A prince lost a bet with a giant. He made a promise to deliver his head to the giant in his castle on a certain day. The day came for the prince to leave, and he set out from home. He traveled a good distance and finally saw the light of a small house at the bottom of a hill. He was very tired, and he rushed toward the house and knocked on the door.
She served dinner, and she gave the prince a bed for the night. At breakfast, she said, "Tonight, you will stay with my sister. Follow her instructions. This ball of yarn will lead the way. Drop it at your feet on the path and follow. Rewind the yarn into a second ball as you go."
The prince pursued the yarn and traveled very far until he asw the light of a second house at the top of a mountain. An old woman answered his knock, and she resembled her sister except her hair and teeth were longer.
"Welcome, Prince. I was waiting," she said. They ate a warm dinner, and the prince slept in the bed she provided. At breakfast, she confided, "I am the oldest, and we have a younger sister. Sleep at her house tonight and listen to what she says to do." She handed him yarn and told him to follow where it led. "Roll the yarn as you go onto a second spool."
The next night, the prince saw the light of a third house on the moor, and he knocked. "Welcome, Prince, I was expecting you," said an old woman. Her hair and teeth were shorter than the hair and teeth of her sisters.
At breakfast, she said, "Here is your ball of yarn, which will lead you to the giant's house. Rewind as you go. When you see the castle, walk down to the pond. You will find the giant's three daughters bathing. One wears a blue lily, one wears a white lily, and the third wears a yellow lily in her hair. Hide the clothes of the maiden with the yellow lily. She will help you."
The prince came to the castle in the afternoon. He followed the splashes and laughter of the giant's daughters as they bathed. Through the trees, he found three piles of belongings. On one pile was a skirt with a yellow lily in the pocket. "These are hers," he said to himself, and he hid the things.
After her sisters dressed and left for home, th ethird daughter cried. "If whoever stole my clothes can hear me speak, I forgive you. If you are in danger, I promise to help once you give me back my things," she pleaded.
The prince threw the maiden her clothing through an opening in the trees, and he turned away. "You are the prince who owes my father his head," she said when she was dressed. "Do not accept the meat my father offers at dinner. He will put you in a tank of water to spend the night. I will rescue you."
The prince knocked at the castle door and the giant led him to the dining hall. The prince refused the meat the giant served, and he followed his host to the tank of water. "Get in," the giant bellowed.
The giant fell asleep. The prince was relieved to see Yellow Lily. She led him to a different dining hall, and they had fine meat and good wine. "Time for bed now," she said, and she took him to the water tank and closed him inside.
A short time later, the giant removed the lid on the tank and was surprised to find the prince alive. "No more sleep. I have a job for you to do before you can keep your head," said the giant, laughing loudly. "At the top of the tree with no branches, the one you see that is nine hundred feet tall, is a nest. I must have the egg in that nest by the end of the day. If not, I will have your head today. Oh, I forgot to say that the tree is entirely covered in glass, and it has no branches. Ha! ha! ha!"
To his surprise, the prince found Yellow Lily leaning on the slippery trunk. "You must kill me and separate the bones from the flesh. Store the flesh carefully in you pouch. My bones will stick to the glass trunks like branches. Step on every on the way to the egg, then step on every one of them and collect the bones on the way down. Form my body with them, cover them with my flesh, and I will be alive once more." said Yellow Lily.
The bones stuck on the glass trunk, as Yellow Lily said they would. Climbing to the top of the tree on the bones, the prince grabbed the egg. He stepped on the bones as he descended. He collected them after he did. When his left foot touched the ground, he jumped off the tree. His right foot missed the last bone.
Laying the bones on the grass, the prince formed Yellow Lily. He covered the structure with her flesh, and Yellow Lily came to life.
"I owe you my life and my love. I am sorry you are lame, but it does not diminish your beauty. If you consent to marry me, I will ask your father for your hand," the prince said.
Surprised to find the prince had the egg, the giant have his consent and the prince kept his head.
© Copyright 2016 Leigh Ann Breshears. All rights reserved.