The two orphans looked inside the hut and saw the witch resting there, her head near the threshold, one foot in one corner, the other foot in another corner, and her knees quite close to the ridge pole.
The witch's plan was a very simple one, and had never yet failed. When she wanted a child she just flung her ball in the direction of the child's home, and however far off it might be, the ball was sure to reach it. Then the ball would begin rolling slowly back to the witch, so that the kid always thought that he could catch it the next minute.
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.
‘I know nothing about forgiveness,’ replied the witch. ‘You have eaten my parsley, and must take the consequences; and the consequences are these: I must be godmother to your first child; be it boy or girl, it must belong to me.’
The old woman, although her behavior was so kind, was a wicked witch, who lay in wait for children, and had built the little house on purpose to entice them.
‘I have heard of you so often that I am very glad to meet you. I am told that you are more powerful than any man on earth, and as I am powerful too, let us try which is the strongest.’
The witch said, ‘You may have as much rampion as you like, on one condition—the child that will come into the world must be given to me.’
And from the window a lovely goddess popped out her head and said: ‘What has happened is in no way your fault. Your beauty has caused a wicked fox to fall in love with you.’
‘I know what you want,’ said the sea witch. ‘It is stupid of you, for it will get you in trouble, my little princess. You want to get rid of your fishtail.’
The Tsar came and immediately the witch began to urge him: ‘Give your command, yes, give your command to kill the little Kid. He is a nuisance to me, he is entirely detestable to me!’
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 boy, forgetting himself in a moment of alarm, was heard to exclaim: ‘Run, granny, run; run for your life!’
Then the little old woman gave the three love-oranges to the prince, telling him that when he opened one such a maiden as he was in search of would appear, but he must immediately look for water and sprinkle her, or she would disappear again.
The red-hot fire is built, the bubbling pot is hung, the steely knives are sharpened.
The little doll's eyes would begin to shine like glow-worms, and it would become alive. It would eat a little food, and sip a little drink, and then it would comfort Wassilissa and tell her how to act.