Beauty could not help shuddering when she saw the horrible face of the frightful creature, but she made a brave effort to overcome her fear.
The Princess ascended a narrow, winding staircase and reached a little door. A rusty key was sticking in the lock, and when she turned it the door flew open. In a little room sat an old woman with a spindle, spinning her flax busily.
The new wife brought two daughters home with her, and they were beautiful and fair in appearance, but at heart were black and ugly.
The lassie set out on her way, and walked many, many days, till she came to a lofty rock. Under it sat an old hag, and played with a gold apple which she tossed about.
He went up boldly, and knocked loudly at the gate; when, to his great terror and surprise, there came forth a monstrous giant with two heads.
As he was going along a dog came up and sniffed hungrily at the dumplings. Peach Darling thought, ‘This poor dog is hungry, and I can do with one less dumpling.’ So he gave a dumpling to the dog.
‘Perhaps I can help thee, if thou wilt promise to give me the first thing that rubs itself against thy leg when thou art at home again, and to bring it here in twelve years' time, thou shalt have as much money as thou wilt.’
And a rumor went abroad in all that country of the beautiful sleeping Rosamond, for so was the Princess called; and from time to time many Kings' sons came and tried to force their way through the hedge.
The Princess had no sooner taken the spindle than it ran into her hand, and she fell down in a swoon.
Sir Bertrand was now in total darkness; and, with his arms extended, began to ascend the stair-case. A dead cold hand met his left hand, and firmly grasped it, drawing him forcibly forward.