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The music stopped, and the room fell quiet as death. She made a profound curtsey, and the son, who seemed a prince next to the local boys, begged her hand for a dance.

His father looked on. He could not take his eyes off her, and he whispered to his wife as they danced that it was many a long day since he had seen anyone so beautiful and charming*. She dug her nails into his back until it bled.

As midnight approached, the young man looked at the girl and said, "You will return tomorrow." He turned to the crowd and said, "You will all return tomorrow." And so it was.

And the scene repeated itself precisely, except that everyone felt a little less surprise and the father's back, already cut, bled more easily.

After they danced the second night, however, the young man took her aside, out of view of the company. "You fascinate me," he said. "What can I do for you? What is it that you desire?"

The clock struck, she looked around, she nearly forgot herself. "I only want--." She recomposed herself and ran, leaving of course one slipper. He knew she would be his wife. He took the slipper and set out to find her.

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