By: Gail Carson Levine
If every time you spoke, a jewel fell out of your mouth, would you be happy? It all began when Rosella went to the well to fetch water. There was a thirsty old woman there, so Rosella gave her a drink. Since the woman was the fairy Ethelinda, she gave Rosella a reward. Every time Rosella spoke, a jewel fell out of her mouth. When her sister, Myrtle, saw this, she ran to the well looking for the old woman. All she saw was a knight. Since he was actually the fairy in disguise, and Myrtle treated him poorly, Myrtle was cursed. Every time she spoke, a reptile or insect fell out of her mouth. She soon learned how to use this to her advantage. If a shopkeeper didn't give her what she wanted for free, she spoke.
Meanwhile, Rosella was in the garden singing when the Prince
came. He told her he wanted to marry her. Unfortunately, it
was just for her jewels. Every time she spoke, her maids would jump
for the jewels. Then the Prince told her he wanted a new castle and
that she would have to fill five large chests with jewels. When she
tried doing this, she fainted and became very ill. Then, Myrtle switched
places with Rosella and yelled at the Prince. Also, while yelling
at the Prince, reptiles and insects came out of her mouth. That scared
the Prince. Will this affect Rosella and the Prince's relationship?
Rosella: A calm young woman who is given a reward (that turns out to be a curse) because of her kindness.
Ethelinda: A kind fairy who attempts to give Rosella a reward and to curse Myrtle.
Myrtle: An ignorant young woman. Her sister
is very kind.