were there. It would be grim work in the darkness.

The child's tombstone lay in the northwest corner of the western graveyard, partially obscured by the low branches of an overhanging tree. The stone said the child's name was Hiram, and he had died at the age of six months. Rosella read the tombstone and then began to dig. After digging for a few moments, her shove turned up a small silver rattle mixed with the dirt from the grave; it must have belonged to the unfortunate child. Rosella took it, thinking she would place it in the empty cradle. Perhaps it would quiet the crying ghost. She returned to her digging, and reached the tiny, pine box holding the baby's remains. She forced herself to open it. It contained the sad remains of the child's burial clothes and his bones, which had been undisturbed until now. That was all she found; she closed the coffin and left. She would refill the hole later.

Rosella returned to the house with the silver rattle, dodging zombies all the way. With the scarab protecting her, they were more nuisance than real danger, but their touch was cold, unwholesome, and thoroughly disgusting. Like too many cats in a house, they were always underfoot.

The cradle continued its ghostly rocking, side to side. The crying still filled the air. Rosella polished the tarnished toy as well as she could with a corner of her skirt, and carefully put it into the cradle. In an instant, both the rocking and the crying ceased completely. Peace returned to the deserted room. It was replaced by terrible noises form downstairs.

Thus began a series of nocturnal huntings and diggings as Rosella sought to quiet the ghosts of the haunted house, all the time searching for the box she must return to Lolotte.

From the landing at the top of the stairs, my daughter spied a second ghost---a stooped old man who trudged from room to room, walking through the walls. He moaned loudly, wailing loss and despair. It sounded as it he were howling the word "gold" over and over and over. Rosella thought the wails would drive her insane if she stayed there much longer. She went grave-hunting in self-defense.

After a search of both parts of the cemetery, she dug up the resting place of one "Newberry Will." She chose his grave because his tombstone branded him a miser---one who valued gold and treasure above all else, doomed to spend the after-life shackled with the chains of greed. The grave was on the southern edge of the western graveyard, and after she had dug there a bit, she discovered a bag of gold coins---nothing else. When she offered it to the ghost, he snatched it from her and drooled. Then the ghost disappeared, taking with him his wails and moans. They were replaced by the weeping of yet another of the undead.

The third ghost had once been a beautiful young woman, tall and slender with hair the color of midnight. She didn't appear to be much older than Rosella. She was sitting, rocking, in the small bedroom, her face buried in her hands. The ghost wore a large wedding band, now wet from her crying. Only once did she lift her face to reveal a large pair of gray eyes, flush with tears. Those eyes looked as if they had stared into infinity and had found it wanting. Then the woman's head sank again into her hands and the ghostly weeping continued.

Rosella found her grave in the eastern burial ground. She knew it was the correct one the moment she saw it. A nineteen year old girl by the name of Betty had died of a broken heart after her lover had perished at sea. Rosella dug and found a little locket attached to a think gold chain. Engraved on it was the image of a black-bearded sea captain---her husband. Again she had not discovered Pandora's Box; again she took a small treasure to the restless dead.

I never knew a ghost could smile, but my daughter says this one did. The young woman's weeping ceased the moment Rosella offered her the locket. She took it, held it up, looked at the picture, smiled, and vanished---rocking chair and all. Rosella felt sorry for the girl and her lost love. Of course, that's when she heard new cries of anguish from downstairs.

Ghost number four looked much like the man etched in the locket; older though, and a soldier from the look of his uniform. He paced despondently in the parlor, peering into corners, under furniture, and behind the few remaining books. Searching, pacing, wailing, the ghost made his futile rounds. One of the ghost's legs had been lost, perhaps in battle, and had been replaced by a wooden one. The sound of his walking was uneven and wrong. Rosella went to the cemetery to find whatever he was looking for.

It turned out to be a medal in the form of a golden cross. Engraved on it were the words "For Valor and Bravery." It had been buried along with Lord Coningsby in the western graveyard where he lay next to his wife. Their graves were closet to the house they had once lived in. Rosella took the medal of honor back inside and presented it to the apparition. He took it from her reverently and slowly faded from sight.

The last ghost made all of Rosella's frustration about not finding the object of her own quest---Pandora's Box---dissolve just like the phantoms she had been encountering. It started differently than her other unearthly encounters, no moans, no wails, now weeps, just a little boy ghost appearing, teasing Rosella, and trying to get her to chase him. With that, he disappeared into the small bedroom, the one where she had encountered the young widow.

