The Yellow Fairy Book
Part 2 out of 7
'That's all right,' said he; 'two have had their share!' And
lifting the remaining leaves up, he laid them on the dish and
brought them to the maiden.
'I am bringing you the delicious food my own self,' he said, 'so
that you need not wait any longer.'
Then she ate, and, as the others had done, she at once lost her
human form, and ran as a donkey into the yard.
When the Hunter had washed his face, so that the changed ones
might know him, he went into the yard, saying, 'Now you shall
receive a reward for your faithlessness.'
He tied them all three with a rope, and drove them away till he
came to a mill. He knocked at the window, and the miller put his
head out and asked what he wanted.
'I have three tiresome animals,' he answered, 'which I don't want
to keep any longer. If you will take them, give them food and
stabling, and do as I tell you with them, I will pay you as much
as you want.'
The miller replied, 'Why not? What shall I do with them?'
Then the Hunter said that to the old donkey, which was the witch,
three beatings and one meal; to the younger one, which was the
servant, one beating and three meals; and to the youngest one,
which was the maiden, no beating and three meals; for he could
not find it in his heart to let the maiden be beaten.
Then he went back into the castle, and he found there all that he
wanted. After a couple of days the miller came and said that he
must tell him that the old donkey which was to have three
beatings and only one meal had died. 'The two others,' he added,
'are certainly not dead, and get their three meals every day, but
they are so sad that they cannot last much longer.'
Then the Hunter took pity on them, laid aside his anger, and told
the miller to drive them back again. And when they came he gave
them some of the good cabbage to eat, so that they became human
again. Then the beautiful maiden fell on her knees before him,
saying, 'Oh, my dearest, forgive me the ill I have done you! My
mother compelled me to do it; it was against my will, for I love
you dearly. Your wishing-cloak is hanging in a cupboard, and as
for the bird-heart I will make a drink and give it back to you.'
But he changed his mind, and said, 'Keep it; it makes no
difference, for I will take you to be my own dear true wife.'
And the wedding was celebrated, and they lived happy together
THE LITTLE GREEN FROG
 Cabinet des Fees.
In a part of the world whose name I forget lived once upon a time
two kings, called Peridor and Diamantino. They were cousins as
well as neighbours, and both were under the protection of the
fairies; though it is only fair to say that the fairies did not
love them half so well as their wives did.
Now it often happens that as princes can generally manage to get
their own way it is harder for them to be good than it is for
common people. So it was with Peridor and Diamantino; but of the
two, the fairies declared that Diamantino was much the worst;
indeed, he behaved so badly to his wife Aglantino, that the
fairies would not allow him to live any longer; and he died,
leaving behind him a little daughter. As she was an only child,
of course this little girl was the heiress of the kingdom, but,
being still only a baby, her mother, the widow of Diamantino, was
proclaimed regent. The Queen-dowager was wise and good, and
tried her best to make her people happy. The only thing she had
to vex her was the absence of her daughter; for the fairies, for
reasons of their own, determined to bring up the little Princess
Serpentine among themselves.
As to the other King, he was really fond of his wife, Queen
Constance, but he often grieved her by his thoughtless ways, and
in order to punish him for his carelessness, the fairies caused
her to die quite suddenly. When she was gone the King felt how
much he had loved her, and his grief was so great (though he
never neglected his duties) that his subjects called him Peridor
the Sorrowful. It seems hardly possible that any man should live
like Peridor for fifteen years plunged in such depth of grief,
and most likely he would have died too if it had not been for the
The one comfort the poor King had was his son, Prince Saphir, who
was only three years old at the time of his mother's death, and
great care was given to his education. By the time he was
fifteen Saphir had learnt everything that a prince should know,
and he was, besides, charming and agreeable.
It was about this time that the fairies suddenly took fright lest
his love for his father should interfere with the plans they had
made for the young prince. So, to prevent this, they placed in a
pretty little room of which Saphir was very fond a little mirror
in a black frame, such as were often brought from Venice. The
Prince did not notice for some days that there was anything new
in the room, but at last he perceived it, and went up to look at
it more closely. What was his surprise to see reflected in the
mirror, not his own face, but that of a young girl as lovely as
the morning! And, better still, every movement of the girl, just
growing out of childhood, was also reflected in the wonderful
As might have been expected, the young Prince lost his heart
completely to the beautiful image, and it was impossible to get
him out of the room, so busy was he in watching the lovely
unknown. Certainly it was very delightful to be able to see her
whom he loved at any moment he chose, but his spirits sometimes
sank when he wondered what was to be the end of this adventure.
The magic mirror had been for about a year in the Prince's
possession, when one day a new subject of disquiet seized upon
him. As usual, he was engaged in looking at the girl, when
suddenly he thought he saw a second mirror reflected in the
first, exactly like his own, and with the same power. And in
this he was perfectly right. The young girl had only possessed
it for a short time, and neglected all her duties for the sake of
the mirror. Now it was not difficult for Saphir to guess the
reason of the change in her, nor why the new mirror was consulted
so often; but try as he would he could never see the face of the
person who was reflected in it, for the young girl's figure
always came between. All he knew was that the face was that of a
man, and this was quite enough to make him madly jealous. This
was the doing of the fairies, and we must suppose that they had
their reasons for acting as they did.
When these things happened Saphir was about eighteen years old,
and fifteen years had passed away since the death of his mother.
King Peridor had grown more and more unhappy as time went on, and
at last he fell so ill that it seemed as if his days were
numbered. He was so much beloved by his subjects that this sad
news was heard with despair by the nation, and more than all by
During his whole illness the King never spoke of anything but the
Queen, his sorrow at having grieved her, and his hope of one day
seeing her again. All the doctors and all the water-cures in the
kingdom had been tried, and nothing would do him any good. At
last he persuaded them to let him lie quietly in his room, where
no one came to trouble him.
Perhaps the worst pain he had to bear was a sort of weight on his
chest, which made it very hard for him to breathe. So he
commanded his servants to leave the windows open in order that he
might get more air. One day, when he had been left alone for a
few minutes, a bird with brilliant plumage came and fluttered
round the window, and finally rested on the sill. His feathers
were sky-blue and gold, his feet and his beak of such glittering
rubies that no one could bear to look at them, his eyes made the
brightest diamonds look dull, and on his head he wore a crown. I
cannot tell you what the crown was made of, but I am quite
certain that it was still more splendid than all the rest. As to
his voice I can say nothing about that, for the bird never sang
at all. In fact, he did nothing but gaze steadily at the King,
and as he gazed, the King felt his strength come back to him. In
a little while the bird flew into the room, still with his eyes
fixed on the King, and at every glance the strength of the sick
man became greater, till he was once more as well as he used to
be before the Queen died. Filled with joy at his cure, he tried
to seize the bird to whom he owed it all, but, swifter than a
swallow, it managed to avoid him. In vain he described the bird
to his attendants, who rushed at his first call; in vain they
sought the wonderful creature both on horse and foot, and
summoned the fowlers to their aid: the bird could nowhere be
found. The love the people bore King Peridor was so strong, and
the reward he promised was so large, that in the twinkling of an
eye every man, woman, and child had fled into the fields, and the
towns were quite empty.
All this bustle, however, ended in nothing but confusion, and,
what was worse, the King soon fell back into the same condition
as he was in before. Prince Saphir, who loved his father very
dearly, was so unhappy at this that he persuaded himself that he
might succeed where the others had failed, and at once prepared
himself for a more distant search. In spite of the opposition he
met with, he rode away, followed by his household, trusting to
chance to help him. He had formed no plan, and there was no
reason that he should choose one path more than another. His
only idea was to make straight for those spots which were the
favourite haunts of birds. But in vain he examined all the
hedges and all the thickets; in vain he questioned everyone he
met along the road. The more he sought the less he found.
At last he came to one of the largest forests in all the world,
composed entirely of cedars. But in spite of the deep shadows
cast by the wide-spreading branches of the trees, the grass
underneath was soft and green, and covered with the rarest
flowers. It seemed to Saphir that this was exactly the place
where the birds would choose to live, and he determined not to
quit the wood until he had examined it from end to end. And he
did more. He ordered some nets to be prepared and painted of the
same colours as the bird's plumage, thinking that we are all
easily caught by what is like ourselves. In this he had to help
him not only the fowlers by profession, but also his attendants,
who excelled in this art. For a man is not a courtier unless he
can do everything.
After searching as usual for nearly a whole day Prince Saphir
began to feel overcome with thirst. He was too tired to go any
farther, when happily he discovered a little way off a bubbling
fountain of the clearest water. Being an experienced traveller,
he drew from his pocket a little cup (without which no one should
ever take a journey), and was just about to dip it in the water,
when a lovely little green frog, much prettier than frogs
generally are, jumped into the cup. Far from admiring its
beauty, Saphir shook it impatiently off; but it was no good, for
quick as lightning the frog jumped back again. Saphir, who was
raging with thirst, was just about to shake it off anew, when the
little creature fixed upon him the most beautiful eyes in the
world, and said, 'I am a friend of the bird you are seeking, and
when you have quenched your thirst listen to me.'
So the Prince drank his fill, and then, by the command of the
Little Green Frog, he lay down on the grass to rest himself.
'Now,' she began, 'be sure you do exactly in every respect what I
tell you. First you must call together your attendants, and
order them to remain in a little hamlet close by until you want
them. Then go, quite alone, down a road that you will find on
your right hand, looking southwards. This road is planted all
the way with cedars of Lebanon; and after going down it a long
way you will come at last to a magnificent castle. And now,' she
went on, 'attend carefully to what I am going to say. Take this
tiny grain of sand, and put it into the ground as close as you
can to the gate of the castle. It has the virtue both of opening
the gate and also of sending to sleep all the inhabitants. Then
go at once to the stable, and pay no heed to anything except what
I tell you. Choose the handsomest of all the horses, leap
quickly on its back, and come to me as fast as you can.
