This vengeance did not satisfy the queen, and she called upon the steward once more. This time she bid him to send for Talia, to tell her that the king wished to see her. Talia was delighted with the summons, and happily returned with the steward.
She did not receive the welcome she expected, and was not taken to the king, but to the queen.
The queen was mad with rage and called Talia a cheat, a devil, and a witch. Talia, now frightened, tried to leave, but the queen’s guards seized her.
They dragged her to a courtyard where a large bonfire burned, and the queen commanded that Talia be thrown into the flames. Not knowing what to do, Talia begged a moment to at least remove her clothes beforehand. The queen, noticing the expensive gown Talia wore, agreed. With each item she removed, Talia let out a piercing shriek.
The sounds of her anguish soon drew the attention of the king, who arrived just in time to prevent her from being tossed into the fire. He demanded to know what was going on, and thus learned of the deaths of Sun and Moon. Overcome with grief, the king ordered the queen and the steward to be burned on the fire that had been intended for Talia, in punishment for their crimes. He pronounced the same fate for the cook, but the man managed to explain how he had saved the children. The king was overwhelmed with gratitude at the news, and instead of killing the cook, rewarded him by offering him a position as his new steward.
The king returned, sore and still guilt-stricken, to find the queen gone. She had, the steward informed him, left. Permanently. According to the steward, she had been unable to continuing living with him, knowing what he had done to Talia. The note she had left on his pillow said much the same thing.
It was not long before the entire kingdom was aware of the scandal. The king did not mind so much that they knew, but it bothered him deeply that he was now disrespected not because of his actions towards Talia, but because he had been unable to control his wife.
The king had never wanted to be king, he did not think he was suited to the role, and now the entire kingdom agreed. If the king was honest, he was relieved. He decided to abdicate the throne in favour of his cousin, who was much more suited to the role.
Sun, Moon, and Talia were now safe. Soon the king and Talia were married, and they enjoyed a long and happy life together.
After a brief visit, Talia left Sun and Moon with their grandfather, who was overjoyed to have beautiful children in his life once more. Talia returned to her secluded mansion and transformed it into a charming bed and breakfast. Before long, she was the owner of a successful and thriving business. Frederick, who had once been a king, lived out the rest of his days as a scholar and poet. These days did not turn out to be many, for at the age of thirty-three, Frederick walked into a lake with stones in his pockets, and thus ended his own life. The king-turned-poet had lived every day with the burden of what he had done, but Talia was able to move on, not letting the horror of what had befallen her define her life.