When she had first explored the manor those many hours before, my daughter had noted a trapdoor in that room's ceiling, but no way was visible to reach it. When she followed the boy inside, she found that the situation had changed. The trapdoor was now open and a ladder led up into it. Rosella climbed up into the gloom.

The room must have once been the house's attic; it was cluttered with all sorts of boxes and chests---the trash and treasures of a family home. The boy ghost sat there upon a large and interesting-looking chest. Could this, she thought, be Pandora's Box? There seemed no way to find out, however. The young ghost wouldn't move from the top of the lid. Ghosts may be almost transparent, gauzy and ephemeral, but they can be just as heavy and immobile as they wish. Rosella could not budge it. The boy just sat there smiling and giggling, looking at Rosella as if expecting a treat. She walked to the spot where she had crawled onto the attic floor after climbing the ladder, and she climbed the ladder back down.

Rosella had no choice but to return to the graveyard; what grave was the boy's? Finally she located it on the eastern side, a largish stone in the northwest corner. It was the same inscription that has overcome her earlier. It marked the grave of a boy named Willy; who had been buried with a toy horse on wheels---without doubt the child's favorite toy. The shovel broke as Rosella finished digging. She hoped it was not a bad omen.

The boy was still sitting on the chest when Rosella returned to the attic, still smiling, still giggling naughtily. She gave the toy to the boy and hoped he would disappear like the others so that she could see what inside of the chest. This ghost took his time; he looked and grinned merrily at the wooden horse, and finally disappeared with a loud POP! Rosella opened the lid carefully and then peered inside. Pandora's Box? No! All there was inside was some sheet music---old, yellow, and near crumbling to dust. That was all.

As Rosella carefully made her way back down the ladder and headed toward the secret staircase past the parlor, she couldn't help grinning at a riddle I had asked her once when she was much younger: What is a ghost's favorite kind of music? All the way up that narrow, treacherous stone stair she kept chuckling and repeating aloud, "Sheet music. Sheet music. Ghosts like sheet music!" The old joke helped release much of her tension and anxiety.

Chapter XXIEdit

Two flaming torches illuminated the tower room containing the organ, although how they had been lighted is a mystery. Rosella moved directly to the instrument and played the sheet music on the organ. The melody was deep and somber, the tempo a slow march. As Rosella played, a small, secret drawer opened out of the organ's front; in it was a key. "After what I've been through, I'll bet it's a skeleton key," Rosella murmured to herself cynically. She finished playing the music and took the key; she had decided it must be the key to the crypt. After all, she reasoned, it was the only thing in our near the house that was locked.

She survived her final trip down the tower stairs and again thought bad thoughts about the person who invented the long skirt. In the front hall she paused but a moment to see the time. It was almost midnight, time was running out for her father and Genesta. Then she aped out of the house and straight to the crypt in the mountain.


...That's when the ancient coffin opened and a figure lurched out at Rosella (3rd Edition).

The key fit. Rosella unlocked the door, slowly opened it, and stepped inside to the most elaborate burial chamber she had ever imagined. She found herself on a platform above the tomb's floor; hieroglyphics were scribbled over all the walls, and a massive coffin stood in one corner. So colorful and exotic was the place Rosella imagined that it had been dug into the mountain in the days of ancient Aegypt. On the opposite side of the crypt, resting by itself, alone, on the floor was a small box. Pandora's?

A rope ladder lay piled on the floor at Rosella's feet, left there for people to climb up and down between the door and the floor. She took the rope and dropped it down, climbing quickly after it. That's when the ancient coffin opened and a figure lurched out at Rosella. The mummy walked heavily for several steps, arms reaching for my daughter; then it stopped short. Rosella felt the obsidian scarab vibrate more rapidly in her pocket. The undead one returned to its resting place. My daughter sighed with relief; if the scarab had not worked, she would have had no place to flee.

The box was not particularly large; it could be easily carried in one hand. It was made of some unfamiliar, heavy, black metal and decorated with blasphemous shapes. It both looked and felt evil; it was indeed Pandora's Box, hidden away and guarded by the mummy for eons. Rosella took the box and climbed out of the crypt. She turned her back on both the graveyard and the haunted house and walked south knowing Lolotte's flying monkeys would find her as she started up the mountain path. She almost welcomed their rough embrace.

Chapter XXIIEdit


...That's when she discovered the little key that had been concealed in the rose's leaves (1st Edition).

Lolotte was in a frighteningly light mood when my daughter was brought before her for the last time. The evil one asked Rosella her name and then announced that she was about to get her reward, and it would not be her freedom---oh no! Instead, Lolotte had decided my daughter would marry her deformed son Edgar in the morning. Until that time she was to spend the night in Edgar's room, alone. Then she ordered her goons to strip my girl of her possessions, leaving but the clothes on her back. Rosella gasped. She faced a fate, she thought, much worse than death!