Farewell, Prince; I wish you good luck,' and with these words the
Little Frog plunged into the water and disappeared.
The Prince, who felt more hopeful than he had done since he left
home, did precisely as he had been ordered. He left his
attendants in the hamlet, found the road the frog had described
to him, and followed it all alone, and at last he arrived at the
gate of the castle, which was even more splendid than he had
expected, for it was built of crystal, and all its ornaments were
of massive gold. However, he had no thoughts to spare for its
beauty, and quickly buried his grain of sand in the earth. In
one instant the gates flew open, and all the dwellers inside fell
sound asleep. Saphir flew straight to the stable, and already
had his hand on the finest horse it contained, when his eye was
caught by a suit of magnificent harness hanging up close by. It
occurred to him directly that the harness belonged to the horse,
and without ever thinking of harm (for indeed he who steals a
horse can hardly be blamed for taking his saddle), he hastily
placed it on the animal's back. Suddenly the people in the
castle became broad awake, and rushed to the stable. They flung
themselves on the Prince, seized him, and dragged him before
their lord; but, luckily for the Prince, who could only find very
lame excuses for his conduct, the lord of the castle took a fancy
to his face, and let him depart without further questions.
Very sad, and very much ashamed of himself poor Saphir crept back
to the fountain, where the Frog was awaiting him with a good
'Whom do you take me for?' she exclaimed angrily. 'Do you really
believe that it was just for the pleasure of talking that I gave
you the advice you have neglected so abominably?'
But the Prince was so deeply grieved, and apologised so very
humbly, that after some time the heart of the good little Frog
was softened, and she gave him another tiny little grain, but
instead of being sand it was now a grain of gold. She directed
him to do just as he had done before, with only this difference,
that instead of going to the stable which had been the ruin of
his hopes, he was to enter right into the castle itself, and to
glide as fast as he could down the passages till he came to a
room filled with perfume, where he would find a beautiful maiden
asleep on a bed. He was to wake the maiden instantly and carry
her off, and to be sure not to pay any heed to whatever
resistance she might make.
The Prince obeyed the Frog's orders one by one, and all went well
for this second time also. The gate opened, the inhabitants fell
sound asleep, and he walked down the passage till he found the
girl on her bed, exactly as he had been told he would. He woke
her, and begged her firmly, but politely, to follow him quickly.
After a little persuasion the maiden consented, but only on
condition that she was allowed first to put on her dress. This
sounded so reasonable and natural that it did not enter the
Prince's head to refuse her request.
But the maiden's hand had hardly touched the dress when the
palace suddenly awoke from its sleep, and the Prince was seized
and bound. He was so vexed with his own folly, and so taken
aback at the disaster, that he did not attempt to explain his
conduct, and things would have gone badly with him if his friends
the fairies had not softened the hearts of his captors, so that
they once more allowed him to leave quietly. However, what
troubled him most was the idea of having to meet the Frog who had
been his benefactress. How was he ever to appear before her with
this tale? Still, after a long struggle with himself, he made up
his mind that there was nothing else to be done, and that he
deserved whatever she might say to him. And she said a great
deal, for she had worked herself into a terrible passion; but the
Prince humbly implored her pardon, and ventured to point out that
it would have been very hard to refuse the young lady's
reasonable request. 'You must learn to do as you are told,' was
all the Frog would reply.
But poor Saphir was so unhappy, and begged so hard for
forgiveness, that at last the Frog's anger gave way, and she held
up to him a tiny diamond stone. 'Go back,' she said, 'to the
castle, and bury this little diamond close to the door. But be
careful not to return to the stable or to the bedroom; they have
proved too fatal to you. Walk straight to the garden and enter
through a portico, into a small green wood, in the midst of which
is a tree with a trunk of gold and leaves of emeralds. Perched
on this tree you will see the beautiful bird you have been
seeking so long. You must cut the branch on which it is sitting,
and bring it back to me without delay. But I warn you solemnly
that if you disobey my directions, as you have done twice before,
you have nothing more to expect either of me or anyone else.'
With these words she jumped into the water, and the Prince, who
had taken her threats much to heart, took his departure, firmly
resolved not to deserve them. He found it all just as he had
been told: the portico, the wood, the magnificent tree, and the
beautiful bird, which was sleeping soundly on one of the
branches. He speedily lopped off the branch, and though he
noticed a splendid golden cage hanging close by, which would have
been very useful for the bird to travel in, he left it alone, and
came back to the fountain, holding his breath and walking on
tip-toe all the way, for fear lest he should awake his prize.
But what was his surprise, when instead of finding the fountain
in the spot where he had left it, he saw in its place a little
rustic palace built in the best taste, and standing in the
doorway a charming maiden, at whose sight his mind seemed to give
'What! Madam!' he cried, hardly knowing what he said. 'What!
Is it you?'
The maiden blushed and answered: 'Ah, my lord, it is long since I
first beheld your face, but I did not think you had ever seen
'Oh, madam,' replied he, 'you can never guess the days and the
hours I have passed lost in admiration of you.' And after these
words they each related all the strange things that had happened,
and the more they talked the more they felt convinced of the
truth of the images they had seen in their mirrors. After some
time spent in the most tender conversation, the Prince could not
restrain himself from asking the lovely unknown by what lucky
chance she was wandering in the forest; where the fountain had
gone; and if she knew anything of the Frog to whom he owed all
his happiness, and to whom he must give up the bird, which,
somehow or other, was still sound asleep.
'Ah, my lord,' she replied, with rather an awkward air, 'as to
the Frog, she stands before you. Let me tell you my story; it is
not a long one. I know neither my country nor my parents, and
the only thing I can say for certain is that I am called
Serpentine. The fairies, who have taken care of me ever since I
was born, wished me to be in ignorance as to my family, but they
have looked after my education, and have bestowed on me endless
kindness. I have always lived in seclusion, and for the last two
years I have wished for nothing better. I had a mirror'--here
shyness and embarrassment choked her words--but regaining her
self-control, she added, 'You know that fairies insist on being
obeyed without questioning. It was they who changed the little
house you saw before you into the fountain for which you are now
asking, and, having turned me into a frog, they ordered me to say
to the first person who came to the fountain exactly what I
repeated to you. But, my lord, when you stood before me, it was
agony to my heart, filled as it was with thoughts of you, to
appear to your eyes under so monstrous a form. However, there
was no help for it, and, painful as it was, I had to submit. I
desired your success with all my soul, not only for your own
sake, but also for my own, because I could not get back my proper
shape till you had become master of the beautiful bird, though I
am quite ignorant as to your reason for seeking it.'
On this Saphir explained about the state of his father's health,
and all that has been told before.
On hearing this story Serpentine grew very sad, and her lovely
eyes filled with tears.
'Ah, my lord,' she said, 'you know nothing of me but what you
have seen in the mirror; and I, who cannot even name my parents,
learn that you are a king's son.'
In vain Saphir declared that love made them equal; Serpentine
would only reply: 'I love you too much to allow you to marry
beneath your rank. I shall be very unhappy, of course, but I
shall never alter my mind. If I do not find from the fairies
that my birth is worthy of you, then, whatever be my feelings, I
will never accept your hand.'
The conversation was at this point, and bid fair to last some
time longer, when one of the fairies appeared in her ivory car,
accompanied by a beautiful woman past her early youth. At this
moment the bird suddenly awakened, and, flying on to Saphir's
shoulder (which it never afterwards left), began fondling him as
well as a bird can do. The fairy told Serpentine that she was
quite satisfied with her conduct, and made herself very agreeable
to Saphir, whom she presented to the lady she had brought with
her, explaining that the lady was no other than his Aunt
Aglantine, widow of Diamantino.
Then they all fell into each other's arms, till the fairy mounted
her chariot, placed Aglantine by her side, and Saphir and
Serpentine on the front seat. She also sent a message to the
Prince's attendants that they might travel slowly back to the
Court of King Peridor, and that the beautiful bird had really
been found. This matter being comfortably arranged, she started
off her chariot. But in spite of the swiftness with which they
flew through the air, the time passed even quicker for Saphir and
Serpentine, who had so much to think about.
They were still quite confused with the pleasure of seeing each
other, when the chariot arrived at King Peridor's palace. He had
had himself carried to a room on the roof, where his nurses
thought that he would die at any moment. Directly the chariot
drew within sight of the castle the beautiful bird took flight,
and, making straight for the dying King, at once cured him of his
sickness. Then she resumed her natural shape, and he found that
the bird was no other than the Queen Constance, whom he had long
believed to be dead. Peridor was rejoiced to embrace his wife
and his son once more, and with the help of the fairies began to
make preparations for the marriage of Saphir and Serpentine, who
turned out to be the daughter of Aglantine and Diamantino, and as
much a princess as he was a prince. The people of the kingdom
were delighted, and everybody lived happy and contented to the
end of their lives.
THE SEVEN-HEADED SERPENT
 'Die Siebenkopfige Schlange,' from Schmidt's Griechische
Once upon a time there was a king who determined to take a long
voyage. He assembled his fleet and all the seamen, and set out.
They went straight on night and day, until they came to an island
which was covered with large trees, and under every tree lay a
lion. As soon as the King had landed his men, the lions all rose
up together and tried to devour them. After a long battle they
managed to overcome the wild beasts, but the greater number of
the men were killed. Those who remained alive now went on
through the forest and found on the other side of it a beautiful
garden, in which all the plants of the world flourished together.
There were also in the garden three springs: the first flowed
with silver, the second with gold, and the third with pearls.
The men unbuckled their knapsacks and filled them with those
precious things. In the middle of the garden they found a large
lake, and when they reached the edge of it the Lake began to
speak, and said to them, 'What men are you, and what brings you
here? Are you come to visit our king?' But they were too much
frightened to answer.
