'But why must I bring back three strands of the Fairy Queen's hair?' spoke the young prince to the crone. 'Why no other number, why not two or four?' The crone leaned forward but did not halt her spinning. 'There is no other number, my child. Three is the number of family, for do we not speak of past, present and future? Three is the number of time, for do we not speak of mother, father and child? Three is the number of fairy, for do we not seek them between oak, ash and thorn?' The young prince nodded, for the wise crone spoke the truth. 'Thus must I have three strands, to weave my magic plait.'