The black-garbed guards escorted my princess to a room at the top of one of the castle's high towers. They slammed the door shut and stomped down the stairs. Before they left, she heard the click of the door being locked, and no matter how hard she shoved and pushed, she couldn't budge it open. Despondently, Rosella looked around the tower room that she soon would be forced to share with the witch's son.

My daughter had just about given up all hope when she heard a small sound at her door, not at all like the tramping of the guards. Moving over to the door, she saw something that had not been there before---a red rose, still fresh on its long stem. "Who could have placed it there? she thought. Bending over, she picked it up and brought it to her nose, her eye catching a golden glint. That's when she discovered the little key that had been concealed in the rose's leaves. She took it. Trying it in the chamber door, Rosella heard, and felt, the blessed click of the lock. She turned the knob and the door quietly opened. Rosella was free! Now she had to find Lolotte and somehow get the Talisman from her.

The stairs were so dimly lit that she could barely see where to put her feet. Slowly and quietly, as silent as a zombie, Rosella made her escape down the cold steps, each one taking her further from her prison. As she rounded the last curve, she spotted one of the monkeys standing guard at the bottom. It looked as if it were sleeping on duty.

Rosella hugged the wall as tightly as she could, trying to blend with the shadows, thinking quiet zombie thoughts. The guard still did not move. She crept along, keeping as far away from it as possible. Inch by inch, she came closer to the open archway at the bottom of the tower, and then she was through.

She found herself in the castle's cheerless dining room where a large table and benches covered most of the floor. Rosella imagined this was to be the site of her wedding breakfast; it was a meal that she planned never to taste. Another guard was posted here, near two new doorways. It too was nodding in light sleep; the lateness of the hour seemed to be favoring her escape.

Rosella continued hugging walls and their shadows as she passed in front of the guard across the room. The first of the doorways she came to led into Lolotte's throne room, but she continued onto the second, within short reach of the flying monkey. Rosella could hear its soft snorting as she went by, holding her breath and making herself as skinny as she could. This door led to the kitchen which was deserted, cold, and with no other exit. Rosella made a silent search of the place, and in one of the two large cabinets, she discovered her stolen possessions; she took them all. She was overjoyed and spent an extra moment caressing Cupid's bow and its lone arrow. Putting her fingers to her lips, Rosella lightly breathed, "Lolotte! This one's got your name on it!" She touched her kissed fingers to the arrow's tip and crept out of the kitchen the way she had entered. The guard still snored.

Two final money guardians had to be passed. The first stood by Lolotte's throne, and she just ran past it, sprinting silently by the bottom of the throne's stair. The last guard was beyond the door on the other side of the throne room, at the base of the second tower's stairs---the same tower where she had been taken when she was imprisoned in the torture chamber. Both of the guards slept; in fact, all she had encountered had been dozing. Could it be that they cared for their mistress so little that they thought nothing of sleeping on duty? She knew not. --- Rosella had to keep moving if she were to find Lolotte and recover Genesta's Talisman. Dawn would come shortly, and the fairy queen would die soon after if Rosella were not successful. Up she climbed, terrified of any misstep. Up she climbed, each step, she dreamed, taking her closer to the witch. Halfway up, she saw light from the hallway that led to the torture cell. She saw guards moving about there, definitely not asleep. That meant up again, to the top of the tower.

My daughter suspected that Lolotte kept her private chambers at the top of the stairs, much as Edgar's were at the pinnacle of the other tower. She double-checked the bow and arrow; they were ready for their intended target. Up and up she climbed and arrived at an ornate door, identical with the one in Edgar's room.

Shooting someone, however evil they be, however necessary the act may be, is not a task for the faint or indecisive. Neither, is it an act to be performed lightly. Rosella knew that the fate of those she loved---and of our entire world!---was attached to the single arrow she carried, just as firmly as the feathers of the arrow's fletching were glued to its shaft. She readied herself in body and mind, breathing deep to slow her heart and steady her eye and hand. She put all thoughts out of her mind save that of the deed she had to do. she felt neither joy nor fear, just focus and action.

The little gold key fit in the lock, just as she had suspected it would. Softly she opened the door, trying not to waken the evil witch. Rosella found her deep asleep in her huge bed---easily large enough to hold an ogre and his wife comfortably. My brave child wasted no time in idle observation. She drew the bow's string to her hear, aimed at Lolotte's sleeping heart, and shot her. The golden arrow of love flew true to its target!