Then the Lake said, 'You do well to be afraid, for it is at your
peril that you are come hither. Our king, who has seven heads,
is now asleep, but in a few minutes he will wake up and come to
me to take his bath! Woe to anyone who meets him in the garden,
for it is impossible to escape from him. This is what you must
do if you wish to save your lives. Take off your clothes and
spread them on the path which leads from here to the castle. The
King will then glide over something soft, which he likes very
much, and he will be so pleased with that that he will not devour
you. He will give you some punishment, but then he will let you
The men did as the Lake advised them, and waited for a time. At
noon the earth began to quake, and opened in many places, and out
of the openings appeared lions, tigers, and other wild beasts,
which surrounded the castle, and thousands and thousands of
beasts came out of the castle following their king, the
Seven-headed Serpent. The Serpent glided over the clothes which
were spread for him, came to the Lake, and asked it who had
strewed those soft things on the path? The Lake answered that it
had been done by people who had come to do him homage. The King
commanded that the men should be brought before him. They came
humbly on their knees, and in a few words told him their story.
Then he spoke to them with a mighty and terrible voice, and said,
'Because you have dared to come here, I lay upon you the
punishment. Every year you must bring me from among your people
twelve youths and twelve maidens, that I may devour them. If you
do not do this, I will destroy your whole nation.'
Then he desired one of his beasts to show the men the way out of
the garden, and dismissed them. They then left the island and
went back to their own country, where they related what had
happened to them. Soon the time came round when the king of the
beasts would expect the youths and maidens to be brought to him.
The King therefore issued a proclamation inviting twelve youths
and twelve maidens to offer themselves up to save their country;
and immediately many young people, far more than enough, hastened
to do so. A new ship was built, and set with black sails, and in
it the youths and maidens who were appointed for the king of the
beasts embarked and set out for his country. When they arrived
there they went at once to the Lake, and this time the lions did
not stir, nor did the springs flow, and neither did the Lake
speak. So they waited then, and it was not long before the earth
quaked even more terribly than the first time. The Seven-headed
Serpent came without his train of beasts, saw his prey waiting
for him, and devoured it at one mouthful. Then the ship's crew
returned home, and the same thing happened yearly until many
years had passed.
Now the King of this unhappy country was growing old, and so was
the Queen, and they had no children. One day the Queen was
sitting at the window weeping bitterly because she was childless,
and knew that the crown would therefore pass to strangers after
the King's death. Suddenly a little old woman appeared before
her, holding an apple in her hand, and said, 'Why do you weep, my
Queen, and what makes you so unhappy?'
'Alas, good mother,' answered the Queen, 'I am unhappy because I
have no children.'
'Is that what vexes you?' said the old woman. 'Listen to me. I
am a nun from the Spinning Convent, and my mother when she
died left me this apple. Whoever eats this apple shall have a
 Convent Gnothi.
The Queen gave money to the old woman, and bought the apple from
her. Then she peeled it, ate it, and threw the rind out of the
window, and it so happened that a mare that was running loose in
the court below ate up the rind. After a time the Queen had a
little boy, and the mare also had a male foal. The boy and the
foal grew up together and loved each other like brothers. In
course of time the King died, and so did the Queen, and their
son, who was now nineteen years old, was left alone. One day,
when he and his horse were talking together, the Horse said to
him, 'Listen to me, for I love you and wish for your good and
that of the country. If you go on every year sending twelve
youths and twelve maidens to the King of the Beasts, your country
will very soon be ruined. Mount upon my back: I will take you to
a woman who can direct you how to kill the Seven-headed Serpent.'
Then the youth mounted his horse, who carried him far away to a
mountain which was hollow, for in its side was a great
underground cavern. In the cavern sat an old woman spinning.
This was the cloister of the nuns, and the old woman was the
Abbess. They all spent their time in spinning, and that is why
the convent has this name. All round the walls of the cavern
there were beds cut out of the solid rock, upon which the nuns
slept, and in the middle a light was burning. It was the duty of
the nuns to watch the light in turns, that it might never go out,
and if anyone of them let it go out the others put her to death.
As soon as the King's son saw the old Abbess spinning he threw
himself at her feet and entreated her to tell him how he could
kill the Seven-headed Serpent.
She made the youth rise, embraced him, and said, 'Know, my son,
that it is I who sent the nun to your mother and caused you to be
born, and with you the horse, with whose help you will be able to
free the world from the monster. I will tell you what you have
to do. Load your horse with cotton, and go by a secret passage
which I will show you, which is hidden from the wild beasts, to
the Serpent's palace. You will find the King asleep upon his
bed, which is all hung round with bells, and over his bed you
will see a sword hanging. With this sword only it is possible to
kill the Serpent, because even if its blade breaks a new one will
grow again for every head the monster has. Thus you will be able
to cut off all his seven heads. And this you must also do in
order to deceive the King: you must slip into his bed-chamber
very softly, and stop up all the bells which are round his bed
with cotton. Then take down the sword gently, and quickly give
the monster a blow on his tail with it. This will make him waken
up, and if he catches sight of you he will seize you. But you
must quickly cut off his first head, and then wait till the next
one comes up. Then strike it off also, and so go on till you
have cut off all his seven heads.'
The old Abbess then gave the Prince her blessing, and he set out
upon his enterprise, arrived at the Serpent's castle by following
the secret passage which she had shown him, and by carefully
attending to all her directions he happily succeeded in killing
the monster. As soon as the wild beasts heard of their king's
death, they all hastened to the castle, but the youth had long
since mounted his horse and was already far out of their reach.
They pursued him as fast as they could, but they found it
impossible to overtake him, and he reached home in safety. Thus
he freed his country from this terrible oppression.
THE GRATEFUL BEASTS
 From the Hungarian. Kletke.
There was once upon a time a man and woman who had three
fine-looking sons, but they were so poor that they had hardly
enough food for themselves, let alone their children. So the
sons determined to set out into the world and to try their luck.
Before starting their mother gave them each a loaf of bread and
her blessing, and having taken a tender farewell of her and their
father the three set forth on their travels.
The youngest of the three brothers, whose name was Ferko, was a
beautiful youth, with a splendid figure, blue eyes, fair hair,
and a complexion like milk and roses. His two brothers were as
jealous of him as they could be, for they thought that with his
good looks he would be sure to be more fortunate than they would
One day all the three were sitting resting under a tree, for the
sun was hot and they were tired of walking. Ferko fell fast
asleep, but the other two remained awake, and the eldest said to
the second brother, 'What do you say to doing our brother Ferko
some harm? He is so beautiful that everyone takes a fancy to
him, which is more than they do to us. If we could only get him
out of the way we might succeed better.'
'I quite agree with you,' answered the second brother, 'and my
advice is to eat up his loaf of bread, and then to refuse to give
him a bit of ours until he has promised to let us put out his
eyes or break his legs.'
His eldest brother was delighted with this proposal, and the two
wicked wretches seized Ferko's loaf and ate it all up, while the
poor boy was still asleep.
When he did awake he felt very hungry and turned to eat his
bread, but his brothers cried out, 'You ate your loaf in your
sleep, you glutton, and you may starve as long as you like, but
you won't get a scrap of ours.'
Ferko was at a loss to understand how he could have eaten in his
sleep, but he said nothing, and fasted all that day and the next
night. But on the following morning he was so hungry that he
burst into tears, and implored his brothers to give him a little
bit of their bread. Then the cruel creatures laughed, and
repeated what they had said the day before; but when Ferko
continued to beg and beseech them, the eldest said at last, 'If
you will let us put out one of your eyes and break one of your
legs, then we will give you a bit of our bread.'
At these words poor Ferko wept more bitterly than before, and
bore the torments of hunger till the sun was high in the heavens;
then he could stand it no longer, and he consented to allow his
left eye to be put out and his left leg to be broken. When this
was done he stretched out his hand eagerly for the piece of
bread, but his brothers gave him such a tiny scrap that the
starving youth finished it in a moment and besought them for a
But the more Ferko wept and told his brothers that he was dying
of hunger, the more they laughed and scolded him for his greed.
So he endured the pangs of starvation all that day, but when
night came his endurance gave way, and he let his right eye be
put out and his right leg broken for a second piece of bread.
After his brothers had thus successfully maimed and disfigured
him for life, they left him groaning on the ground and continued
their journey without him.
Poor Ferko ate up the scrap of bread they had left him and wept
bitterly, but no one heard him or came to his help. Night came
on, and the poor blind youth had no eyes to close, and could only
crawl along the ground, not knowing in the least where he was
going. But when the sun was once more high in the heavens, Ferko
felt the blazing heat scorch him, and sought for some cool shady
place to rest his aching limbs. He climbed to the top of a hill
and lay down in the grass, and as he thought under the shadow of
a big tree. But it was no tree he leant against, but a gallows
on which two ravens were seated. The one was saying to the other
as the weary youth lay down, 'Is there anything the least
wonderful or remarkable about this neighbourhood?'
'I should just think there was,' replied the other; 'many things
that don't exist anywhere else in the world. There is a lake
down there below us, and anyone who bathes in it, though he were
at death's door, becomes sound and well on the spot, and those
who wash their eyes with the dew on this hill become as
sharp-sighted as the eagle, even if they have been blind from
'Well,' answered the first raven, 'my eyes are in no want of this
healing bath, for, Heaven be praised, they are as good as ever
they were; but my wing has been very feeble and weak ever since
it was shot by an arrow many years ago, so let us fly at once to
the lake that I may be restored to health and strength again.'
And so they flew away.
Their words rejoiced Ferko's heart, and he waited impatiently
till evening should come and he could rub the precious dew on his
At last it began to grow dusk, and the sun sank behind the
mountains; gradually it became cooler on the hill, and the grass
grew wet with dew. Then Ferko buried his face in the ground till
his eyes were damp with dewdrops, and in a moment he saw clearer
than he had ever done in his life before. The moon was shining
brightly, and lighted him to the lake where he could bathe his
poor broken legs.
