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  • Writer's pictureEnchanted Conversation

The Tower by Lynn Hardaker


it wasn’t a prison. well, it was at the start,

but i came to enjoy our games of cards, of chess,

came to look forward to letting her braid the copper river of my hair

or braiding the silver river of hers.

after a while though, although she was excellent company:

well read, loved to converse,

and could tell a mean joke,

i suppose in the end it was the terrible boredom of familiarity.

the witch:

i felt badly at first. see, my motives were far from pure.

but as she grew more beautiful with each round of the moon, 

and seemed truly to enjoy the world i’d built for us,

in her presence i felt just a little bit lovely.

she loved to cook and i to eat; she sang like a thrush. 

i don’t want to seem ungrateful for all the years,

but i suppose that at some point

i became just a little bit bored.  

the prince:

i heard the singing -

a sound that turned the air to honey -

and called up to that unreachable window hoping for a glimpse,

but gave up and sat amongst the thistles and nettle.

as i fell into a slumber, the song above changed, now a second voice sang

and i wondered what magic is this?

but my eyes closed, as though pulled and stitched fast

with threads of copper and silver silk.


when we heard him call up to us

at first i was afraid

for visitors to this part of the wood

did not usually bode well.

but he looked harmless enough

if a little silly in that princely get-up,

he had a sweet smile and eyes that were no less beautiful

for their obvious lack of sight.

the witch:

okay, so i meddled,

can you blame me?

i knew the girl was lonely for company

of her own age; it seemed an innocent enough spell

but then, 

things don’t always turn out the way one hopes

and my motives might not have been quite so pure

besides, the prince was a much better chess player than she.  

the prince:

after a year, my eyes healed

and i pretended not to have figured out

what had been done 

as i was quite pleased with the outcome

the girl is charming and witty, 

and the woman is a worthy chess partner and 

can talk far into the night about any subject in any of her books

and she tells me that i’m free to read them all.


she thought i didn’t know what she’d done

and i didn’t mind, really.

i could see that they also had much in common 

plus, i was happy for a bit of free time

and it is rather nice in here with more voices filling this tower room.

i do love to listen to our girls sing 

as they embroider by the fire

one with hair like the sun, the other with hair like the moon.

Lynn Hardaker is a Canadian artist and writer currently living in Germany. Her short stories and poems have appeared in journals including Mythic Delirium, Mirror Dance, and Not One of Us.

Image by Anne Anderson, “The Witch Spies on Rapunzel.”



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