Many years passed, and the young woman sometimes wondered if dreams of a loving papa and beautiful little girl in a sparkling city might be memories. But she once caught her reflection of dirty face and matted hair in a rain puddle, and saw her tattered rags and thought of her life with the ogre, and knew her dreams could not be real.
One day a woodcutter arrived in the forest. He offered her fresh water and fed her with warm bread and asked if she wished to someday follow him to the city. She feared the plain stranger and refused him, but he returned every day with food and the same offer.
When the ogre next came by, he found her well fed and raged against the woodcutter, warning her that the strange man sought to capture her so he might shame her filth and ugliness if she went to the city. The woodcutter returned the next day, and the ogre screamed that he could not have the girl for she belonged to the forest and to himself.
The woodcutter drew a sword and a key, bargaining his life for hers with the ogre, promising the girl he would one day return and marry her if she chose to be free. The ogre received the sword with a laugh and slew the woodcutter. The girl took the bloody key from the woodcutter’s hand, while the ogre ridiculed her dead hero and any thought of being a bride.
The girl long wept for the woodcutter, until one day she drew the key and unshackled herself. The ogre appeared at once and his taunts prevented her running away from him. But each night thereafter she dreamt of the woodcutter, who stood in clothes of gleaming white and spoke kindly to her and told her of secret treasures He’d hidden for her in the forest.
The girl began to venture farther and farther away from her chains, discovering beautiful garments and perfumes and jewelry and a rushing waterfall in which to bathe. The ogre never went away or ceased to torment her, but he no longer touched her and she came to stop fearing him. In her dreams the woodcutter had become a prince, assuring her that he lived to return for her, and she believed him and dwelt with joy even in the dark forest.
Then one day the living woodcutter become prince was crowned king, and he came for her on a white horse. She did not know that she radiated beauty in her joy and cleanliness and white garments, for she'd never quite stopped thinking of herself as a dirty little girl with matted hair in rags defiled by an ogre.
But her beloved woodcutter had always seen her as she would be this day, and had loved her from the beginning.
And they lived happily ever after.
~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~
"Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
~ Revelation 19:7-8 (NKJV)
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True ... And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
~ Revelation 19:11,16 (NKJV)
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