Then Ferko crawled to the edge of the lake and dipped his limbs
in the water. No sooner had he done so than his legs felt as
sound and strong as they had been before, and Ferko thanked the
kind fate that had led him to the hill where he had overheard the
ravens' conversation. He filled a bottle with the healing water,
and then continued his journey in the best of spirits.
He had not gone far before he met a wolf, who was limping
disconsolately along on three legs, and who on perceiving Ferko
began to howl dismally.
'My good friend,' said the youth, 'be of good cheer, for I can
soon heal your leg,' and with these words he poured some of the
precious water over the wolf's paw, and in a minute the animal
was springing about sound and well on all fours. The grateful
creature thanked his benefactor warmly, and promised Ferko to do
him a good turn if he should ever need it.
Ferko continued his way till he came to a ploughed field. Here
he noticed a little mouse creeping wearily along on its hind
paws, for its front paws had both been broken in a trap.
Ferko felt so sorry for the little beast that he spoke to it in
the most friendly manner, and washed its small paws with the
healing water. In a moment the mouse was sound and whole, and
after thanking the kind physician it scampered away over the
Ferko again proceeded on his journey, but he hadn't gone far
before a queen bee flew against him, trailing one wing behind
her, which had been cruelly torn in two by a big bird. Ferko
was no less willing to help her than he had been to help the wolf
and the mouse, so he poured some healing drops over the wounded
wing. On the spot the queen bee was cured, and turning to Ferko
she said, 'I am most grateful for your kindness, and shall reward
you some day.' And with these words she flew away humming,
Then Ferko wandered on for many a long day, and at length reached
a strange kingdom. Here, he thought to himself, he might as well
go straight to the palace and offer his services to the King of
the country, for he had heard that the King's daughter was as
beautiful as the day.
So he went to the royal palace, and as he entered the door the
first people he saw were his two brothers who had so shamefully
ill-treated him. They had managed to obtain places in the King's
service, and when they recognised Ferko with his eyes and legs
sound and well they were frightened to death, for they feared he
would tell the King of their conduct, and that they would be
No sooner had Ferko entered the palace than all eyes were turned
on the handsome youth, and the King's daughter herself was lost
in admiration, for she had never seen anyone so handsome in her
life before. His brothers noticed this, and envy and jealousy
were added to their fear, so much so that they determined once
more to destroy him. They went to the King and told him that
Ferko was a wicked magician, who had come to the palace with the
intention of carrying off the Princess.
Then the King had Ferko brought before him, and said, 'You are
accused of being a magician who wishes to rob me of my daughter,
and I condemn you to death; but if you can fulfil three tasks
which I shall set you to do your life shall be spared, on
condition you leave the country; but if you cannot perform what I
demand you shall be hung on the nearest tree.'
And turning to the two wicked brothers he said, 'Suggest
something for him to do; no matter how difficult, he must succeed
in it or die.'
They did not think long, but replied, 'Let him build your Majesty
in one day a more beautiful palace than this, and if he fails in
the attempt let him be hung.'
The King was pleased with this proposal, and commanded Ferko to
set to work on the following day. The two brothers were
delighted, for they thought they had now got rid of Ferko for
ever. The poor youth himself was heart-broken, and cursed the
hour he had crossed the boundary of the King's domain. As he was
wandering disconsolately about the meadows round the palace,
wondering how he could escape being put to death, a little bee
flew past, and settling on his shoulder whispered in his ear,
'What is troubling you, my kind benefactor? Can I be of any help
to you? I am the bee whose wing you healed, and would like to
show my gratitude in some way.'
Ferko recognised the queen bee, and said, 'Alas! how could you
help me? for I have been set to do a task which no one in the
whole world could do, let him be ever such a genius! To-morrow I
must build a palace more beautiful than the King's, and it must
be finished before evening.'
'Is that all?' answered the bee, 'then you may comfort yourself;
for before the sun goes down to-morrow night a palace shall be
built unlike any that King has dwelt in before. Just stay here
till I come again and tell you that it is finished.' Having said
this she flew merrily away, and Ferko, reassured by her words,
lay down on the grass and slept peacefully till the next morning.
Early on the following day the whole town was on its feet, and
everyone wondered how and where the stranger would build the
wonderful palace. The Princess alone was silent and sorrowful,
and had cried all night till her pillow was wet, so much did she
take the fate of the beautiful youth to heart.
Ferko spent the whole day in the meadows waiting the return of
the bee. And when evening was come the queen bee flew by, and
perching on his shoulder she said, 'The wonderful palace is
ready. Be of good cheer, and lead the King to the hill just
outside the city walls.' And humming gaily she flew away again.
Ferko went at once to the King and told him the palace was
finished. The whole court went out to see the wonder, and their
astonishment was great at the sight which met their eyes. A
splendid palace reared itself on the hill just outside the walls
of the city, made of the most exquisite flowers that ever grew in
mortal garden. The roof was all of crimson roses, the windows of
lilies, the walls of white carnations, the floors of glowing
auriculas and violets, the doors of gorgeous tulips and narcissi
with sunflowers for knockers, and all round hyacinths and other
sweet-smelling flowers bloomed in masses, so that the air was
perfumed far and near and enchanted all who were present.
This splendid palace had been built by the grateful queen bee,
who had summoned all the other bees in the kingdom to help her.
The King's amazement knew no bounds, and the Princess's eyes
beamed with delight as she turned them from the wonderful
building on the delighted Ferko. But the two brothers had grown
quite green with envy, and only declared the more that Ferko was
nothing but a wicked magician.
The King, although he had been surprised and astonished at the
way his commands had been carried out, was very vexed that the
stranger should escape with his life, and turning to the two
brothers he said, 'He has certainly accomplished the first task,
with the aid no doubt of his diabolical magic; but what shall we
give him to do now? Let us make it as difficult as possible, and
if he fails he shall die.'
Then the eldest brother replied, 'The corn has all been cut, but
it has not yet been put into barns; let the knave collect all the
grain in the kingdom into one big heap before to-morrow night,
and if as much as a stalk of corn is left let him be put to
The Princess grew white with terror when she heard these words;
but Ferko felt much more cheerful than he had done the first
time, and wandered out into the meadows again, wondering how he
was to get out of the difficulty. But he could think of no way
of escape. The sun sank to rest and night came on, when a little
mouse started out of the grass at Ferko's feet, and said to him,
'I'm delighted to see you, my kind benefactor; but why are you
looking so sad? Can I be of any help to you, and thus repay your
great kindness to me?'
Then Ferko recognised the mouse whose front paws he had healed,
and replied, 'Alas I how can you help me in a matter that is
beyond any human power! Before to-morrow night all the grain in
the kingdom has to be gathered into one big heap, and if as much
as a stalk of corn is wanting I must pay for it with my life.'
'Is that all?' answered the mouse; 'that needn't distress you
much. Just trust in me, and before the sun sets again you shall
hear that your task is done.' And with these words the little
creature scampered away into the fields.
Ferko, who never doubted that the mouse would be as good as its
word, lay down comforted on the soft grass and slept soundly till
next morning. The day passed slowly, and with the evening came
the little mouse and said, 'Now there is not a single stalk of
corn left in any field; they are all collected in one big heap on
the hill out there.'
Then Ferko went joyfully to the King and told him that all he
demanded had been done. And the whole Court went out to see the
wonder, and were no less astonished than they had been the first
time. For in a heap higher than the King's palace lay all the
grain of the country, and not a single stalk of corn had been
left behind in any of the fields. And how had all this been
done? The little mouse had summoned every other mouse in the
land to its help, and together they had collected all the grain
in the kingdom.
The King could not hide his amazement, but at the same time his
wrath increased, and he was more ready than ever to believe the
two brothers, who kept on repeating that Ferko was nothing more
nor less than a wicked magician. Only the beautiful Princess
rejoiced over Ferko's success, and looked on him with friendly
glances, which the youth returned.
The more the cruel King gazed on the wonder before him, the more
angry he became, for he could not, in the face of his promise,
put the stranger to death. He turned once more to the two
brothers and said, 'His diabolical magic has helped him again,
but now what third task shall we set him to do? No matter how
impossible it is, he must do it or die.'
The eldest answered quickly, 'Let him drive all the wolves of the
kingdom on to this hill before to-morrow night. If he does this
he may go free; if not he shall be hung as you have said.'
At these words the Princess burst into tears, and when the King
saw this he ordered her to be shut up in a high tower and
carefully guarded till the dangerous magician should either have
left the kingdom or been hung on the nearest tree.
Ferko wandered out into the fields again, and sat down on the
stump of a tree wondering what he should do next. Suddenly a big
wolf ran up to him, and standing still said, 'I'm very glad to
see you again, my kind benefactor. What are you thinking about
all alone by yourself? If I can help you in any way only say the
word, for I would like to give you a proof of my gratitude.'
Ferko at once recognised the wolf whose broken leg he had healed,
and told him what he had to do the following day if he wished to
escape with his life. 'But how in the world,' he added, 'am I to
collect all the wolves of the kingdom on to that hill over
'If that's all you want done,' answered the wolf, 'you needn't
worry yourself. I'll undertake the task, and you'll hear from me
again before sunset to-morrow. Keep your spirits up.' And with
these words he trotted quickly away.
Then the youth rejoiced greatly, for now he felt that his life
was safe; but he grew very sad when he thought of the beautiful
Princess, and that he would never see her again if he left the
country. He lay down once more on the grass and soon fell fast
All the next day he spent wandering about the fields, and toward
evening the wolf came running to him in a great hurry and said,
'I have collected together all the wolves in the kingdom, and
they are waiting for you in the wood. Go quickly to the King,
and tell him to go to the hill that he may see the wonder you
have done with his own eyes. Then return at once to me and get
on my back, and I will help you to drive all the wolves
Then Ferko went straight to the palace and told the King that he
was ready to perform the third task if he would come to the hill
and see it done. Ferko himself returned to the fields, and
mounting on the wolf's back he rode to the wood close by.
