(You can read part one from last week here.)
Just then there was a knock at the cottage door.
The Woodsman opened the door and an old woman entered. She was as ancient as the trees with her leathery skin, and stood just three feet tall. As she came in the room her dark, green cloak trailed bits of branches and tree roots behind her. She smelled of earth and moss and had a long dirty tail.
The old woman gazed around the cottage until her small, beady eyes rested on the sleeping Rose.
“The forest folk will mind your roses, but on one condition. You must promise me your daughter when she turns thirteen."
The Woodsman was at a loss without his wife and in anguish he thought to himself, “I cannot look after her. She will be better off without me.” And so he agreed.
With that the old woman disappeared into the forest as quickly as she came.
Soon it was Spring. The Woodsman went off to the forest every day to do his work, while the fairies and other forest folk minded the baby and tended to the cottage and garden. When summer arrived the red, yellow and white roses blossomed around the cottage once again and little Rose played happily in the garden alongside the animals, birds and flower fairies of the forest.
The Woodsman and his daughter lived happily in their cottage in the woods and the years passed by until one day Rose turned thirteen...