First of all it's an old wives tale that my hair was so very long that it could be used as a ladder. My hair was long, true, but not nearly as exaggerated in length as they say. It was one of my chief aspects, or at least that's what Granny said. She would comb my long curly tresses every night, tutting about the many knots that I had acquired during the day. I am not sure how the knots got there, for even if I sat there doing nothing they would surface. Another myth about my tale is that I could not leave my tower. I was allowed to wander in the woods, as long as I didn't stray too far, and in this way I befriended the gentle trees and animals that roamed the parts. But I really didn't have much to go in the way of the world. It was for my own good, Granny often stated. The world is full of horrors, of pains of woes. Every action that I did was accompanied with a story of consequences. I once remember I scared Granny half to death by climbing the tallest tree in the woods�even taller than my tower. She had promptly told me a story about a girl who fell from a tree and was paralyzed from the waist down. After that, I had nightmares of girls without legs, and tree's with eyes. It was often as such, and I grew used to the many lessons that Granny gave me.
One thing she always encouraged was my worldliness from afar. I was given books, all sorts of books. Books that spoke of many distant lands, of many distant emotions, of many distant concepts. My books became my window to experience, my way of escaping. She also acquired a record player so that I could grow in the culture of music. This too also gave me a window out, for through music I could experience a range of emotions without the events. I became obsessed with my books and music. My days were filled with a hungry search for knowledge, and while it was filtered, it was true. I was never stupid. True I resembled more of the Fool, than the mature Queen of Wands, but I soon learned how to wean perception through the eyes of others. For my childhood I was content, for while I had an ache to leave the tower, I also had a great fear. It is human nature to fear what we do not know, and Granny made sure that I feared greatly. Fear is important, she often said. It keeps us from doing stupid things. I developed uncanny fears. Strange phobias would arise directed at the most common day things.
As I grew older, I learned how to resent.
I hated fearing what I yearned for most�to step beyond the quiet forest, and experience life in its fullest. This cannot last forever, I would tell myself. One day I will be old enough, and then even Granny can not keep me here. For now, I am young and afraid, but soon I shall be ready.
Those words keep me at bay for a time, but restlessness can not be quieted. My books were starting to lose their flavor; my music only fanned the passion. I started having dreams that called out to me.,.run little one, run far away. I would wake up crying, pleading for them not to go and leave me here. But they never would wait. They always went on without me. I now could not sit still. I constantly had to be doing things, else my hands start shaking with impatience. I doodled, I skipped, I twitched, I paced. And then one day I did something different- I sang.
The song came out of nowhere. I was sitting at my window, looking out into the distance, wishing more than ever that I could go just beyond the horizon, when suddenly I became inspired. And so I sang my woes.
The notes I sang reflected my frustration�my restlessness�my unbearable urge to run. My resentment danced in and out of the melody along with my fear. Fear. Resolve. Strength. Hear me, oh hear me, set me free. Please.
He heard the song, as he was wandering through his life. I hadn't meant for anyone to hear it, let along this strange creature who looked at me with intense eyes. But hear it he did, and it caused him to pause.
" M'lady" He spoke up to the tower." Let me see you."
I looked out the window, and saw a young man. I knew much about them, from not only from Granny but also my books. The birds often sang stories to me about love, and stars, and tragedy. I knew all of this, and yet I still allowed him to see me. See me. He looked up at me, and smiled.
"What beautiful eyes you have."
This both surprised and thrilled me, for tired was I of hearing about my hair. It was an unruly feature that was whorish in nature, covering my eyes, and taking all of the attention. At first I would not let him in my tower. He came back many days after, and we talked for long hours, until it was time for him to leave least Granny find him.
One day he came before me with purpose in his eyes.
"Let me come up there." He asked." Let me see you fully."
The fear hit me. Gasping I told him no. He looked at me sadly, but said no more that day.
The next day however, he asked me again, and once more I refused him.
There is something about threes. They hold some sort of persuasive power, and while resolve might hold when asked twice, the third time is almost impossible to refuse. He asked me a third time, and this time I made a decision.
I would not allow him to enter my fortress, but I would go down to him. I walked down the spiral staircase, wishing more than ever that I could run, but I keep descending. He was waiting for me at the bottom. He smiled and embraced me.
