The fine-looking young girl sees him watching every day for a fortnight, careful, observant before he makes a move. And every day she leans out the window of her spacious chamber in the tower with one window and no doors, her strawberry blond hair shimmering in the sunshine, brushing it to a gloss as she hums her song. At noonday, a hunched figure comes bearing baskets of provisions, of fresh strawberries and cream, and the girl fastens her lengthy, luxurious hair to a hook in the arched window’s stone foundation, lets it down and the figure climbs it like a rope. The two speak on many affairs, the prince knows not what, but the figure, cloaked head-to-toe in black, its baskets empty, stays for hours and descends again at dusk, disappearing into the forest. The prince attempts to follow it once, but met only a woman in the wood who reads fortunes and futures but can not tell him which way the cloaked figure has gone.
She does advise him to be wary, for there is a witch about, and she has a hunger for men such as him: he is nearing one-and-thirty years, in his prime, and he is staggeringly handsome of face. He is active, bright, keen. And the witch is covetous, hungry for a cove of such fine quality. And he decides this is the figure he sees, and as he watches the girl, he forms a theory, that the witch keeps the girl in a tower with no doors so she might not have the competition of her fair face. It is not difficult to imagine, given the behavior of the ladies at court.
She is not lovely, he decides as he watches, not the way the made-up ladies of the gentry are. But there is something so striking about her that he cannot help himself from returning again and again each day. Her skin is tanned, and her eyebrows pale to match her golden hair. Her face is wide, and her eyes fair but unremarkable. And yet, he is drawn to her, and as the story spins out in his mind, his imagination building upon it, he decides he must do something to help her, this poor thing locked in a tower with no doors and only the one window.
He approaches as night falls, calling up to her. “Hush,” a small voice comes back at him, almost scolding, “go away!”
In spite of himself, he smiles. “I will not!” he insists, standing there at the base of the short, squat tower, with no doors and one window. “Not until you speak with me. Is it the woman you’re frightened of?” A pause. “The woman in the black cloak, does she threaten you? Are you frightened of her?”
The girl’s voice is small, hoarse. “Yes.” A single, simple word. And then nothing more for several moments. And then, “Wait a moment.” He hears a shuffling and then her braided hair falls down to him. “Climb it.”
“Will it not hurt you?” he asks, taking it in hand, running his fingers over the silky plait.
“Do not worry,” she whispers. “Just climb.” And so he does. He is surprised at how elegant a prison the witch has afforded her prisoner, how generous, swathed in silks and feathered pillows. And she is alarmed, at first, by how beautiful he appears, his thick chestnut hair pulled back into a small, short horsetail, his beard elegantly trimmed, neat but full. His eyes like sparkling blue sapphires, his lips so gracefully curved, like a bow. She tells him that her name is Persinette, and he tells her of his home. They are formal, at first, and a bit awkward, but as the night wears on, the prince finds that he is becoming relaxed, somewhat sleepy. They lay upon her plush bed and he drifts into a peaceful sleep as she sings to him.
She begs him to leave, when he wakes the next morning, before the figure, who she calls Gothelle, returns. He does so, but promises to return, and so he does, night after night. She is so charming, and he is absolutely smitten. In a fit of passion, he kisses her, claiming her mouth with his own, conquering it with the sweep of his tongue, his large hand cupped at the nape of her neck, stroking the skin there gently, but possessively. She melts into him, and when he returns the next night, she is naked, hidden only by the shining whorls of her silken hair.
He uses his lips and tongue to stroke and lap at her nipples, until they are two taut little strawberries on the ample mounds of cream that are her breasts. His gloved hand goes to work between her thighs, his thick fingers, swathed in suede, begin a fire in her belly by caressing the petals he finds there, and her honey melts from her, coating his glove. He removed the hand for a moment, bringing it to his lips to pull it off with his teeth; but he pauses, breathing her musky feminine scent, running his tongue over the leather as he takes the finger between his teeth and tugs.
Now that he has gotten a taste of her, he desires nothing so much as to drink more. He buries his head between her freckled thighs, lapping along her slit, and pushing his tongue inside. Moaning, he deepens the kiss. She is so ripe and pink, like a strawberry lightly covered in salt, and just as juicy as he licks her, thrusts his tongue inside to taste the burning succulent silken walls of her sheath. She cradles his head there as he bathes her with his tongue, sucking and laving her to ecstasy and again and once more, until she cries that she cannot stand it anymore.
And they lay together: he is still clothed, and the fact that her young body is completely bare and pressed to the rich leather and velvets of his clothing excites him. The next night, he promises himself, they will indulge in every delight he could offer.
