Her long yellow locks flowed gracefully down her shoulders,

a lonely Maiden that she was,

she'd spend hours in her garden gazing softly onward,

clutching a bouquet of her finest picked flowers in her hand.

Her love, the fabric Merchant stood tall and lean

just a few steps outside her garden gate,

the sun would glow over him as he sold his goods to the villagers.

Oh, how she's admired him from afar for many years,

and one day she chose to approach him rather mildly.

Approaching his cart with eyes so sincere,

His donkey notices her looming forth,

and makes cheerful noises

as if she obtained something special.

"Oh hello there," the Merchant says rather nonchalantly.

The golden eyed Maiden stood anxiously before him.

Smiling sweetly, she offered the flowers

The Merchant was caught off guard, and burst out into a gauche laughter.

"I'm sorry my dear," he said, "but my love awaits me far from here and you are not her."

He took the flowers and tossed them carelessly over his broaden shoulder.

The donkey whinnied in melancholy at his owner as if he made a horrible mistake.

The Merchant ignored his animal's cry and walked off.

Many long days had passed,

The seasons had changed yet the Maiden wept heavily in her garden.

Pools of her tears had drowned all of her beautiful flowers.

One breezy day the following spring,

she saw the Merchant stroll passed her garden with his lover on his arm.

She was a dark haired girl, pale in the face with a sinister glow that haunted her eyes.

Apparently they had been wed just a day earlier.

The Maiden looked away from them.

Her heart became more broken and her tears more frequent.

One day she decided that she no longer wanted to stay in the garden.

She gathered herself up and headed towards the forest to build herself a new home.

It was just so that the Merchant's donkey was in the woods,

wandering about alone, on the same trail she was on.

The donkey recognized her and ran toward her.

When he caught her attention, he told her that his owner was in great danger.

The Maiden shook her head, trying not to listen.

The donkey continued to beg for her help,

He explained to her that the woman he married was actually a Witch in disguise.

"One who acts wicked is only damned to experience wicked itself," the Maiden sneered.

The donkey dropped his ears and wandered away full of melancholy and despair.

The Maiden felt sick in her stomach for the love she once had for the Merchant

was too strong, and while everything else in the world had changed, there was

this one thing that hadn't…

The Maiden chased after the donkey, and told him that she would help his owner.

The donkey whinnied with glee and led her to the Witch's castle.

The castle was of stone and was surrounded with an eerie glow.

The Maiden, full of boldness so strong that it defeated her shattered heart,

marched up to the gates and demanded an entrance.

An evil cackle was heard, cracking through the fogged air, butt he gates opened.

The Maiden walked in, and found the Witch seated upon a velvet chair,

mixing spells and potions.

"What brings you here, strange girl?" the wretch asked.

"I demand that you release the Merchant," the Maiden announced, "I have been told

that you are harming him."

The Witch studied the young Maiden closely. She took note on her genuineness

and her simple beauty.

"Let me lead you to my gallery," the Witch said.

"No!" protested the Maiden, "I want you to free the Merchant."

"Of course, of course" the Witch snickered, "but first, you must make a deal.

Come with me."

The Maiden followed the Witch into the gallery. There were paintings of beautiful people hung all about. They were people that have disappeared from the village.

The Maiden noticed that their eyes moved as if they were watching her.

Their expressions held grief and fear and warning.

When the Witch reached the end of her gallery, she opened up a door

which had a long, dark staircase behind it.

"Your darling Merchant is kept up there," the Witch explained,

"I forbid you to see him, but I will grant him freedom if you promise me

that you will live inside a painting for all eternity."

The Maiden didn't understand. The Witch made her turn around and look

at the lively paintings again. She realized that those people were real, and were

trapped inside their own portraits.

The Maiden sighed, and was hesitant with answering the evil old rouge.

She thought of the arrogant Merchant, whom she loved so much,

and how he was imprisoned and miserable inside the lonely tower.

Her undying love was stronger than her fear, she agreed to live as

a painting inside the Witch's gallery.

As the Witch conducted her spell over the fearless Maiden, she was so wicked that she told her that she wouldn't even tell the Merchant that it was she who saved him.

The Maiden in all her broken heart, still agreed for the Witch to continue on with the spell. And so, the Maiden became a lonely portrait, hanging in the Witch's

gallery with all of the other miserable souls of whom had to make similar sacrifices.

As the Witch guided the Merchant out of his tower, she made sure to disguise the painting of the Maiden so he wouldn't recognize it.

But as she led him past it, he noticed that the eyes of the girl in the picture were too familiar. They watched him more so than any other painting in the gallery.

Unfortunately, he didn't think too hard about it, though the image haunted him in

his dreams every night, but he still just couldn't understand

what he had lost.