There once was a kingdom ruled by a just and brave king. He had brought peace and wealth to his kingdom and had turned it into a magnificent place, where wonders never ceased and all the good people lived happy lives.
On the outskirts of his mighty kingdom, there was an enchanted forest. No one came near it, for when they tried to enter the forest, they heard terrible screams and cries and they feared for their lives. Many warriors were sent to kill the monster that supposedly lived deep in the forest, but they all returned empty-handed. Some had managed to penetrate the forest until they could no longer see the people waiting for them outside the forest, but most only made it a few feet into the wood, before they emerged weeping like little children.
The people feared what might be in the forest, so they asked their brave king for help. The king sent out many good witches and magic-doers to fight the evil that lay over the enchanted forest, for he knew that only a powerful magician could make all his mighty warriors weep.
The magic folk set out to follow the king´s orders. Amongst them was a beautiful young witch, whose was known throughout the kingdom for her adamant goodness. She knew that it was in her powers to remove the evil that the mighty magician had cast on that forest. The good witch entered the forest – and was never seen again.
The people now grew terribly afraid. They were all good people and if the good witch was swallowed up by the forest and never returned, the good people feared what that forest and its evil master might do to them.
The king heard tale from the disappearance of the good witch, and he asked for his horse at once. He knew that no other but himself would be able to free the good witch. His heart set on returning home with the good witch at his side, the king entered the enchanted forest. He heard the screams and the crying and he felt as though all happiness was drained from him. It went cold and dark, but he moved on.
Soon, he reached a castle, smaller than his own, but just as magnificent. Carefully, his sword drawn, the king entered the castle through its main gate. He was lucky, because the masters of evil, three wicked witches, were fast asleep. He found them in their chairs in front of the fire, slumbering like little children. But the king felt the evilness radiating from their bodies and he left the room in order to find the good witch.
The good witch heard the king move around in the castle. She whispered carefully chosen words and her spell drew the king closer and closer to her prison. The king found her uninjured, but terribly afraid of the evil witches. Now in a hurry to get away, he used his sword to cut the chains that had held her captivated and he helped her on her feet. When she looked up into his brave and just face, she instantly fell in love with him. The king returned her caring glance and for a moment there, it seemed like the time stood still to grant these two lovers a moment of quiet and peace.
Irritated by the good love that now spread through their castle, the three wicked witches woke from their slumbers and saw their prisoner escape with the king. They swore vilely and felt that the king had betrayed them. They had desired nothing more than to extinguish the goodness that rested in that good witch´s heart and to replace it with evil. The wicked witches thought it was their right to do so and now that the king had freed their prisoner, they got so mad that they hatefully jinxed the brave king and the good witch and put the most terrible curse of all on them:
“When the love grows strong
and a promise they speak,
the brave king´s heart will turn cold in his sleep.
The flames of love,
once warming his heart,
gone forevermore, and the lovers´ ways part.
While the king will forget
and go on with his life
the witch must remember how he promised to make her his wife.
`Tis a mighty curse
that cannot be broken
and evil wrecks the lovers´ promise that had been spoken.”
The king and the good witch heard the whispered words in every movement of the forest and they feared they would never be able to leave the evil place. But they found the light of love in each other´s hearts and trusted the other to find a way out of the enchanted forest and at last, at last, they heard the good people that had waited for them to return and they smiled at each other and knew they had survived.
Even before they returned to the castle, the king asked the good witch to become his wife, for he felt love rising in him, so pure and good, like he had never felt it before in all his life. The words spoken from the heart made the good witch cry. Amid tears, the good witch said she wanted nothing more than to be his wife.
The king and the good witch returned to the castle. The king announced that the wedding should be held the following day. With a shy kiss good-night, the good witch and the brave king went to sleep, both dreaming of their love and wishing for a happy life together.
But the wicked witches´ curse was powerful and it crept through the looked gates and the many doors protecting the king. It wound its way to his sleeping chamber, where it found him fast asleep, dreaming of the good witch. When its icy fingers touched the king, the curse worked its cruel magic and the king´s heart turned cold. He forget that he loved the good witch and he woke in the morning with hate for the person he had once love so much that he had decided to marry her. The hate was so strong that instead of celebrating marriage, he forced the good witch out of his castle, screaming and yelling that she had put a love spell on him and proclaiming that he had never ever loved her.
