The Duke had two daughters, both of exquisite beauty and raw, brilliant intelligence to match. One daughter, Sandra, contracted a type of mummy rot and sadly perished from that dreadful disease after a long and horrible fight. The surviving daughter, Sophie, lived through the mental anguish of watching her sister fall to the disease. Afterwards the Dukes only living daughter was placed high upon a pedestal, forced to be a beacon of good and pure of heart. But Sophie would have none of it. She withdrew to a island off shore of the Grand Dutchy, which was re-named Sophie's Island after her grace. The island was filled with lovely and beautiful things, that Sophie could gaze upon and grieve of her lost sister.
As Sophie passed her days and nights on her island the citizens of Grand Dutchy wondered about her and she became a sort of legend. Sophies Island was well guarded by troops and tall towers, and no commoner could approach without certain death. But one man dared. His name was Charles and he wanted Sophie as his own.
Charles lived on the coast very close to Sophies Island, and he would watch the island and sea for hours just to get a glimpse of her beauty. He knew as a commoner he stood no chance to be with Sophie.
Time passed and Charles grew weary of the distance between them, less than a mile stood between the two. During one particularly miserable day, a small figure approached Charles at his viewing spot.
"Who are you?", asked Charles
"I am the Devil.", answered the small man.
"Oh no!", cried Charles
"Let me be perfectly honest with you.", said the Devil. "Your destiny lies on that island, it is true. You will accomplish great things and live in happiness with that beauty by the sea. This is not questioned. To reach your goal, you need my help. So I offer a bargain. I will provide you with the means with which to reach your beauty on that island. You will need to be swift and frugal and move carefully. If you fail in your task, I will take your soul. Deal?"
Charles thought for a moment. Did the Devil know more than he told? Was this the real Devil?
"How do I know you are the Devil?", asked Charles.
"The new moon, two years ago.", said the Devil.
Charles clearly remembered the night the Devil referred to. It was the night he was nearly killed in a accident. He was thrown from a horse and landed neatly on a bed of scarlet gossemer threads. The next day Charles looked for a big red spider who could have sewn the webs that broke his fall, but found nothing but the sheer drop to the rocks past the spot.
"I agree.", said Charles.
The next morning Charles awoke to a knock on the door. It was the messenger of the village and he was knocking rapidly.
"OLD MAN MARLIEV DIED", yelled the messenger.
Charles rushed to the door and opened it.
"Old Man Marliev died and left his entire estate to you. Here are the keys.....