"How lovely you are." He said staring into my eyes, and I knew that he wasn't just speaking of my appearance.
The days after that were spent exploring the woods near by tower together. True, I didn't really travel further, but his mind helped me explore the world through a new perception. I lapped up his opinions, turning them around in my head, studying them, and then storing them away in my mind for examination later.
But though I was out of the tower, I still had fear. I still had Granny to think of.
She suspected at first, but didn't outright accuse me until four months had passed.
" You have been tasting the world." She said to me, out of nowhere, one night when we were visiting together. "
" No, for my fear holds me back. I am simply taking a few steps to crawl outside of this prison. " I said with more vehemence than I wanted.
Instead of anger, she showed sadness.
" I had not meant this to be a prison for you." She said ." I had only mean to protect you." She sat me down and did a card reading for me.
" Is my darling, my little pumpkin, is she headed for ill fate because of me?"
The little darling soon will suffer a fall from the tower. She has forgotten how to get down on her own, and thus will have to leap. sang the cards.
Granny looked up at me alarmed.
"No, it cannot be. You wouldn't leave me, would you darling? You wouldn't leave me alone?"
"No granny " I said without emotion. She left then, comforted. I was far from feeling ease. I didn't want to fall from the tower and I hoped the cards were wrong in some way. I couldn't figure out how it was possible for I knew the tower well, and I was hardly clumsy.
He showed up the next day, and I knew something was wrong. Without asking me, started to climb the tower.
"No" I screamed." Stop you fool, whatever are you doing."
"I wish to see where you live." He said simply, and there was naught I could do to keep him from climbing. He was almost to the top when I suddenly heard a flapping. Looking into the tree line with terror I realized what it was. Granny had summoned fear, giving it the skin of falcon. It moved like any natural creature, but I knew that there was nothing natural about it. Closer and closer it came, but I could not speak. I looked down upon my prince, and saw that he was almost to my window. I grasped his hand right as the bird slammed into him. It was enough to unbalance him, and he began to fall. I screamed, but nothing could be done. He hit the ground into a clump of briar bushes. I ran to the stairs, but the bird swooped down in the doorway and blocked my entrance.
I glanced at the window, and with sudden clarity I knew what I must do. I perched on the threshold, and felt the wind on my face. There were mountains in the distance, this I could see. I took a deep breath, and fell�.
I landed much more softly than him. I do not knew how, perhaps it was granny's doing; for it was her way to give me love and punishment hand and hand. There was pain, lots of it, but nothing was permanently broken. For a while I just lay there, not wanting to move from the pain. Slowly the feeling in my arms came back, and I used them to sit up. Like a colt that has just been born I wobbled onto my feet, and slowly made my way to the thorn bush. He was laying there as if dead, and for one fearful moment I thought it was so. But lo! He moved, and I felt relief wash over me.
" My love." I said softly, and he sat up. " Are you all right?"
" Who are you?" He asked me in astonishment.
"What? Its me darling� me." I said surprised.
" I do not know who you are." He said simply. It was then that I noticed his eyes. Two thorns had lodged their way into his irises."
" It is me. Me. Please, see me." I pleaded.
" I cannot see you." He said with a coldness." I know not who you are."
And then there was more pain than the fall.
" At least allow me to remove the thorns in your eyes." I pleaded." For then you will no longer be blind to me."
" You shall not touch me." He said. He slowly rose, and though most of his body survived the fall, he walked with a limp. " I know not why I am here, but there is other duties that I must be doing. I leave you m'lady, whoever you may be."
He turned to walk, and I wanted to beg him to not go. To stay, to allow me to remove the thorns, to allow me to explain�but I didn't. As long as he refused to see the thorns, I could be of no help to him. Maybe one day�
Slowly I rose to my own feet, taking deep breathes. Scratches ran up and down my body. My hands were covered with blood, but it seemed to be only minor wounds. For a moment I reflected on what I should do. I could never go back to the tower, but I knew that part of me was still up there. It would be a long while before the tower was completely descended�but at least I had a running jump.
I turned to the horizon, now on level with me. Fear was still there, as was pain, but still I walked. Towards the mountains. Towards my future.