The Maiden's Hardened Heart

As every great tale starts, this one begins with a maiden (virgin).


The maiden was the only child of a wealthy merchant and his wife. She was the most beautiful person in her village, with skin softer than silk and a figure to rival Venus. Her hair grew long and ever since she was a small child she kept it twisted into two small locks. She had wide blue eyes that could see through every lie and every flaw to find the true person within. Her greatest dream was to fall in love and live her life happy in the arms of her lover.

The men of the village were all seeking to win her hand, not because of her status but for her beauty alone. Many would lie to her father to get to meet her, and many more would lie to the maiden as to win her heart.

The maiden became tired of this and one day she decided to run away from her village. She packed only a small bag of food, since that was all she could carry, and kissed her parents fare-well as they slept.

She wandered into the nearby woods and wandered down that path, her heart hopeful for the future.

Soon she came upon a little cottage where a young man was chopping wood for his hearth. He looked upon the maiden's beauty and devised a plan to make her his wife. He invited her in to sup and the young maiden, whose heart was warm and innocent, followed him in.

The cottage owner removed her cloak and led her to a table which he had set. As he prepared her food he added a drug, to make her sleepy. He planned to take advantage of the maiden in her tired state, which would make it impossible for her to leave without marrying him.

As he was adding the drug a gleaming white horse passed the kitchen window and whinnied loudly. The maiden turned to see the horse and instead found the young man drugging her supper. Her heart hardened towards the man and she left, unable to believe that all men must be like this.

She traveled on another day until she came to a mansion. Here the young heir was ordering his servants about. He spied the maiden and his heart became envious. To him the beauty would make him even more powerful, so he devised a plan to make her his bride.

He sent his servants to invite her to dine. The maiden was reluctant, but she decided that the lord's son must surely be better mannered than the cottage man. She came in to dine and the lord's son ordered his servants to speak nothing but his praises.

Dutifully, the servants entered and spoke only praises, making the maiden very eager to see the great, noble, virtuous, honest, kind, wealthy and handsome heir they described.

In the next room over the heir was yelling at a servant who he believed had not said enough to his credit. A great black horse trotted up to the window and neighed loudly. The maiden looked over and saw the lord's son for what he was, a prideful child. She left the mansion, her heart hardening still more.

Onward she went until she came across a palace. The prince was gazing out his window and saw her walk by. His heart leaped to see such a beautiful woman and he begged his servants to send for her. He rushed to meet her in the courtyard, leaving his mistress behind in his bed.

The maiden was still more skeptical, but decided that a prince must surely be better than the last two men. She met him and saw him to be handsome and kind, which pleased her greatly. The prince soon wooed her to be his bride.

The prince was not virtuous, however, and continued to see his mistress nightly. Upon their wedding day the maiden dressed herself in the most beautiful gown, her two long black tresses falling down her shoulders. She gazed out into the sunrise, feeling that she was in love.

The two great horses, one white and one black, were galloping around in the garden. The maiden looked down and saw that they were circling the prince and his mistress, who were entwined in the roses.

The maiden's heart broke and turned cold. She ran out of the palace and found herself in a pasture where she fell and wept in anger.

The two great horses trotted up to her and she gazed at them.

"My life it too hard. My mind is made up," she decided. The maiden took a knife and cut off each of her braids, which she then put on each horse. "Maidens like me should be guarded from men. You two have done great, and my dying wish is that you live on to protect them all."

With those words the maiden took her own life, and her words were marked by the stars.

Her black braids hardened like her heart and formed twisted horns on the head of each horse. They still roam the earth, fighting down each man and protecting each maiden they come across.

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