Lolotte sat straight up from her next to final sleep., Cupid's arrow buried deep in her chest. Agony and pain distorted her face. "Aaah," she screamed. "The pain! The pain! I cannot stop the pain!" In her last instant, Lolotte saw Rosella standing there, the bow still held straight in front of her. The evil witch made a last effort to rise, to get to my daughter, but she crumbled over.

"I'll get you, peasant girl. I'll get you!" With that, she fell finally silent. her body stilled, empty of life.

Edgar entered his mother's chamber with the dawn. He looked at her body silently for a moment and then offered Rosella her freedom and the freedom of the castle. He still wore his puppy eyes and looked at my daughter with longing. Then he left Rosella alone. he never looked back at his mother.

Rosella found the Talisman hanging from a chain around the dead witch's neck. It could only be that because goodness radiated from it, not evil. She took it and walked out of Lolotte's chamber. She had not intended to kill her, merely control her as she had the unicorn, transforming the evil witch with the power of love. Killing the evil one had left Rosella feeling empty and shattered, but it did not totally cover her sense of triumph.

The guards bowed to Rosella as she entered the hall halfway down the stairs. They told her that they had never loved the witch; she had cast a spell over them and forced them to do her bidding. Rosella acknowledged their apologies with a smile and short nod of her head. The moment was shattered then by the raucous squawking of a hen from behind the door by which she was standing. she opened it. There was the hen that laid the golden egg. In the far corner rested Pandora's Box. Rosella took them both.

It was time to return the Talisman to Genesta, and to hide to box again in its crypt to prevent someone else form trying to use its evil. Rosella slowly walked back down the stairs and though the witch's throne room, vowing never to return. She turned her back on Lolotte's throne and walked outside to freedom.

Chapter XXIIIEdit

Near the front gate of the castle stood a small stable, and Rosella found the unicorn imprisoned inside of it. She opened the gate that confined the great magic beast, and it bolted to its own freedom, kicking and waving its forelegs and neighing in joy. As the unicorn disappeared down the mountain, Rosella wished she were riding it; she didn't relish her own long walk to the sea.

Rosella was weary. The strains of the past two days had left her mind and body on the verge of exhaustion. She had rested little and eaten nothing since being taken to be sacrificed to the dragon---Oh, how that seemed so far past at the moment!---but she pushed on down, taking extra care not to lose her footing on the dirt path. Once down, it was but a short way to the ornate crypt where she returned Pandora's Box to the exact spot from which she had taken it. Then she closed the crypt door and locked it behind her. Rosella kicked the key back under the door so no one would ever possess the evil of Pandora's Box again. Then she walked the last distance to the sea. --- The swim to Genesta's island seemed never to end, but my daughter got there before her strength gave out. The fairy queen was still in her bed, barely conscious. Praying that she was in time, Rosella gave the Talisman to Genesta. She watched Genesta's eyes open wide as the healing powers brought life back to the fairy's face.

"You have saved my life, Rosella! Tamir and I owe you a great debt!"

Rosella and Genesta stood on the beach, looking at the hen that lays golden eggs. In her fatigue my daughter had carried the remarkable hen all the way over the sea from Lolotte's. It had squawked and screamed the entire time.

Genesta was startled to see the hen; it had once been hers, but had been stolen and never recovered until now. The fairy queen could not believe her double good fortune.

The rest goes quickly. Before returning my daughter home to Daventry, Genesta told her that there was another one who had performed a brave deed and was deserving of reward. With a wave of her magic wand, poor, twisted Edgar was on the beach beside them, blinking madly from his unexpected transport and the bright sun.

"Edgar was the one who brought you the key that let you escape. He has a beautiful soul trapped in a horrid body, and I shall make that injustice right."

Another wand wave and Edgar was transformed completely. In place of his deformed body, he now stood straight and tall and handsome.

Edgar loved my daughter---he may still love her---and asked Rosella to marry him as soon as he saw that she was there on the beach with him. Rosella looked at him for a few moments and smiled.

"I'm sorry, Edgar. Perhaps we will meet again." She gave him a quick kiss. He blushed.

Another wave of the wand and Rosella's filthy peasant clothes were replaced by her own relatively clean court gown. One last goodbye, one last pass of the magic wand, and Genesta sent Rosella home bearing the magic fruit that would soon heal her father---my dear husband.

My baby was home safe!

We both finally cried.


  1. KQC1E,
  2. There is an typo here in the first and second editions in which "the the" is printed on the page.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.