Quick as lightning the wolf flew round the wood, and in a minute
many hundred wolves rose up before him, increasing in number
every moment, till they could be counted by thousands. He drove
them all before him on to the hill, where the King and his whole
Court and Ferko's two brothers were standing. Only the lovely
Princess was not present, for she was shut up in her tower
The wicked brothers stamped and foamed with rage when they saw
the failure of their wicked designs. But the King was overcome
by a sudden terror when he saw the enormous pack of wolves
approaching nearer and nearer, and calling out to Ferko he said,
'Enough, enough, we don't want any more.'
But the wolf on whose back Ferko sat, said to its rider, 'Go on!
go on!' and at the same moment many more wolves ran up the hill,
howling horribly and showing their white teeth.
The King in his terror called out, 'Stop a moment; I will give
you half my kingdom if you will drive all the wolves away.' But
Ferko pretended not to hear, and drove some more thousands before
him, so that everyone quaked with horror and fear.
Then the King raised his voice again and called out, 'Stop! you
shall have my whole kingdom, if you will only drive these wolves
back to the places they came from.'
But the wolf kept on encouraging Ferko, and said, 'Go on! go
on!' So he led the wolves on, till at last they fell on the King
and on the wicked brothers, and ate them and the whole Court up
in a moment.
Then Ferko went straight to the palace and set the Princess free,
and on the same day he married her and was crowned King of the
country. And the wolves all went peacefully back to their own
homes, and Ferko and his bride lived for many years in peace and
happiness together, and were much beloved by great and small in
THE GIANTS AND THE HERD-BOY
 From the Bukowniaer. Von Wliolocki.
There was once upon a time a poor boy who had neither father nor
mother. In order to gain a living he looked after the sheep of a
great Lord. Day and night he spent out in the open fields, and
only when it was very wet and stormy did he take refuge in a
little hut on the edge of a big forest. Now one night, when he
was sitting on the grass beside his flocks, he heard not very far
from him the sound as of some one crying. He rose up and
followed the direction of the noise. To his dismay and
astonishment he found a Giant lying at the entrance of the wood;
he was about to run off as fast as his legs could carry him, when
the Giant called out: 'Don't be afraid, I won't harm you. On the
contrary, I will reward you handsomely if you will bind up my
foot. I hurt it when I was trying to root up an oak-tree.' The
Herd-boy took off his shirt, and bound up the Giant's wounded
foot with it. Then the Giant rose up and said, 'Now come and I
will reward you. We are going to celebrate a marriage to-day,
and I promise you we shall have plenty of fun. Come and enjoy
yourself, but in order that my brothers mayn't see you, put this
band round your waist and then you'll be invisible.' With these
words he handed the Herd-boy a belt, and walking on in front he
led him to a fountain where hundreds of Giants and Giantesses
were assembled preparing to hold a wedding. They danced and
played different games till midnight; then one of the Giants tore
up a plant by its roots, and all the Giants and Giantesses made
themselves so thin that they disappeared into the earth through
the hole made by the uprooting of the plant. The wounded Giant
remained behind to the last and called out, 'Herd-boy, where are
you?' 'Here I am, close to you,' was the reply. 'Touch me,' said
the Giant, 'so that you too may come with us under ground.' The
Herd-boy did as he was told, and before he could have believed it
possible he found himself in a big hall, where even the walls
were made of pure gold. Then to his astonishment he saw that the
hall was furnished with the tables and chairs that belonged to
his master. In a few minutes the company began to eat and drink.
The banquet was a very gorgeous one, and the poor youth fell to
and ate and drank lustily. When he had eaten and drunk as much
as he could he thought to himself, 'Why shouldn't I put a loaf of
bread in my pocket? I shall be glad of it to-morrow.' So he
seized a loaf when no one was looking and stowed it away under
his tunic. No sooner had he done so than the wounded Giant
limped up to him and whispered softly, 'Herd-boy, where are you?'
'Here I am,' replied the youth. 'Then hold on to me,' said the
Giant, 'so that I may lead you up above again.' So the Herd-boy
held on to the Giant, and in a few moments he found himself on
the earth once more, but the Giant had vanished. The Herd-boy
returned to his sheep, and took off the invisible belt which he
hid carefully in his bag.
The next morning the lad felt hungry, and thought he would cut
off a piece of the loaf he had carried away from the Giants'
wedding feast, and eat it. But although he tried with all his
might, he couldn't cut off the smallest piece. Then in despair
he bit the loaf, and what was his astonishment when a piece of
gold fell out of his mouth and rolled at his feet. He bit the
bread a second and third time, and each time a piece of gold fell
out of his mouth; but the bread remained untouched. The Herd-boy
was very much delighted over his stroke of good fortune, and,
hiding the magic loaf in his bag, he hurried off to the nearest
village to buy himself something to eat, and then returned to his
Now the Lord whose sheep the Herd-boy looked after had a very
lovely daughter, who always smiled and nodded to the youth when
she walked with her father in his fields. For a long time the
Herd-boy had made up his mind to prepare a surprise for this
beautiful creature on her birthday. So when the day approached
he put on his invisible belt, took a sack of gold pieces with
him, and slipping into her room in the middle of the night, he
placed the bag of gold beside her bed and returned to his sheep.
The girl's joy was great, and so was her parents' next day when
they found the sack full of gold pieces. The Herd-boy was so
pleased to think what pleasure he had given that the next night
he placed another bag of gold beside the girl's bed. And this he
continued to do for seven nights, and the girl and her parents
made up their minds that it must be a good Fairy who brought the
gold every night. But one night they determined to watch, and
see from their hiding place who the bringer of the sack of gold
On the eighth night a fearful storm of wind and rain came on
while the Herd-boy was on his way to bring the beautiful girl
another bag of gold. Then for the first time he noticed, just as
he reached his master's house, that he had forgotten the belt
which made him invisible. He didn't like the idea of going back
to his hut in the wind and wet, so he just stepped as he was into
the girl's room, laid the sack of gold beside her, and was
turning to leave the room, when his master confronted him and
said, 'You young rogue, so you were going to steal the gold that
a good Fairy brings every night, were you?' The Herd-boy was so
taken aback by his words, that he stood trembling before him, and
did not dare to explain his presence. Then his master spoke.
'As you have hitherto always behaved well in my service I will
not send you to prison; but leave your place instantly and never
let me see your face again.' So the Herd-boy went back to his
hut, and taking his loaf and belt with him, he went to the
nearest town. There he bought himself some fine clothes, and a
beautiful coach with four horses, hired two servants, and drove
back to his master. You may imagine how astonished he was to see
his Herd-boy returning to him in this manner! Then the youth
told him of the piece of good luck that had befallen him, and
asked him for the hand of his beautiful daughter. This was
readily granted, and the two lived in peace and happiness to the
end of their lives.
THE INVISIBLE PRINCE
Once upon a time there lived a Fairy who had power over the
earth, the sea, fire, and the air; and this Fairy had four sons.
The eldest, who was quick and lively, with a vivid imagination,
she made Lord of Fire, which was in her opinion the noblest of
all the elements. To the second son, whose wisdom and prudence
made amends for his being rather dull, she gave the government of
the earth. The third was wild and savage, and of monstrous
stature; and the Fairy, his mother, who was ashamed of his
defects, hoped to hide them by creating him King of the Seas.
The youngest, who was the slave of his passions and of a very
uncertain temper, became Prince of the Air.
Being the youngest, he was naturally his mother's favourite; but
this did not blind her to his weaknesses, and she foresaw that
some day he would suffer much pain through falling in love. So
she thought the best thing she could do was to bring him up with
a horror of women; and, to her great delight, she saw this
dislike only increased as he grew older. From his earliest
childhood he heard nothing but stories of princes who had fallen
into all sorts of troubles through love; and she drew such
terrible pictures of poor little Cupid that the young man had no
difficulty in believing that he was the root of all evil.
All the time that this wise mother could spare from filling her
son with hatred for all womenkind she passed in giving him a love
of the pleasures of the chase, which henceforth became his chief
joy. For his amusement she had made a new forest, planted with
the most splendid trees, and turned loose in it every animal that
could be found in any of the four quarters of the globe. In the
midst of this forest she built a palace which had not its equal
for beauty in the whole world, and then she considered that she
had done enough to make any prince happy.
Now it is all very well to abuse the God of Love, but a man
cannot struggle against his fate. In his secret heart the Prince
got tired of his mother's constant talk on this subject; and when
one day she quitted the palace to attend to some business,
begging him never to go beyond the grounds, he at once jumped at
the chance of disobeying her.
Left to himself the Prince soon forgot the wise counsels of his
mother, and feeling very much bored with his own company, he
ordered some of the spirits of the air to carry him to the court
of a neighbouring sovereign. This kingdom was situated in the
Island of Roses, where the climate is so delicious that the grass
is always green and the flowers always sweet. The waves, instead
of beating on the rocks, seemed to die gently on the shore;
clusters of golden bushes covered the land, and the vines were
bent low with grapes.
The King of this island had a daughter named Rosalie, who was
more lovely than any girl in the whole world. No sooner had the
eyes of the Prince of the Air rested on her than he forgot all
the terrible woes which had been prophesied to him ever since he
was born, for in one single moment the plans of years are often
upset. He instantly began to think how best to make himself
happy, and the shortest way that occurred to him was to have
Rosalie carried off by his attendant spirits.
