|Johnny Gruelle's Rapunzel|
“Gruelle, Gruelle, let down your rope, so I may tie the supplies.” He would call, and when he had done, she would hoist the rope up to find out what goods he had brought. There was usually a loaf of rye or pumpernickel bread, porridge, fruit, and a jar of jam, and sometimes he would include a new storybook or a copy of his latest drawing. These surprises she delighted in: she read the stories aloud with a husky throat and pinned the drawings to her cell walls. When she was well, her morning routine was to cook porridge on her stove, make her cot bed, sweep the floor, and wash the window, and in the afternoons she read from her collection of fairytales. Her favourite was Rapunzel, and often at night she dreamt that instead of the rope she let down long, golden hair. But this she knew would never come true for her hair was dirty blonde and as short as a boy's, and with her skin turning blue, she knew she would never have a beautiful hue, but she did have a prince: her papa.
In Silvermine, she was not known as The Maiden In The Tower, but as the contagious girl in the attic. Already her Christian name, Marcella, had been forgot; even her dear papa did not call for her by this. She was Gruelle: the poisoned one. Poisoned with disease: chills, fever, and fatigue, which she could spread just by breathing. And since she could now only comfortably eat gruel her surname as a first name was fitting. But being a spirited child, this new way of life did not defeat her, although she knew there would come a time when this disease eventually would. With her mind, she travelled all over. She visited friends and her papa in his hillside studio, as well as lands she had read about, but never seen. As the illness progressed, Gruelle grew ever more peaceful.
|Mourning Cloak Butterfly|