The illustration for this episode of "The Lady of the Ring" can be found here.
Then, one deep dark winter’s night, those two decades of housebound, jewelled wonder came to a screeching halt. It was that screech which woke the lovely lady with a start in the middle of the night and made her sit up in bed, fearful and shocked. She stared into the cold darkness of her bedroom, instinctively standing up, pushing her feet into her thick sheepskin boots , gathering her woollen cloak around her shoulders, and racing down the stairs, along the corridor, through the french doors and into the courtyard.
She found herself standing on a smooth, crisp layer of freshly fallen snow. Her terrified eyes looked down and saw a white expanse of moonlit dust, and on it were the small imprints of a bird’s feet, which she followed, silently, intently, until she saw the two scaly legs, thin and sharp, scratch, scratch, scratching through the snow. As she slowly raised her head, she took in the thick feathered torso, the curve of the neck, and the glossy staring eye. There was the unforgiving beak, the trembling crown, and then, with a rush of air and a rustle reminiscent of the shuffling of a portentous deck of cards, the beast displayed a fan of feathers so magnificent that they brought the lovely lady, with full force, to her knees.
The lovely lady knelt there in the snow, silent, still, watching, and slowly raising her arms towards the beast as if to greet it. As she did so, she felt a painful tugging on the second finger of her left hand which forced her to squeeze her eyes shut and grimace. When she next opened her eyes the feathered beast was gone, and as she pushed herself off the ground her left hand felt strangely free, and as she brought it up before her face, she realised the fabulous, horrifying truth. The ring had departed.