The Little Sister of the Giants
Once upon a time there was a little girl who was very beautiful. Her eyes were like the eyes of the gazelle; her hair hid in its soft waves the deep shadows of the night; her smile was like the sunrise. Each year as she grew older she grew also more and more beautiful. Her name was Angelita.
The little girl’s mother was dead, and her father, the image-maker, had married a second time. The step-mother was a woman who was renowned in the city for her great beauty. As her little step-daughter grew more and more lovely each day of her life she soon became jealous of the child. Each night she asked the image-maker, “Who is more beautiful, your wife or your child?”
The image-maker was a wise man and knew all too well his wife’s jealous disposition. He always responded, “You, my wife, are absolutely peerless.”
One day the image-maker suddenly died, and the step-mother and step-daughter were left alone in the world. They both mourned deeply the passing of the kind image-maker.
One day as they were leaning over the balcony two passers-by observed them, and one said to the other, “Do you notice those beautiful women in the balcony? The mother is beautiful, but the daughter is far more beautiful.” The step-mother had always been jealous of the daughter’s loveliness, but now her jealousy was fanned into a burning flame. The wise image-maker was no longer there to tell her that she was peerless.
The next day the mother and daughter again leaned over the balcony. Two soldiers passed by and one said to the other: “Do you observe those two beautiful women in the balcony? The mother is beautiful, but the daughter is far more beautiful.” The step-mother flew into a terrible rage. She now knew that it was true as she had long feared. The girl was more beautiful than she. Her jealousy knew no bounds. She seized her step-daughter roughly and shut her up in a little room in the attic.
The little room in the attic had just one tiny window high up in the wall. The window was shut, but Angelita climbed up to open it in order to get a little air.