Once upon a time, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful. Close by the king’s castle lay a great dark forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest, there was a well. The day was very warm, the king’s child went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain. When she was bored she took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, and this ball was her favorite plaything.
There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for a child. At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her desire. These people had a little window at the back of their house from which a splendid garden could be seen, which was full of the most beautiful flowers and herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had great power and was dreaded by all the world.