from the Collection «Heart of the West»
In a small town called Fredericksburg, a young girl named Lena worked tirelessly at the Quarrymen's Hotel. At only eleven years old, she was responsible for a multitude of tasks, including scrubbing floors, washing dishes, and tending to the needs of the hotel's guests.
Lena found solace in her book of Grimm's Fairy Tales, which she read every night before bed. However, one day, the hotel owner, Mrs. Maloney, took the book away, claiming it was a distraction.
Feeling overwhelmed and desperate, Lena wrote a letter to her mother, explaining her situation and threatening to drown herself if she wasn't brought home.
Dear mamma, I shall tell you what I am going to do. Unless you send for me to-morrow to bring me home I shall go to a deep place I know in the river and drown.
She gave the letter to a fellow worker, Tommy Ryan, who promised to mail it for her. Meanwhile, a group of outlaws led by Hondo Bill held up the mail carrier, Fritz, and forced him to read Lena's letter aloud.
Touched by her story, the outlaws decided to rescue Lena from her miserable life at the hotel.
The outlaws stormed the hotel, causing chaos and scaring off the other workers. They found Lena and wrapped her in bedclothes before carrying her away on horseback. Lena believed that her rescuer was a prince, just like in her beloved fairy tales.
The Prince brought me. I always knew he would come.
The outlaws then returned Lena to Fritz's mail wagon, where she slept until she was reunited with her overjoyed family in Fredericksburg.
Despite the bizarre circumstances, Lena maintained that a prince had saved her, and the townspeople were never able to convince her otherwise.