It is easy to imagine the feelings of the King when he found that
his daughter had vanished. He wept her loss night and day, and
his only comfort was to talk over it with a young and unknown
prince, who had just arrived at the Court. Alas! he did not
know what a deep interest the stranger had in Rosalie, for he too
had seen her, and had fallen a victim to her charms.
One day the King, more sorrowful than usual, was walking sadly
along the sea-shore, when after a long silence the unknown
Prince, who was his only companion, suddenly spoke. 'There is no
evil without a remedy,' he said to the unhappy father; 'and if
you will promise me your daughter in marriage, I will undertake
to bring her back to you.'
'You are trying to soothe me by vain promises,' answered the
King. 'Did I not see her caught up into the air, in spite of
cries which would have softened the heart of any one but the
barbarian who has robbed me of her? The unfortunate girl is
pining away in some unknown land, where perhaps no foot of man
has ever trod, and I shall see her no more. But go, generous
stranger; bring back Rosalie if you can, and live happy with her
ever after in this country, of which I now declare you heir.'
Although the stranger's name and rank were unknown to Rosalie's
father, he was really the son of the King of the Golden Isle,
which had for capital a city that extended from one sea to
another. The walls, washed by the quiet waters, were covered
with gold, which made one think of the yellow sands. Above them
was a rampart of orange and lemon trees, and all the streets were
paved with gold.
The King of this beautiful island had one son, for whom a life of
adventure had been foretold at his birth. This so frightened his
father and mother that in order to comfort them a Fairy, who
happened to be present at the time, produced a little pebble
which she told them to keep for the Prince till he grew up, as by
putting it in his mouth he would become invisible, as long as he
did not try to speak, for if he did the stone would lose all its
virtue. In this way the good fairy hoped that the Prince would
be protected against all dangers.
No sooner did the Prince begin to grow out of boyhood than he
longed to see if the other countries of the world were as
splendid as the one in which he lived. So, under pretence of
visiting some small islands that belonged to his father, he set
out. But a frightful storm drove his ship on to unknown shores,
where most of his followers were put to death by the savages, and
the Prince himself only managed to escape by making use of his
magic pebble. By this means he passed through the midst of them
unseen, and wandered on till he reached the coast, where he
re-embarked on board his ship.
The first land he sighted was the Island of Roses, and he went at
once to the court of the King, Rosalie's father. The moment his
eyes beheld the Princess, he fell in love with her like everyone
He had already spent several months in this condition when the
Prince of the Air whirled her away, to the grief and despair of
every man on the island. But sad though everybody was, the
Prince of the Golden Isle was perfectly inconsolable, and he
passed both days and nights in bemoaning his loss.
'Alas!' he cried; 'shall I never see my lovely Princess again?'
Who knows where she may be, and what fairy may have her in his
keeping? I am only a man, but I am strong in my love, and I will
seek the whole world through till I find her.'
So saying, he left the court, and made ready for his journey.
He travelled many weary days without hearing a single word of the
lost Princess, till one morning, as he was walking through a
thick forest, he suddenly perceived a magnificent palace standing
at the end of a pine avenue, and his heart bounded to think that
he might be gazing on Rosalie's prison. He hastened his steps,
and quickly arrived at the gate of the palace, which was formed
of a single agate. The gate swung open to let him through, and
he next passed successively three courts, surrounded by deep
ditches filled with running water, with birds of brilliant
plumage flying about the banks. Everything around was rare and
beautiful, but the Prince scarcely raised his eyes to all these
wonders. He thought only of the Princess and where he should
find her, but in vain he opened every door and searched in every
corner; he neither saw Rosalie nor anyone else. At last there
was no place left for him to search but a little wood, which
contained in the centre a sort of hall built entirely of
orange-trees, with four small rooms opening out of the corners.
Three of these were empty except for statues and wonderful
things, but in the fourth the Invisible Prince caught sight of
Rosalie. His joy at beholding her again was, however, somewhat
lessened by seeing that the Prince of the Air was kneeling at her
feet, and pleading his own cause. But it was in vain that he
implored her to listen; she only shook her head. 'No,' was all
she would say; 'you snatched me from my father whom I loved, and
all the splendour in the world can never console me. Go! I can
never feel anything towards you but hate and contempt.' With
these words she turned away and entered her own apartments.
Unknown to herself the Invisible Prince had followed her, but
fearing to be discovered by the Princess in the presence of
others, he made up his mind to wait quietly till dark; and
employed the long hours in writing a poem to the Princess, which
he laid on the bed beside her. This done, he thought of nothing
but how best to deliver Rosalie, and he resolved to take
advantage of a visit which the Prince of the Air paid every year
to his mother and brothers in order to strike the blow.
One day Rosalie was sitting alone in her room thinking of her
troubles when she suddenly saw a pen get up from off the desk and
begin to write all by itself on a sheet of white paper. As she
did not know that it was guided by an invisible hand she was very
much astonished, and the moment that the pen had ceased to move
she instantly went over to the table, where she found some lovely
verses, telling her that another shared her distresses, whatever
they might be, and loved her with all his heart; and that he
would never rest until he had delivered her from the hands of the
man she hated. Thus encouraged, she told him all her story, and
of the arrival of a young stranger in her father's palace, whose
looks had so charmed her that since that day she had thought of
no one else. At these words the Prince could contain himself no
longer. He took the pebble from his mouth, and flung himself at
When they had got over the first rapture of meeting they began to
make plans to escape from the power of the Prince of the Air.
But this did not prove easy, for the magic stone would only serve
for one person at a time, and in order to save Rosalie the Prince
of the Golden Isle would have to expose himself to the fury of
his enemy. But Rosalie would not hear of this.
'No, Prince,' she said; 'since you are here this island no
longer feels a prison. Besides, you are under the protection of
a Fairy, who always visits your father's court at this season.
Go instantly and seek her, and when she is found implore the gift
of another stone with similar powers. Once you have that, there
will be no further difficulty in the way of escape.'
The Prince of the Air returned a few days later from his mother's
palace, but the Invisible Prince had already set out. He had,
however, entirely forgotten the road by which he had come, and
lost himself for so long in the forest, that when at last he
reached home the Fairy had already left, and, in spite of all his
grief, there was nothing for it but to wait till the Fairy's next
visit, and allow Rosalie to suffer three months longer. This
thought drove him to despair, and he had almost made up his mind
to return to the place of her captivity, when one day, as he was
strolling along an alley in the woods, he saw a huge oak open its
trunk, and out of it step two Princes in earnest conversation.
As our hero had the magic stone in his mouth they imagined
themselves alone, and did not lower their voices.
'What!' said one, 'are you always going to allow yourself to be
tormented by a passion which can never end happily, and in your
whole kingdom can you find nothing else to satisfy you?'
'What is the use,' replied the other, 'of being Prince of the
Gnomes, and having a mother who is queen over all the four
elements, if I cannot win the love of the Princess Argentine?
From the moment that I first saw her, sitting in the forest
surrounded by flowers, I have never ceased to think of her night
and day, and, although I love her, I am quite convinced that she
will never care for me. You know that I have in my palace the
cabinets of the years. In the first, great mirrors reflect the
past; in the second, we contemplate the present; in the third,
the future can be read. It was here that I fled after I had
gazed on the Princess Argentine, but instead of love I only saw
scorn and contempt. Think how great must be my devotion, when,
in spite of my fate, I still love on!'
Now the Prince of the Golden Isle was enchanted with this
conversation, for the Princess Argentine was his sister, and he
hoped, by means of her influence over the Prince of the Gnomes,
to obtain from his brother the release of Rosalie. So he
joyfully returned to his father's palace, where he found his
friend the Fairy, who at once presented him with a magic pebble
like his own. As may be imagined, he lost no time in setting out
to deliver Rosalie, and travelled so fast that he soon arrived at
the forest, in the midst of which she lay a captive. But though
he found the palace he did not find Rosalie. He hunted high and
low, but there was no sign of her, and his despair was so great
that he was ready, a thousand times over, to take his own life.
At last he remembered the conversation of the two Princes about
the cabinets of the years, and that if he could manage to reach
the oak tree, he would be certain to discover what had become of
Rosalie. Happily, he soon found out the secret of the passage
and entered the cabinet of the present, where he saw reflected in
the mirrors the unfortunate Rosalie sitting on the floor weeping
bitterly, and surrounded with genii, who never left her night or
This sight only increased the misery of the Prince, for he did
not know where the castle was, nor how to set about finding it.
However, he resolved to seek the whole world through till he came
to the right place. He began by setting sail in a favourable
wind, but his bad luck followed him even on the sea. He had
scarcely lost sight of the land when a violent storm arose, and
after several hours of beating about, the vessel was driven on to
some rocks, on which it dashed itself to bits. The Prince was
fortunate enough to be able to lay hold of a floating spar, and
contrived to keep himself afloat; and, after a long struggle with
the winds and waves, he was cast upon a strange island. But what
was his surprise, on reaching the shore, to hear sounds of the
most heartrending distress, mingled with the sweetest songs which
had ever charmed him! His curiosity was instantly roused, and he
advanced cautiously till he saw two huge dragons guarding the
gate of a wood. They were terrible indeed to look upon. Their
bodies were covered with glittering scales; their curly tails
extended far over the land; flames darted from their mouths and
noses, and their eyes would have made the bravest shudder; but as
the Prince was invisible and they did not see him, he slipped
past them into the wood. He found himself at once in a
labyrinth, and wandered about for a long time without meeting
anyone; in fact, the only sight he saw was a circle of human
hands, sticking out of the ground above the wrist, each with a
bracelet of gold, on which a name was written. The farther he
advanced in the labyrinth the more curious he became, till he was
stopped by two corpses lying in the midst of a cypress alley,
each with a scarlet cord round his neck and a bracelet on his arm
on which were engraved their own names, and those of two
The invisible Prince recognised these dead men as Kings of two
large islands near his own home, but the names of the Princesses
were unknown to him. He grieved for their unhappy fate, and at
once proceeded to bury them; but no sooner had he laid them in
their graves, than their hands started up through the earth and
remained sticking up like those of their fellows.
