The rain continued into morning, and was still falling as the Princess ate a rather bland breakfast of oatmeal.
"We've all been there, at some point in our lives," said the Old Woman once the Princess had eaten her last bite.
"What do you mean?" she asked, sliding her bowl into the middle of the table.
"I mean we've all been held prisoner. Maybe not all of us have been held in a fancy tower like you, but the heart of it is the same." The Old Woman sewed an item of dark cloth as she spoke. Her hands resembled the roots of a tree, mottled with age and knuckles swollen by years of hard work, but they held the sewing needle firmly and they moved with sure gracefullness at each stitch.
The Princess watched the Old Woman's motions for several stitches before asking, "What's at the heart of it?"
The word had been spoken firmly, but without malice. Still it took the Princesses by surprise and she blinked 3 times in quick succession. "Fear of what?"
"Fear is fear." The Old Woman smiled gently. "Mine was fear of being alone...to the point where I wouldn't let my husband out of my site the first five years we were married. I'm surprised he put up with it that long. We each have different fears, but like I said..."
"Fear is fear," replied the Princess. "I was so afraid of rejection and of being abandoned that when I found a people who accepted me - I let them put me in the tower to keep me."
The Old Woman just sewed.
"What happened with your husband?" the Princess asked.
"He left me."
"My fear was so great, that it drove him away. My fear gave me the very thing I was afraid of."
"And it was then that I realized that being alone is nothing to be afraid of. Because I am never truly alone."
"The battle you face now, Princess, is going to be harder than climbing out of the tower. It's going to be getting the tower out of you."