Once far away and long ago a dutiful young servant girl, scarcely 9 years of age, polished the silver candelabra in the music room. Molly, for that was the servant girl’s name, couldn’t help but hear the story being told by the governess to the young master and young mistress of the manor. For there they were, the three of them, seated near the music room’s fireplace. They noticed Molly not at all. To them she was an invisible cleaning service. But the invisible cleaning service had ears. And what’s more, she had dreams.
‘And the Golden Ribbon brought them wealth and happiness beyond their wildest desires,’ said the governess, concluding the story.
Later that night in her tiny attic room, Molly, instead of sleeping, gathered all her belongings and placed them in the tiny pocket of her apron. I’ll find that Golden Ribbon, she thought. And without a moment’s delay, she crept down the steep narrow winding back stairway and flashed out and away under the light of a fat pale moon.
By the time she was 12, Molly had known forests, villages, lakes, fields, valleys, and mountains. She lived by her wits and cleaning skills, but whenever she inquired of a jester or a miller or a blacksmith or a baker or a seamstress about the Golden Ribbon, shrugs and ‘Never heard of it, dearie’ and ‘That be a true stumper to me, missy’ were all she received in reply.
One day it so happened, fair and true, that she came to the edge of a great wide river. The sun was sinking, and Molly’s jaw dropped when she saw a golden ribbon fall sparkling across the water. She sat down heavily.
‘The Golden Ribbon,’ she murmured.
‘That it is, to be sure,’ said a soft musical voice.
Molly turned, and there was the smiling Magic River Queen in all of her sparkling splendor.
‘Come with me,’ said the Queen with a reach of her delicate pale green hand, ‘and I will bring you wealth and happiness beyond your wildest desires.’
For Molly in her long happy life, it turned out to be a promise well kept.