Let no man put asunder.
And so it came to pass that Gretel and Spejbl were to be married, and a glorious day it was to be.
Spejbl had long sought his true love. He had waited, patiently, for the right girl, biding his time and moving to the time of the unseen hands: directed this way and that by the constant tugging of his strings. He had waited as days turned into weeks and months and years, and wondered if he would ever meet the one for him, the one who would understand that beneath his clownish exterior lay a true, loyal heart that would never waver in its devotion. He had almost given up all hope when quite by chance one day he happened upon Gretel, and he knew almost at once that she was the girl for him.
Gretel, for her part, had also tired of the constant dance, of the perpetual, pre-ordained rituals of courtship: one step forward followed by two steps back. Her good looks had brought many suitors, but most were not what they seemed. Sometimes they were dull; sometimes they were unkind; and sometimes they were both. She longed for one who would see below her brightly-painted surface and delicately-carved features to the warm and gentle soul locked inside her wooden body. And she too had almost given up hope when she by chance happened on Spebjl, and she knew almost at once that he was the boy for her.
And so the great day came, and there was much excitement among the friends and family who gathered. For when puppets marry, they lose their strings: no longer must they follow directives from above, but they may choose their own path together. So the assembled congregation were eager to see Gretel and Spejbl tied in matrimony, and there was much hubbub as they waited in the highest chamber of the hilltop castle for the ceremony to begin.
In the event, Spejbl, though nervous, acquitted himself admirably. Gretel, for her part, was a beautiful bride, and there was a rising murmur of approval as they exchanged their vows and their strings came tumbling down. Free at last, the couple led the way down the winding stairs of the castle to the great green outside. But suddenly a terrible thing happened: a great wind blew up and, before anyone could move to intervene, Gretel, untethered, was blown away across the moors, never to be seen again.
And so Spebjl was left, alone and afraid, on the hill. The congregation called to him, to come away from the dangerous edge, to return to them. But without his bride, and without his strings, he could not move an inch. ##