The Prince went on his way, thinking about this strange
adventure, when suddenly at the turn of the walk he perceived a
tall man whose face was the picture of misery, holding in his
hands a silken cord of the exact colour of those round the necks
of the dead men. A few steps further this man came up with
another as miserable to the full as he himself; they silently
embraced, and then without a word passed the cords round their
throats, and fell dead side by side. In vain the Prince rushed
to their assistance and strove to undo the cord. He could not
loosen it; so he buried them like the others and continued his
He felt, however, that great prudence was necessary, or he
himself might become the victim of some enchantment; and he was
thankful to slip past the dragons, and enter a beautiful park,
with clear streams and sweet flowers, and a crowd of men and
maidens. But he could not forget the terrible things he had
seen, and hoped eagerly for a clue to the mystery. Noticing two
young people talking together, he drew near thinking that he
might get some explanation of what puzzled him. And so he did.
'You swear,' said the Prince, 'that you will love me till you
die, but I fear your faithless heart, and I feel that I shall
soon have to seek the Fairy Despair, ruler of half this island.
She carries off the lovers who have been cast away by their
mistresses, and wish to have done with life. She places them in
a labyrinth where they are condemned to walk for ever, with a
bracelet on their arms and a cord round their necks, unless they
meet another as miserable as themselves. Then the cord is pulled
and they lie where they fall, till they are buried by the first
passer by. Terrible as this death would be,' added the Prince,
'it would be sweeter than life if I had lost your love.'
The sight of all these happy lovers only made the Prince grieve
the more, and he wandered along the seashore spending his days;
but one day he was sitting on a rock bewailing his fate, and the
impossibility of leaving the island, when all in a moment the sea
appeared to raise itself nearly to the skies, and the caves
echoed with hideous screams. As he looked a woman rose from the
depths of the sea, flying madly before a furious giant. The
cries she uttered softened the heart of the Prince; he took the
stone from his mouth, and drawing his sword he rushed after the
giant, so as to give the lady time to escape. But hardly had he
come within reach of the enemy, than the giant touched him with a
ring that he held in his hand, and the Prince remained immovable
where he stood. The giant then hastily rejoined his prey, and,
seizing her in his arms, he plunged her into the sea. Then he
sent some tritons to bind chains about the Prince of the Golden
Isle, and he too felt himself borne to the depths of the ocean,
and without the hope of ever again seeing the Princess.
Now the giant whom the invisible had so rashly attacked was the
Lord of the Sea, and the third son of the Queen of the Elements,
and he had touched the youth with a magic ring which enabled a
mortal to live under water. So the Prince of the Golden Isle
found, when bound in chains by the tritons, he was carried
through the homes of strange monsters and past immense seaweed
forests, till he reached a vast sandy space, surrounded by huge
rocks. On the tallest of the rocks sat the giant as on a throne.
'Rash mortal,' said he, when the Prince was dragged before him,
'you have deserved death, but you shall live only to suffer more
cruelly. Go, and add to the number of those whom it is my
pleasure to torture.'
At these words the unhappy Prince found himself tied to a rock;
but he was not alone in his misfortunes, for all round him were
chained Princes and Princesses, whom the giant had led captive.
Indeed, it was his chief delight to create a storm, in order to
add to the list of his prisoners.
As his hands were fastened, it was impossible for the Prince of
the Golden Isle to make use of his magic stone, and he passed his
nights and days dreaming of Rosalie. But at last the time came
when the giant took it into his head to amuse himself by
arranging fights between some of his captives. Lots were drawn,
and one fell upon our Prince, whose chains were immediately
loosened. The moment he was set free, he snatched up his stone,
and became invisible.
The astonishment of the giant at the sudden disappearance of the
Prince may well be imagined. He ordered all the passages to be
watched, but it was too late, for the Prince had already glided
between two rocks. He wandered for a long while through the
forests, where he met nothing but fearful monsters; he climbed
rock after rock, steered his way from tree to tree, till at
length he arrived at the edge of the sea, at the foot of a
mountain that he remembered to have seen in the cabinet of the
present, where Rosalie was held captive.
Filled with joy, he made his way to the top of the mountain which
pierced the clouds, and there he found a palace. He entered, and
in the middle of a long gallery he discovered a crystal room, in
the midst of which sat Rosalie, guarded night and day by genii.
There was no door anywhere, nor any window. At this sight the
Prince became more puzzled than ever, for he did not know how he
was to warn Rosalie of his return. Yet it broke his heart to see
her weeping from dawn till dark.
One day, as Rosalie was walking up and down her room, she was
surprised to see that the crystal which served for a wall had
grown cloudy, as if some one had breathed on it, and, what was
more, wherever she moved the brightness of the crystal always
became clouded. This was enough to cause the Princess to suspect
that her lover had returned. In order to set the Prince of the
Air's mind at rest she began by being very gracious to him, so
that when she begged that her captivity might be a little
lightened she should not be refused. At first the only favour
she asked was to be allowed to walk for one hour every day up and
down the long gallery. This was granted, and the Invisible
Prince speedily took the opportunity of handing her the stone,
which she at once slipped into her mouth. No words can paint the
fury of her captor at her disappearance. He ordered the spirits
of the air to fly through all space, and to bring back Rosalie
wherever she might be. They instantly flew off to obey his
commands, and spread themselves over the whole earth.
Meantime Rosalie and the Invisible Prince had reached, hand in
hand, a door of the gallery which led through a terrace into the
gardens. In silence they glided along, and thought themselves
already safe, when a furious monster dashed itself by accident
against Rosalie and the Invisible Prince, and in her fright she
let go his hand. No one can speak as long as he is invisible,
and besides, they knew that the spirits were all around them, and
at the slightest sound they would be recognised; so all they
could do was to feel about in the hope that their hands might
once more meet.
But, alas! the joy of liberty lasted but a short time. The
Princess, having wandered in vain up and down the forest, stopped
at last on the edge of a fountain. As she walked she wrote on
the trees: 'If ever the Prince, my lover, comes this way, let him
know that it is here I dwell, and that I sit daily on the edge of
this fountain, mingling my tears with its waters.'
These words were read by one of the genii, who repeated them to
his master. The Prince of the Air, in his turn making himself
invisible, was led to the fountain, and waited for Rosalie. When
she drew near he held out his hand, which she grasped eagerly,
taking it for that of her lover; and, seizing his opportunity,
the Prince passed a cord round her arms, and throwing off his
invisibility cried to his spirits to drag her into the lowest
It was at this moment that the Invisible Prince appeared, and at
the sight of the Prince of the Genii mounting into the air,
holding a silken cord, he guessed instantly that he was carrying
He felt so overwhelmed by despair that he thought for an instant
of putting an end to his life. 'Can I survive my misfortunes?'
he cried. 'I fancied I had come to an end of my troubles, and
now they are worse than ever. What will become of me? Never can
I discover the place where this monster will hide Rosalie.'
The unhappy youth had determined to let himself die, and indeed
his sorrow alone was enough to kill him, when the thought that by
means of the cabinets of the years he might find out where the
Princess was imprisoned, gave him a little ray of comfort. So he
continued to walk on through the forest, and after some hours he
arrived at the gate of a temple, guarded by two huge lions.
Being invisible, he was able to enter unharmed. In the middle of
the temple was an altar, on which lay a book, and behind the
altar hung a great curtain. The Prince approached the altar and
opened the book, which contained the names of all the lovers in
the world: and in it he read that Rosalie had been carried off by
the Prince of the Air to an abyss which had no entrance except
the one that lay by way of the Fountain of Gold.
Now, as the Prince had not the smallest idea where this fountain
was to be found, it might be thought that he was not much nearer
Rosalie than before. This was not, however, the view taken by
'Though every step that I take may perhaps lead me further from
her,' he said to himself, 'I am still thankful to know that she
is alive somewhere.'
On leaving the temple the Invisible Prince saw six paths lying
before him, each of which led through the wood. He was
hesitating which to choose, when he suddenly beheld two people
coming towards him, down the track which lay most to his right.
They turned out to be the Prince Gnome and his friend, and the
sudden desire to get some news of his sister, Princess Argentine,
caused the Invisible Prince to follow them and to listen to their
'Do you think,' the Prince Gnome was saying, 'do you think that I
would not break my chains if I could? I know that the Princess
Argentine will never love me, yet each day I feel her dearer
still. And as if this were not enough, I have the horror of
feeling that she probably loves another. So I have resolved to
put myself out of my pain by means of the Golden Fountain. A
single drop of its water falling on the sand around will trace
the name of my rival in her heart. I dread the test, and yet
this very dread convinces me of my misfortune.'
It may be imagined that after listening to these words the
Invisible Prince followed Prince Gnome like his shadow, and after
walking some time they arrived at the Golden Fountain. The
unhappy lover stooped down with a sigh, and dipping his finger in
the water let fall a drop on the sand. It instantly wrote the
name of Prince Flame, his brother. The shock of this discovery
was so real, that Prince Gnome sank fainting into the arms of his
Meanwhile the Invisible Prince was turning over in his mind how
he could best deliver Rosalie. As, since he had been touched by
the Giant's ring, he had the power to live in the water as well
as on land, he at once dived into the fountain. He perceived in
one corner a door leading into the mountain, and at the foot of
the mountain was a high rock on which was fixed an iron ring with
a cord attached. The Prince promptly guessed that the cord was
used to chain the Princess, and drew his sword and cut it. In a
moment he felt the Princess's hand in his, for she had always
kept her magic pebble in her mouth, in spite of the prayers and
entreaties of the Prince of the Air to make herself visible.
