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  • Chapter one

  • Prince Zigfried

  • Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a Prince. His name was Zigfried, and

  • he was very unhappy. His father, the King, had died, and since then, everyone in the

  • palace had forgotten how to smile. Without his father, Zigfried thought he would never

  • feel happy again.

  • Every day, Zigfried sat at the window in his room in the palace, looking at the birds in

  • the trees.

  • "How can they sing and fly so free? They must not feel like me."

  • His servant, Ozlowe, tried to make the prince smile by telling him jokes or doing funny

  • tricks for him. But the Prince would not smile.

  • "I know you love me Ozlowe, but I cannot smile. My heart is broken."

  • Ozlowe would not give up.

  • "Let's go for a walk, good Prince. Maybe we can find something outside which will make

  • you happy."

  • "If you wish Ozlowe, but I don't think there's anything that can make me happy."

  • Ozlowe put on his hunting cap, and he took his crossbow. He enjoyed hunting and he hoped

  • to catch a bird or a rabbit for the Prince.

  • They walked through the forest until they came to a lake. On the lake there was a beautiful

  • white swan. It had a gold crown on its head, that only Princesses wear. The swan swam towards

  • the prince and looked into his eyes. The swan's eyes were so sad that Prince Zigfried felt

  • sorry for it.

  • "Here is a creature which feels worse than I do. But why do you have that crown on your

  • head?"

  • The swan opened its wings and cried out.

  • "I think it's trying to tell me something."

  • Ozlowe had his crossbow in his hands. He wanted to shoot the swan.

  • "I'll get that swan for you. Prince. Just one minute."

  • "Ozlowe, no!"

  • Before Ozlowe could shoot, a magic owl flew from a tree and took Ozlowe's cap off his

  • head. This cast a spell on him, and he was turned to stone. The Prince did not understand.

  • "Ozlowe, what has happened to you? Speak to me!"

  • He looked back at the lake. The swan was gone.

  • "Everything I do goes wrong. This must have happened because of me!"

  • The Prince returned to the palace sadder than before, thinking to himself:

  • "If only Ozlowe were here! There is nothing good in my life any more".

  • Zigfried's mother came to see him that night. She had something important to say.

  • "Zigfried, soon you will be eighteen years old. You must take your father's place as

  • King. I am having a ball on your birthday so that you may choose a wife, and I will

  • invite all the princesses from the other kingdoms."

  • "But I do not wish to marry, Mother. I do not love anyone."

  • "You will learn to love someone. First, you must stop thinking of yourself."

  • "If this will make you happy, I'll do it, Mother."

  • "It is not for my happiness that I am doing this. It is for yours, and all the other people

  • in this land. You see, love is more powerful than we know. Without it, you will not be

  • a great King."

  • His mother left him. He sat at the window, thinking of what she had said. He wanted to

  • love someone with all his heart, but he didn't know who it would be.

  • Chapter two

  • The Beautiful Princess

  • On the morning of the Royal Ball, everybody was very busy in the palace. The Queen's maids

  • were preparing the Queen's dress. The servants cleaned the floors and windows, and the cooks

  • were cooking enough food for a thousand people.

  • The prince looked handsome in his red outfit. But he was still not happy. He left the palace

  • to be alone and think, and went to the stone statue of Ozlowe.

  • "It's my birthday today Ozlowe. I'm eighteen. That means that I must marry someone and become

  • King. The problem is I don't want to get married; I don't love anyone."

  • There was a quiet splashing in the lake. Zigfried looked and saw the beautiful swan with the

  • gold crown.

  • "There it is! The beautiful swan has come back."

  • He went closer to the water to look at it. Its eyes had the same sadness in them, but

  • it was happy to see Zigfried and it swam close to him. Zigfried looked into its eyes and

  • talked to it.

  • "I think you understand me. I think you know how people feel."

  • A tear fell from the swan's eye.

  • "Don't cry. You should be happy that you are a swan. You will never have to marry someone

  • you do not love. You will never feel sad when someone dies." The swan made a loud cry. Its

  • wings moved back and forth at its sides. Suddenly, an owl appeared as if from nowhere and flew

  • at Zigfried's head, but it missed. The owl flew off, and the swan began to swim away.

  • "Wait. Don't leave."