As he leaves for the day, all he can think of is her, his obsession now complete. He ponders how warm she can seem one day, and so aloof yet witty the next. He licks his lips, thinking of burying them once more in her mound, drinking down her slick honey. He sits in a thicket, nearly seething at the mere fact that he cannot spend the day with her. By the time he climbs her hair that evening, his cock is as hard as the steel at his hip, ready to be wielded, to be sheathed in her trembling softness.
She yields to him and he thrusts his manhood into her, groaning and growling at the tightness of her gripping him like a fist, the perfection of her clasping honeyed flesh. He rides her hard, lost in his fervent, hot-blooded infatuation. Pushing his cock deep into her belly, watching her face as it contorts with the rapture of feeling him, of his possessing her so completely. He kisses her neck, the palms of her hands, as his hips pounded into her. She reaches her sweetest end first, as he intends it, and he follows very soon after, spilling hotly into her, his gaze dancing with some interior flame of passion and dominion as he pumps his seed into the chalice of her womb.
They huff and nestle into one another, kissing, murmuring tender pledges. When he has recovered his mind, and is stroking her silken hair, he says to her, “I must get you away from her—from her.” As she protests, “We can do it! Please, my love, my Persinette, I cannot live without you.”
“It is not to be,” she affirms sadly, and he makes the decision not to argue more tonight, but to plan. And he will propose a strategy to her, when he returns, that she cannot refuse.
The next night, she is proud once more, and her chatty self; he is certainly glad to see it, allowing for the fact that she had nearly been trembling as he had left that morning, anxious over his insistence at rescue. They consort once more, and she proves that she has fire in her once more, telling him that she desire him to take her from behind, which he does, their naked, damp flesh slapping together as he pounds into her, his groin pressing into her round backside, lapping at the trickling sweat as it rolled down her back and gathered at the small of her back. He gazes feverishly, mesmerized, as she strokes herself when they are finished, offering her fingers up to his mouth for his tongue to take licks of, to kiss.
And she is excited by his plan now, perching on his chest as he lies on his back, urging him to tell her all, biting at her lip eagerly, impatiently. He is heartened by her enthusiasm, but perhaps a bit confused. He vows to return once more, and now he will bring his fathers men, and scaffolding to carry her down. They will kill Gothelle, the witch, and he will take her to wed; she will be princess of all, his beloved bride. They kiss, sealing this pact, and there is mischief in her eyes.
He never makes it back to the palace; for the first time since he began observing her, he falls to sleep during the day. He sees the witch ascend, but is slumbering when she leaves. He approaches the tower carefully, calling for her. “Persinette, my sweet!” He waits.
“I am here, my love.” Her voice trembles a bit, and he can hear the delicious anticipation. “A moment.” And her hair comes tumbling down. He climbs, but is confused when he reaches the top by what he finds: The braid is not attached to his lover, but sits in the hook in the window stone without an owner. The end of it shows where it attaches easily, plaiting into her own hair. Well, he thinks a moment, that makes sense; he always has wondered how she can make it about with her flowing hair always dragging behind her. He does not comprehend why she has kept it a secret.
It does not occur to him until he glides into the darkened chamber: She could have easily climbed down with him a week ago, if she so chose, with the witch never being any the wiser. “Persinette, I don’t understa—” he begins, but is stunned in his tracks. There are two women, identical, standing before him, both his darling Persinette. Twins. One standing tall and proud, the other fidgeting, guilty.
And it dawns upon him: He has been with each of them. He sees it now with almost shocking clarity: One would remove the braid and cloak herself in black, climbing down the plait to do… whatever it is she did during the nighttime when not confined to the tower with no doors and one window. The other waits. “But… why?” he asks, the only thing that comes to mind.
“I cannot leave,” the aloof one, Gothelle, says, tipping her chin up with a smirk, “not completely. I am bound here, by her white magic. So I must lure scrumptious men such as you to me.”
“I ought never have let you up,” the other, Persinette, says with a sigh, chewing at her thumb nervously.
“No matter,” Gothelle groans in delight, her eyes rolling up into her head until only the whites were showing, pure rapture seizing hold of her. “He is mine now, he came to us willingly! And now I want to play!” Avaricious, he thinks, predatory, ravenous. What she wants with him, what ends her rapaciousness serve, he does not know until he his led down a hidden spiral stair, to the dungeon of the tower with one window and no doors. There are other men there, long dead. Drained husks.
The two girls urge him to a bed, even more sumptuous than the one upstairs, but not as extravagant. There are shackles, and the two girls secure him, stripping his clothes, running their hands over his body, feeding him strawberries and cream, urging him to lap it from their naked bodies. He is lost now, the spell complete; he is unafraid, because he is bewitched, and he understands the astonishing, enormous, unceasing pleasures to come, and the price he must pay for it. Their bodies join, a wicked union, unrelenting.