There once was a young woman called Ulla. She was the youngest daughter of a modestly wealthy family who owned and managed a country estate and farm. Times were hard, but there was enough to eat and life was comfortable.

One day, Ulla was sitting on a log by the river that ran through the wood near the house. She placed a hand on her belly and sighed. ‘What am I going to do with you?’ she asked quietly. ‘You have no father, and if I keep you I will never find a husband.’

The shimmering sunlight on the surface of the water resolved slowly into the form of a kindly old woman. ‘Dear child,’ she said. ‘Whatever is the matter?’

Ulla stared at the water-sprite in shock. ‘Who are you?’ she gasped. ‘What do you want with me?’

The old woman smiled warmly. ‘I am your godmother. I have looked over you since you were born.’

‘Alas,’ cried Ulla, ‘that you were not there a month ago to save me from the prince.’

‘But I was there! And I don’t recall you objecting to anything the prince did up in the hayloft. Call me a liar, but I’m sure I heard you begging for more. And more. And more…’

Ulla glared at the old woman. ‘Okay,’ she said. ‘But now I’m with child, and I doubt His Highness will want anything to do with me.’

‘Oh, I don’t know about that. His father, the king, has sent a messenger to scour the land for a woman whose foot fits a certain glass slipper.’

‘A glass slipper?’

‘Well, I don’t think it’s actually glass, but that’s not the point. I will arrange that the messenger arrives here today. A slight adjustment to your feet’ – Ulla’s feet suddenly felt very hot – ‘and they’re the perfect fit. There you go, my child. Destiny awaits.’

Ulla shook her head in confusion. ‘But what if the prince doesn’t want me?’

‘What’s that got to do with anything?’

About Frank

A Sci-Fi & Fantasy author and lyrical poet with a mild obsession for vampires, succubi, goddesses and Supergirl.
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