  • Zigfried ran round the edge of the lake, following the swan. He had to run fast to see where

  • it went. Soon, he was in a part of the forest he did not know. Tall trees blocked out the

  • sun. It was very dark.

  • The swan swam to an ugly old castle. When it left the water, something magical happened;

  • the swan turned into a beautiful Princess. She had long blonde hair and she wore a long

  • white dress. The crown was still on her head. Zigfried ran to where she stood at the castle

  • door.

  • "Wait! Where are you going?"

  • The Princess stopped, but she did not look at him.

  • "Look at me, please. My name is Prince Zigfried and I want to know who you are."

  • The Princess turned to look at the Prince. She had the same dark, sad eyes of the swan.

  • "My name is Princess Odile."

  • "But why were you a swan? Why do you look so sad?"

  • "An evil wizard called Rocford cast a spell on me. I may only leave the castle during

  • the day as a swan."

  • "Where is this wizard? I will talk to him. I will tell him this is wrong."

  • "No, you mustn't. He will hurt you, I know. He does not want me to see another man."

  • "Tell me where this man is! I will fight him and free you."

  • "No, you must leave. He is dangerous."

  • "I won't leave until I see him; You must be set free."

  • "Please. You are very kind, but you must go away."

  • "I won't!"

  • She looked into his eyes again.

  • "If you want to do something for me, you will leave now."

  • "Odile, I will leave if you want me to. But I want you to come to the ball tonight. I

  • must choose a wife and I want to choose you."

  • "I can't. The wizard won't let me."

  • "Find a way. Promise me you'll try."

  • She spoke softly.

  • "All right. I'll try."

  • Chapter three

  • Odet

  • Zigfried left, and Odile went inside the castle. Odet, the wizard's evil daughter, was behind

  • a tree. When she saw Odile talking to the Prince, she was jealous; she wanted to go

  • to the ball, and what was more, she wanted to marry the Prince. She didn't like Odile,

  • because she was so beautiful and kind. But the wizard loved her, so Odet couldn't do

  • anything to hurt her... until now!

  • Odet went to the wizard's room, but he was not there. The room looked like a museum.

  • There was an Egyptian statue against one wall, and large aquariums full of strange fish.

  • On a table stood many different coloured bottles. Odet opened one of the bottles. Smoke came

  • out of it. It smelled of burning wood.

  • The magic owl flew into the open window, unseen by Odet, and changed back into the wizard.

  • "Do you like the smell?"

  • "Oh, Father! You scared me."

  • "You wouldn't be afraid if you were not in my room when I wasn't here."

  • "I know father, but I have something very important to tell you. It's about Odile."

  • The wizard opened his eyes wide. He was a tall man, with a long, white beard and long,

  • white hair. He wore a big black hat and a long black robe with stars on it.

  • "Tell me what you know!"

  • "First, you must promise to do something for me."

  • "What is it?"

  • "I can't tell you now. First, I must tell you about Odile, then I will ask for something.

  • Will you do it?"

  • "Tell me, before I turn you into a frog!"

  • The wizard was very much in love with Odile. He would change his daughter into a frog because

  • he wanted to know about Odile.

  • "Today, I saw Odile talking to Prince Zigfried. The Prince asked Odile to go to the royal

  • ball tonight. He wants to marry her and free her from your evil powers."

  • The wizard turned in a circle and pointed his hand at the floor. Fire came from his

  • fingers and hit the floor. The whole castle shook.

  • "I should have destroyed the Prince today, when I saw him with Odile."

  • "You saw him, too?"

  • "Yes, at the lake. I attacked him, but I was only an owl. Odile knew this and she left

  • him. He must have followed her here."

  • "Oh yes Father, and he is so handsome! You should see his face!"

  • "Silence!"

  • The wizard turned himself into a large, stone ball. He threw himself against the walls,

  • making the castle shake again. Alone in her room, Odile felt the castle shaking. She hid

  • her head under a pillow on her bed; she hated it when the wizard got angry.

  • The wizard changed back into himself in his room.

  • "Now Father, you promised you'd do something for me."

  • "I never promised you anything!"

  • "Oh, Father. I want to go to the ball! I want to marry the prince."

  • The wizard angrily raised his hand again. Then, he thought of something. Slowly, he

  • lowered his hand.

  • "You would like to go to the ball, wouldn't you?"

  • "Oh yes, Father!"

