Once upon a time there lived a King and a Queen who had one daughter called Rainbow. When she was christened, the people of the city were gathered together outside the cathedral, and amongst them was an old gipsy woman. The gipsy wanted to go inside the cathedral, but the Beadle would not let her, because he said there was no room. When the ceremony was over, and the King and Queen walked out, followed by the Head Nurse who carried the baby, the gipsy called out to them:
"Your daughter will be very beautiful, and as happy as the day is long, until she sees the Spring!" And then she disappeared in the crowd.
The King and the Queen took counsel together and the King said: "That gipsy was evidently a fairy, and what she said bodes no good."
"Yes," said the Queen, "there is only one thing to be done: Rainbow must never see the Spring, nor even hear that there is such a thing."
So an order was issued to the whole city, that if any one should say the word "Spring" in the presence of Princess Rainbow he would have his head cut off. Moreover, it was settled that the Princess should never be allowed to go outside the palace, and during the springtime she should be kept entirely indoors.
The King and the Queen lived in a city which was on the top of a hill, and had a wall round it, and the King's palace was in the middle of it. In the springtime Rainbow was taken to a high tow-er which looked on to the little round city, and from her window you could see the spires of the churches, the ramparts, and the broad green plain beyond. But a curtain made of canvas was fas-tened outside Rainbow's window, so that she could see nothing, and she was not allowed to go outside her tower until the spring-time was over.
Rainbow grew up into a most beautiful Princess, with grey eyes and fair hair, and until she was sixteen all went well, and nothing happened to interfere with her happiness.