The good witch knew not what had happened, but as the magic person that she was, she knew that only a powerful curse would have made the king turn his back on her. She left the castle, heart-broken and in despair, wishing she knew a way of breaking the curse. She consulted all her magic books, asked every magical being in the kingdom, but after years of search, she found that there was no cure for a curse this powerful.
She fell quite sick and lost all interest in life. Her good magic turned dark, and one day she woke with a deep hatred in her heart. She realized she was now just as evil as the wicked witches. Only for a short moment did she wonder if it was the unrequited love that had turned her evil, but when she felt the heart-breaking pang as she thought of the king, she knew that this was something better kept locked up deep down in her soul and never to be revived again.
A few years after their parting of the ways, the king was to married a princess from another kingdom, thus ensuring peace between the two countries. As the now dark witch heard that her love was to marry another women, she felt great pain and she swore revenge.
On their wedding day, they dark witch traveled to the king´s castle, forced her way into its halls by use of dark magic and interrupted the merry festivities. The good people were celebrating jollily and the king and his queen were smiling at each other lovingly, when the dark witch appeared out of thin air. The people were petrified by her appearance and stared at her in shock.
“Well, well”, the dark witch said. “Here we are again.”
But the curse still worked its powerful magic, and the king did not recognize his former love. He only saw a dark witch.
“I am King Markus, the brave. You have no business here, witch”, he said mightily.
“You will see I do have business here.”
The king stared at her. He was not used to be answered back.
“I shall not speak of my reasons for ruining your wedding day. But believe you me – there are reasons. To mention them would cause me great pain and I will speak no word of why I will curse you. Hear now what my revenge will be for what you did to me:
The promise was given,
the words were spoken
a promise like that shall never be broken.
You may have a kingdom,
you may have a wife,
But I know there´s something you want in your life.
A prince will be born,
as perfect as can be,
and the whole kingdom will celebrate with glee.
But when he finds love
his heart will be broken
for his love will go back on the words she has spoken.
It will break his heart
It will make him want to die
and you will get what you deserve for your lie.
`Tis a mighty curse
that no spell can break
and evil will win – ´tis the promise that I make.”
The king and queen looked at each other in shock. The dark witch, her evil done, turned around, her long cape flying after her as she left the castle in a hurry. She knew that the king would try his damnest to protect his unborn child from her curse and she was sure that there was only once place in the whole kingdom where she was safe from his rage and fury. She returned to the three evil witches´ castle.
Years passed, and as the dark witch had promised, a prince was born. As he grew up, the king thought that the prince was as brave and just as his father and as loving and caring as his mother. He was as proud of his son as only a father can be proud of his child.
The prince grew older and soon asked his parents for permission to travel through the kingdom to find love. But his parents hesitated – the king and his queen remembered the curse the dark witch had put on their son. They asked the prince to wait a little longer, but it was to no avail – the prince wanted to find love, so he snuck out in the middle of the night, and when the king and queen woke in the morning they found that the prince had disappeared.
For almost a year, the prince roamed the kingdom, partaking in adventures that turned him into a man, but it was only when he found love that he truly felt like a real man. In a part of the kingdom far away from his father´s castle, he met a young woman that was so beautiful, the prince could only stare. It took him all his courage to ask her if she wanted to walk with him for a while. Shyly, she agreed. As the promenaded near the river, the bees buzzing and the birds tweeting happily, the prince knew that he had fallen in love. He asked the young girl to return home with him and to become his wife. She happily agreed for she had fallen in love with him as well.
The prince sent out word to the king and queen that he had found his love and wanted to marry her right away. As there was no word in his letter saying that he had felt the cold sting of the dark witch´s curse, the king and queen were delighted to arrange the marriage.
On their return home, the prince married the young girl. It was a very happy day. But over night, the dark witch´s curse found its way into the princess´s chamber and it touched her with its icy finger, planting the seed of indifference where there should be pure love.
As the prince woke in the morning, he found that his bride had changed completely. He did all he could to make her love him again, but he did not succeed. He asked all the physicians and magic-doers in the country to come and help him, but even the best medicine and the most powerful love-reawakening potion could not break the curse.
The king knew that the curse was responsible for the princess´s indifference. He watched as the two lovers grew further and further apart. The prince, still head over heels, did all he could to show his wife how much he loved her. Soon, he gave up trying and his soul turned dark as his heart turned cold. Rapidly, he lost all interest in life. He only sat in his chamber staring out of the window and neither seeing nor hearing anything.
