The stories scared children, turned riders away from the woods and even made the bravest of knights avoid the forest. ‘There lives a vile creature!’, ‘Beware! The trees are bewitched’ and ‘Don’t touch the roses!’; the people would scream. For years the dark woods were avoided until one young king had enough and would slay the monstrosity that put fear in his people. This thought stayed with him while he raised his sword, cut through sharp, unrelenting vines and thorns and went deeper and deeper into the dark forest. The thought stayed, until the king came across a man not much older than himself. A young man, alone, surrounded by roses and thorns and not cruel or heartless at all.
Not a vile, brute creature but rather one so beautiful that the king swore to bring him out of the forest and, as with himself, turn the fear and hatred of his people to admiration and love;
‘I’m not a monster am I?’
‘Don’t ever think that.’