Authors: Donna Jo Napoli
Zel looks around quickly. She sees no door into the tower. This must be the right place, but how will they get in?
Mother’s eyes glitter hard in the moonlight. She stares beyond Zel at something.
Zel spins around. The sapling walnut tree beside the tower, which was only half the height of the tower only moments ago, is growing, growing. It thickens and reaches; it grows.
Mother stands and pushes Zel. “Climb. Fast. It is the only way in. Climb!”
Fear strengthens Zel’s hands, makes her foothold sure. She goes from one thick branch to another, easily, as though this tree were made to have the branches at just the right distance apart for her legs. One branch leads directly to the wide window ledge of the tower. Zel jumps down inside and turns to help Mother into the room.
Her arms meet empty air. Mother isn’t behind her.
“Mother!” Zel climbs back onto the window ledge.
But the walnut branch already retracts. It is too far from the window for Zel to reach.
Zel screams. “Mother!”
The tree is now shrunk to its normal height.
PUFFIN BOOKS BY DONNA JO NAPOLI
The Bravest Thing
Jimmy, the Pickpocket of the Palace
The Magic Circle
The Prince of the Pond
When the Water Closes Over My Head
Donna Jo Napoli
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New Zealand
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England
First published in the United States of America by Dutton Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc., 1996
Published by Puffin Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 1998
Copyright © Donna Jo Napoli, 1996
All rights reserved
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS CATALOGED THE DUTTON EDITION AS FOLLOWS:
Napoli, Donna Jo.
Zel/by Donna Jo Napoli.—1st ed. p. cm.
Summary: Based on the fairy tale
, the story is told in alternating chapters from the point of view of Zel, her mother, and the prince, and delves into the psychological motivations of the characters.
[1. Fairy tales. 2. Mothers and daughters—Fiction.] I. Title
PZ8.N127Ze 1996 [Fic]—dc20 96-15135 CIP AC
Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
For Mamma and Marie and Elena and Eva
I thank my family first, for all the time they spent reading and listening and talking about the various versions of this story and for the many wild ways in which they gave criticism and advice. I love them all. And I thank Shannon Allen, Wendy Cholbi, Thad Guyer, Shelagh Johnston, Joel Perwin, Emily Rando, Jennifer Rosenblum, Bob Schachner, Heidrun Taillens, Louise Tilly, and Hansjacob Werlen for comments on earlier drafts. Thanks also go to the American Association of University Women for giving me a summer fellowship in 1995 to visit Switzerland and complete the research for this story.
Finally, and mostly, I thank Lucia Monfried. Acknowledgments can be deceptive because they can suggest help in the form of solid criticisms and strong encouragement. This is not the sum of what Lucia did for me on this story, nor of what she always does for me on stories. Instead, she is my partner—in there working through it all, from beginning to end, over and over and over and over. For this, she has my undying gratitude and love.