  • "And you would like to marry the prince?"

  • "Yes, I would."

  • "Then you will, and he will think that you are Odile."

  • "Oh Father, what a wonderful idea!"

  • She put her arms around him. His body was cold as stone, and his eyes were filled with

  • fire.

  • Chapter four

  • A bird in a cage

  • Odile's room was at the top of the castle tower. Rocford had put her there, after he

  • had taken her from her parents. She was the most beautiful Princess in the land, and her

  • parents were good and kind. Rocford had asked her father if he could marry Odile.

  • "We must ask my daughter what she thinks."

  • Odile was brought to the wizard.

  • "Odile, this man lias asked to marry you. He says he is very rich and that he will make

  • you the happiest princess in the world. What do you think?"

  • Odile looked into the wizard's eyes.

  • "Do you promise to love me forever, with all your heart?" Will you love me so much that

  • you will not think of what you want, even if it hurts you to do this?"

  • The look in her eyes and her questions made Rocford uncomfortable.

  • "Why do you ask me such questions? I told your father I could give you everything you

  • could want."

  • The Princess smiled and turned her head away.

  • "I'm sorry Father, but I will not marry this man. He does not know what love is."

  • They did not know then that he was a wizard. Rocford had looked like a Prince. He wore

  • beautiful clothes and looked very handsome. But, when he heard what Odile said to her

  • father, his face began to change. It became old and ugly. His clothes changed from blue

  • to black.

  • "You do not know what you are saying, you silly girl. I do not have to ask for what

  • I want. I am a wizard, and I can do anything I please."

  • He waved his hands through the air, and a fire started in the castle where the Princess

  • and her parents lived. He had turned Odile into a small bird in a cage, and carried her

  • to his castle where he locked her up in a tower.

  • The entire kingdom was destroyed by this fire, and her parents were killed.

  • There was a real bird in a cage in Odile's room at the wizard's castle. The wizard had

  • put it there so that Odile would remember the power he had over her. He only let her

  • leave the castle as a swan because he did not want other men to fall in love with her.

  • At night, she stayed in her room talking to the bird, who was her only friend. She called

  • the bird Patrice, because it was her mother's name.

  • "Oh Patrice, what should I do? The ball is tonight, and I am a prisoner here. I believe

  • the Prince loves me with all his heart. I saw it in his eyes. He loved me even as a

  • swan."

  • The bird began moving its wings wildly. It always knew when something horrible was about

  • to happen.

  • "What is it Patrice, what are you afraid of?"

  • Odile heard keys in her locked door. She put the bird and its cage behind a curtain, because

  • she did not want the bird to see what was about to happen.

  • Chapter five

  • Odet's New Voice

  • The wizard entered Odile's room with Odet. Odet was the same age and height as Odile,

  • but she had dark hair. However, she wasn't as beautiful as Odile, and this made her very

  • jealous. The wizard spoke first.

  • "Sit down, Odile. I would like to ask you something."

  • The wizard waved his hand and a large and very comfortable pink chair appeared. Odile

  • sat on it.

  • "Odet tells me that you would like to go to the ball tonight. Is that true?"

  • "Yes."

  • "If I let you go to this ball, will you promise to marry me?"

  • "I have told you, I will only marry a man who loves me and who I love."

  • "But you know I love you."

  • "If you loved me, you wouldn't keep me locked up in this castle. You wouldn't have killed

  • my parents."

  • "You are a fool! Would you like to marry the Prince? Is that it?"

  • "He loves me more than you do."

  • "How do you know? He left you here with me. That shows you that you are wrong. He is afraid

  • of me. He can't love you very much if he is afraid."

  • "He did it for me! I asked him to do it!"

  • "And did you tell him that you would go to the ball?"

  • "Yes."

  • "Then you lied. You knew I would not let you go."

  • "I said I would try. He knows that if I do not go it is not because I do not want to."

  • "And how does he know this?"

  • "You do not have to cast a spell on someone or make them rich to love you. You understand

  • it by looking in their eyes. You know it by the way they speak and act."

  • "You are a dreamer!"

  • "And you have no heart!"

  • "Silence!"

  • The wizard raised both his arms and the castle shook. The curtain on the wall fell down,

  • and the wizard saw the bird in the cage.

  • "Ah, the bird."

  • "If you hurt that bird you are worse than I thought."