Nothing worked – the queen could no longer stand the sight of her heart-broken son. One night, she died in her sleep, welcoming death as the relief from all her sorrows.
The brave king was at his wit´s end, so he sent out for a wise man to come and help him. Weeks passed without a word from the heralds he had sent out. But then they returned, bringing with them a wise man who lived up in the mountains all by himself.
The king told the wise man about the curse the dark witch had cast, but the wise man saw that there was also a curse on the king. He thought about the situation long and hard and came to the conclusion that in order to help his son the king must first lift the curse that the evil witches had put on him. The wise man told the king that he had to travel to every place he had ever been to, for one place held the key of how to help his son out of his misery.
The king set out immediately, traveling to all the places he had ever been to. After some time, he reached the enchanted forest. The good people who lived there told him that he had once set out to rescue the good witch from the three evil witches´ castle. They also told him that the good witch had returned, as dark and evil as can be, and was now living in the castle with the other witches.
The king did not wait for one moment. He told the good people to take care of his horse and entered the enchanted forest on foot. He heard the screaming and crying in every movement of the forest, in every swaying of the branches, and with every step he took that brought him closer to the castle, he felt the harsh cold tearing at him.
Suddenly, when he thought he could no longer bear the cold and the screams and the darkness, he stood in front of the witches´ castle. He knew that he had been to this place before, but he could not remember what had happened there. Carefully, his sword drawn, he entered the castle through its main gate.
In the grand hall, he saw four women sitting close to the fire. As he closed the door behind him, they turned around, clearly surprised that anyone had managed to penetrate their enchanted forest.
“Oh, look, it is the king again”, one of the evil witches groaned.
The king saw that she had grown very old. As he looked into the faces of the other witches, he saw that they were very old as well. Only the fourth witch, standing a good two feet away from the others, was young and beautiful, even though hate radiated from her.
He turned around to her and said, “Good witch, when I look at you I feel like I know you, but the story of our meeting is lost in my memory.”
The three evil witches laughed wickedly.
“`tis no avail to try and remember where you know her from”, one witch laughed.
“You will not remember her”, the other witch chimed in.
“But let us refresh your memory – and pray you die from the pain it will cause you”, said the last of the three witches nastily.
“Many, many years ago, our new sister here came to destroy us, but she could not stand against the power of three then mighty witches. We imprisoned her and wanted to destroy her goodness. You heard that she was our prisoner and you came to her rescue. We do not know how you managed to free her, but you succeeded in taking her away from here. We had planned to devour her goodness and turn her evil, and we were mad at you for ruining everything. So we put a powerful curse on you. Should you fall in love with her and promise to marry her, your heart would grew cold over night. You would forget her and would chase her away. And it all worked out! As we had planned, she returned to us, heart-broken and evil – just as evil as we are!”
They laughed, their heads thrown back, holding their bellies with both hands. They did not notice that they king had listened closely, first in the hope to find a way to cure his son, then realizing that he had to cure himself first. He looked at the dark witch who refused to meet his glance, and he knew instantly what he had to do.
With long strides, he walked over to the dark witch, the three evil witches too surprised to react. He reached out and pulled her into his arms. As they were mere inches apart, he looked into her eyes and say the pain he had caused her. He realized that it had been the pain that had turned her so dark. Silently begging for forgiveness, he gave her a kiss.
As their lips touched, a fierce force erupted from where they stood, spreading their reawakened love first through the grand hall where they stood, then through the three evil witches´ castle, through their enchanted forest and then through the king´s entire kingdom, eradicating all evil, destroying bad and dark everywhere. The three evil witches melted into thin air, and thus the remainder of the curse that still lay on the king was lifted.
As the king and the good witch drew apart, love sparkled all around them. He smiled at her and gently touched her face.
“I am truly sorry for the great pain I have caused you”, he whispered throatily.
She heard the truth in his words and knew he meant it. The good witch, healed from all her evilness, reached out to touch him.
“You have the rest of your life to make amends”, she answered.
As the king and his good witch returned to the castle, they found that everything had changed. The powerful force of their reawakened love had lifted the curse that the princess had been under. The prince and his wife greeted the king happily and welcomed home the good witch.
On the same day, as there was no point in waiting even longer than they already had, the king married the good witch. In the ceremony, they promised to love each other for the rest of their lives and all through eternity, to protect each other from harm and to fight every curse that anyone might put on them.
And they lived – well, they lived happily ever after.