Once upon a time there was a happy parson and his lovely young bride. Though very poor, their supreme happiness more than made up for any lack of material wealth. After just a year of marriage, they were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. Her parents murmured soft things as they nuzzled the soft and warm cheeks of their precious cherub.
But, happiness was not to last. A sinister wind, Pestilence, swept through the country. Slinking under doorjambs, slipping through cracks, and writhing up drains, Pestilence visited the house of the parson in the dark of night. With a cruel and jagged finger it touched the parson and his wife, taking their lives. Still unsatisfied, it carried away the friendless babe to the land of the fairy beasts.
There the girl-child was imprisoned in a barren cave guarded by a silver-tongued dragon. Wrapped in chains of enchanted ice, which no fire could melt, the babe slept until she reached the age of 18. Then, with a jolt she awoke and looked about her. Violently wishing to be free, she prayed for help. An angel wielding a flaming sword, labeled "Love" appeared. The angel said, "Fear not!" and breathed strength and fire into her spirit. Her bonds immediately fell to the floor. With a single thrust of the sword, the dragon was defeated. Before returning to the heavens, the angel gave the sword to the girl and said, "Keep this always for it does not fail."
For days the girl walked, trying to leave the land of the fairy beasts and return to England, the land of her birth. One day, as she stopped to rest on the side of the road, she saw a goblin prince ride by on a terrible black horse followed by a rabid hound of Hell. The goblin's black hair resembled the feathers of the raven. His fierce face was twisted into a cruel sneer. But, as he passed, she was not afraid, for she saw in his midnight eyes a spark of sadness and loneliness. She knew at once, "He is under a spell. He is but a man, lost in this land. He is not unlike myself."
At that moment the horse, breathing great bursts of fire, turned around on the road and charged toward the young girl. In a flash, the goblin prince scooped her up with one gnarled arm and held her tightly to him. "Those eyes! You are not of this world. You shall be a prisoner with me in my castle," he growled as his horse charged deep into the Black Forest.
Amidst a tangle of thorns, a crumbling castle appeared. The Goblin Prince set her down and led her to a dim parlor where a black fire burned in the hearth. Shadows menaced in every corner. Though she was frightened, the girl unsheathed her weapon. She did not hesitate to brandish the flaming sword and pierced the thick green hide of the goblin.
In anguish, the goblin cried, "My heart! What have you done? You have pierced me utterly!"
The girl had hoped that this would break the spell, but alas it failed. Wasted with sudden fatigue, the Goblin Prince sank into a chair and wept bitterly. Moved with compassion, the girl knelt at the goblin's knee and did her best to comfort him.
"I was not always as I am now," he cried. "Long ago a banshee cursed me—heart and body—binding me to eternal misery. One day, I awoke like this."
The girl grieved for the Goblin Prince and vowed to break the spell. "Then you are a sorceress?" he asked.
"I am no sorceress," the girl answered. "But, I shall do all I can to free you from this curse." She spoke to him with such sweet words as she imagined her parents had once whispered to her.
With unexpected tenderness, the goblin stroked her cheek and said, "I knew you could help. I saw it in your eyes."
Suddenly, a violent banshee, wailing her death's cry in a fury, leapt into the room. "You shall not have him! His soul is mine!"
With a fierce wail, she flew at the girl. The force of her sulfurous breath carried the girl away across the land. She fell on a soft bed of moss and looked about her. She asked a farmer walking by, "I beg of you sir, where am I? Where is the Black Forest?" The farmer looked at her as if she were a fairy herself, "Why, miss, you're in –shire. I ken not of any Black Forest in these parts."
She said to herself, "—shire? Why, then I am back in England. I have left fairy land altogether—and I have lost my sword." She asked every soul she met, "How does one get to the Black Forest in fairy land?" only to be laughed to scorn.
One night, overcome with grief for her poor Goblin Prince, she lay down on the misty moor. As the moon rose overhead, she espied two ghostly forms—a man and a woman.
"Help me!" she cried.
The ghosts looked at her curiously. The male, a dark gypsy of a spirit, said; "Only those who knew us in life or have crossed the borders into fairy land have ever sensed our presence." The female, a saucy aristocratic beauty, added, "We never knew you."
The girl related her story from birth and held back nothing. "Carry my message to the Goblin Prince in the Black Forest. Tell him I am coming!"
A longing howl echoed across the moor, "Come!" The two spirits looked at one another. The noble lady said, "We will carry your message. And, we will carry you!"
Instantly, the girl was transported back to the castle in the Black Forest. The Goblin Prince sat, in a trance, before the black flames. He was guarded by the banshee who raged at the sight of the girl. For three hours time stood still, such was the power of the banshee's screech. But Jane, remembered the strength which the angel had given her and withstood the blast. She quickly found the sword the angel had given her where it had fallen. The banshee, recognizing the sword named Love, became greatly afraid and fled from the flames of the gilded edge.
The Goblin Prince sat up and cried, "Is it you, truly?"
She reached out her hand to the Goblin Prince, unafraid. "It is I come back to carry you away from the land of fairies and brownies, banshees and dragons. Will you come?"
The Goblin Prince withdrew his hand from her touch, "I cannot. I have no place in your world."
Unabashed, she said, "Then we shall make our own world, just the two of us." Leaving behind all others, the girl took the Goblin Prince by the arm and led him through the Black Forest. While they walked his goblin shape began to fall away and he became a man once more. For a moment, as his green hide dissipated, the Goblin Prince had no discernible form but his spirit. As she looked on in wonder, the girl's eyes confirmed what her heart had already seen: their two spirits were fashioned from the same material and linked with a golden cord.