40. Setting Down Her Roots

Deciding these trees were way too scary to be climbing, Rosella trusted her gut to tell her which was north, and made
her way carefully through the forest.  Despite her best hopes, the forest only become denser and the trees more
menacing.  The tension made her little heart pound overtime and breaths came in short spurts as the trees themselves
seemed to whisper to the bewildered young princess, “come closer… closer pretty girl.”

Before long she was ducking and squirming from branches that seemed to reach out to touch her, snagging at stray
hairs atop her blonde head.  When Rosella thought that fear was about to claim her heart for good, she saw an opening
in the forest.  That must be it!  She thought with a wash of elation.  It must be the passage to the witches’ cave!  
Abandoning much of the guard she had been holding up, Rosella ran as fast as her heels would allow, even stumbling a
bit to escape the scary forest as quickly as she could.  “Wait.  Don’t go.  Stay.  Stay with us pretty girl.  Stay,” cooed the
whispering trees as Rosella scrambled.  Her abandonment of care and good sense proved to be her undoing.  As
Rosella carelessly ran for the clearing, her long and loose blonde hair entangled in the reaching tree branches.  It was a
terrible mess.  She quickly fought with trembling fingers to work the soft locks free, all the while; little branches sneakily
wrapped themselves around her slender ankles, waist, arms, and even her neck!  By the time she caught on, it was too
late.  There were too many of them around her.  

“Let me go!” she screamed in protest.

“You must stay,” was the sinister reply of the wind.  Rosella stared in horror as her black shoes split open, and holes
poked in the white stockings covering her feet as her toes stretched and reached down into the earth!  Her once tender
calves grew hard, and the affect moved further up her legs and torso.  Before her very terrified blue eyes, Rosella’s
body was turning into wood!  Before she could let out a scream, her delicate porcelain jaw and soft ruby lips were
transformed into solid wood.  Lastly her lush golden hair grew wild about in many branches sprouting leaves.  Her
transformation was complete.  Rosella would spend the rest of eternity as a tree in the evil forest of Tamir, fully aware of
her foolishness and the tragic end of her choices.  Mental note: Shorthaired princesses live longer!

-The End

Try Again?
Illustration by Ron Wing