My mother is thrilled when I get the position at the castle, though a mother’s pride is likely the only thrill that accompanies a position as a castle maid. Of course, she will tell her friends that I work at the castle and leave the maid part out entirely.

On my first day the head maid takes me on a tour and it is somewhat thrilling. The castle itself is grand and sprawling and I can see why they need such a large staff. The head maid tells me as we walk that I will be assigned to certain rooms and I will likely never see much of the rest of the castle again. I will rarely, if ever, see the king.

The courtyards are lush and green, dotted with fountains and sculptures, and around the edges there are strange large urns, each painted a bright, cheerful color.

What are those? I ask my guide, moving to point but she grabs my hand and shakes her head, looking over her shoulder before leaning to whisper in my ear.

That’s where he puts the princesses when he’s finished with them.

I start to smile, thinking it a joke, but her expression stays serious and somber as we walk by urn after urn, yellow and purple and pink.

About flax-golden tales
. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

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