One night Laura had a dream. She was in a forest where the trees grew thick and close together so that there was hardly any light. Near to Laura were her parents and her brother and sisters and there seemed to be a lot of other people in the forest too. But it was hard to find them because there were no paths and the trees grew so thickly.
Surrounding the forest was a great high wall so that no one could get out except by the gate. Through the gate, Laura could see what looked like a beautiful garden. Flowers of many different colours were growing in order and profusion. Delicious smells wafted over the wall from the fruit trees in blossom and she could hear the sound of the clear refreshing stream which flowed through the garden.
But the gate was guarded by a castle which was the home of an evil giant. He was the enemy both of the people in the forest and of the gardener and he was determined to stop anyone passing through the gate. Just to look into his face made Laura tremble and he carried in his hands a huge club stained with the blood of his victims.
There was no way to escape into the garden except through the gate and it seemed as if Laura and her family must stay in the forest for ever. But then a stranger appeared dressed in armour and carrying a shield and a drawn sword. His face was scarred and sad as if he had been in many fights and taken many blows and Laura wondered if this tired-looking soldier could ever fight his way through.
As the stranger reached the gate, the giant appeared from his castle, carrying his huge club in his hand. He struck at the soldier, bringing him to his knees, and Laura thought he must be defeated straight away. But the soldier brought up his shield and parried the blows of the giant's club, drawing his sword and thrusting it into his legs and body. On and on the battle went, looking at every moment as if the brave soldier must be killed. But the giant was also growing weaker, until at last with his final effort the stranger brought the giant crashing down and both lay dead in the gateway.
Then something strange and very wonderful began to take place. The soldier's torn and bloodstained battledress disappeared to be replaced by a robe a dazzling white. His damaged sword grew long and stright and began to blaze with fire. As Laura watched, the stranger rose to his feet and stood tall and strong, the new guardian of the gateway.
She looked into his face and it was still scarred and sad, but now it had a new expression and Laura knew she was looking into the face of a king. Then for the first time, the king spoke. "All who wish may enter," he said and his voice seemed to come from far away and ring all around the forest. Laura realised that the terror of the evil giant had gone, and yet she was still afraid. The bloodstained club had disappeared, but in its place was the flaming sword.
Then she looked at the stranger again, and this time he was looking at her. "All who wish may enter," he repeated. His voice was gentle and inviting and on his face was an expression of love. So, trembling, Laura took his hand and her champion led her through gate and into the garden.