So hand in hand the invisible Prince and Rosalie crossed the
mountain; but as the Princess had no power of living under water,
she could not pass the Golden Fountain. Speechless and invisible
they clung together on the brink, trembling at the frightful
tempest the Prince of the Air had raised in his fury. The storm
had already lasted many days when tremendous heat began to make
itself felt. The lightning flashed, the thunder rattled, fire
bolts fell from heaven, burning up the forests and even the
fields of corn. In one instant the very streams were dried up,
and the Prince, seizing his opportunity, carried the Princess
over the Golden Fountain.
It took them a long time still to reach the Golden Isle, but at
last they got there, and we may be quite sure they never wanted
to leave it any more.
 From the Polish. Kletke.
Once upon a time there were three Princesses who were all three
young and beautiful; but the youngest, although she was not
fairer than the other two, was the most loveable of them all.
About half a mile from the palace in which they lived there stood
a castle, which was uninhabited and almost a ruin, but the garden
which surrounded it was a mass of blooming flowers, and in this
garden the youngest Princess used often to walk.
One day when she was pacing to and fro under the lime trees, a
black crow hopped out of a rose-bush in front of her. The poor
beast was all torn and bleeding, and the kind little Princess was
quite unhappy about it. When the crow saw this it turned to her
'I am not really a black crow, but an enchanted Prince, who has
been doomed to spend his youth in misery. If you only liked,
Princess, you could save me. But you would have to say good-bye
to all your own people and come and be my constant companion in
this ruined castle. There is one habitable room in it, in which
there is a golden bed; there you will have to live all by
yourself, and don't forget that whatever you may see or hear in
the night you must not scream out, for if you give as much as a
single cry my sufferings will be doubled.'
The good-natured Princess at once left her home and her family
and hurried to the ruined castle, and took possession of the room
with the golden bed.
When night approached she lay down, but though she shut her eyes
tight sleep would not come. At midnight she heard to her great
horror some one coming along the passage, and in a minute her
door was flung wide open and a troop of strange beings entered
the room. They at once proceeded to light a fire in the huge
fireplace; then they placed a great cauldron of boiling water on
it. When they had done this, they approached the bed on which
the trembling girl lay, and, screaming and yelling all the time,
they dragged her towards the cauldron. She nearly died with
fright, but she never uttered a sound. Then of a sudden the cock
crew, and all the evil spirits vanished.
At the same moment the crow appeared and hopped all round the
room with joy. It thanked the Princess most heartily for her
goodness, and said that its sufferings had already been greatly
Now one of the Princess's elder sisters, who was very
inquisitive, had found out about everything, and went to pay her
youngest sister a visit in the ruined castle. She implored her
so urgently to let her spend the night with her in the golden
bed, that at last the good-natured little Princess consented.
But at midnight, when the odd folk appeared, the elder sister
screamed with terror, and from this time on the youngest Princess
insisted always on keeping watch alone.
So she lived in solitude all the daytime, and at night she would
have been frightened, had she not been so brave; but every day
the crow came and thanked her for her endurance, and assured her
that his sufferings were far less than they had been.
And so two years passed away, when one day the crow came to the
Princess and said: 'In another year I shall be freed from the
spell I am under at present, because then the seven years will be
over. But before I can resume my natural form, and take
possession of the belongings of my forefathers, you must go out
into the world and take service as a maidservant.'
The young Princess consented at once, and for a whole year she
served as a maid; but in spite of her youth and beauty she was
very badly treated, and suffered many things. One evening, when
she was spinning flax, and had worked her little white hands
weary, she heard a rustling beside her and a cry of joy. Then
she saw a handsome youth standing beside her; who knelt down at
her feet and kissed the little weary white hands.
'I am the Prince,' he said, 'who you in your goodness, when I was
wandering about in the shape of a black crow, freed from the most
awful torments. Come now to my castle with me, and let us live
there happily together.'
So they went to the castle where they had both endured so much.
But when they reached it, it was difficult to believe that it was
the same, for it had all been rebuilt and done up again. And
there they lived for a hundred years, a hundred years of joy and
HOW SIX MEN TRAVELLED THROUGH THE WIDE WORLD
There was once upon a time a man who understood all sorts of
arts; he served in the war, and bore himself bravely and well;
but when the war was over, he got his discharge, and set out on
his travels with three farthings of his pay in his pocket.
'Wait,' he said; 'that does not please me; only let me find the
right people, and the King shall yet give me all the treasures of
his kingdom.' He strode angrily into the forest, and there he
saw a man standing who had uprooted six trees as if they were
straws. He said to him, 'Will you be my servant and travel with
'Yes,' he answered; 'but first of all I will take this little
bundle of sticks home to my mother,' and he took one of the trees
and wound it round the other five, raised the bundle on his
shoulders and bore it off. Then he came back and went with his
master, who said, 'We two ought to be able to travel through the
wide world!' And when they had gone a little way they came upon
a hunter, who was on his knees, his gun on his shoulder, aiming
at something. The master said to him, 'Hunter, what are you
He answered, 'Two miles from this place sits a fly on a branch of
an oak; I want to shoot out its left eye.'
'Oh, go with me,' said the man; 'if we three are together we
shall easily travel through the wide world.'
The hunter agreed and went with him, and they came to seven
windmills whose sails were going round quite fast, and yet there
was not a breath of wind, nor was a leaf moving. The man said,
'I don't know what is turning those windmills; there is not the
slightest breeze blowing.' So he walked on with his servants,
and when they had gone two miles they saw a man sitting on a
tree, holding one of his nostrils and blowing out of the other.
'Fellow, what are you puffing at up there?' asked the man.
He replied, 'Two miles from this place are standing seven
windmills; see, I am blowing to drive them round.'
'Oh, go with me,' said the man; 'if we four are together we shall
easily travel through the wide world.'
So the blower got down and went with him, and after a time they
saw a man who was standing on one leg, and had unstrapped the
other and laid it near him. Then said the master, 'You have made
yourself very comfortable to rest!'
'I am a runner,' answered he; 'and so that I shall not go too
quickly, I have unstrapped one leg; when I run with two legs, I
go faster than a bird flies.'
'Oh, go with me; if we five are together, we shall easily travel
through the wide world.' So he went with him, and, not long
afterwards, they met a man who wore a little hat, but he had it
slouched over one ear.
'Manners, manners!' said the master to him; 'don't hang your hat
over one ear; you look like a madman!'
'I dare not,' said the other, 'for if I were to put my hat on
straight, there would come such a frost that the very birds in
the sky would freeze and fall dead on the earth.'
'Oh, go with me,' said the master; 'if we six are together, we
shall easily travel through the wide world.
Now the Six came to a town in which the King had proclaimed that
whoever should run with his daughter in a race, and win, should
become her husband; but if he lost, he must lose his head. This
was reported to the man who declared he would compete, 'but,' he
said, 'I shall let my servant run for me.'
The King replied, 'Then both your heads must be staked, and your
head and his must be guaranteed for the winner.'
When this was agreed upon and settled, the man strapped on the
runner's other leg, saying to him, 'Now be nimble, and see that
we win!' It was arranged that whoever should first bring water
out of a stream a long way off, should be the victor. Then the
runner got a pitcher, and the King's daughter another, and they
began to run at the same time; but in a moment, when the King's
daughter was only just a little way off, no spectator could see
the runner, and it seemed as if the wind had whistled past. In a
short time he reached the stream, filled his pitcher with water,
and turned round again. But, half way home, a great drowsiness
came over him; he put down his pitcher, lay down, and fell
asleep. He had, however, put a horse's skull which was lying on
the ground, for his pillow, so that he should not be too
comfortable and might soon wake up.
In the meantime the King's daughter, who could also run well, as
well as an ordinary man could, reached the stream, and hastened
back with her pitcher full of water. When she saw the runner
lying there asleep, she was delighted, and said, 'My enemy is
given into my hands!' She emptied his pitcher and ran on.
Everything now would have been lost, if by good luck the hunter
had not been standing on the castle tower and had seen everything
with his sharp eyes.
'Ah,' said he, 'the King's daughter shall not overreach us;' and,
loading his gun, he shot so cleverly, that he shot away the
horse's skull from under the runner's head, without its hurting
him. Then the runner awoke, jumped up, and saw that his pitcher
was empty and the King's daughter far ahead. But he did not lose
courage, and ran back to the stream with his pitcher, filled it
once more with water, and was home ten minutes before the King's
'Look,' said he, 'I have only just exercised my legs; that was
nothing of a run.'
But the King was angry, and his daughter even more so, that she
should be carried away by a common, discharged soldier. They
consulted together how they could destroy both him and his
'Then,' said the King to her, 'I have found a way. Don't be
frightened; they shall not come home again.' He said to them,
'You must now make merry together, and eat and drink,' and he led
them into a room which had a floor of iron; the doors were also
of iron, and the windows were barred with iron. In the room was
a table spread with delicious food. The King said to them, 'Go
in and enjoy yourselves,' and as soon as they were inside he had
the doors shut and bolted. Then he made the cook come, and
ordered him to keep up a large fire under the room until the iron
was red-hot. The cook did so, and the Six sitting round the
table felt it grow very warm, and they thought this was because
of their good fare; but when the heat became still greater and
they wanted to go out, but found the doors and windows fastened,
then they knew that the King meant them harm and was trying to
'But he shall not succeed,' cried he of the little hat, 'I will
make a frost come which shall make the fire ashamed and die out!'
So he put his hat on straight, and at once there came such a
frost that all the heat disappeared and the food on the dishes
began to freeze. When a couple of hours had passed, and the King
thought they must be quite dead from the heat, he had the doors
opened and went in himself to see.
But when the doors were opened, there stood all Six, alive and
well, saying they were glad they could come out to warm
themselves, for the great cold in the room had frozen all the
food hard in the dishes. Then the King went angrily to the cook,
and scolded him, and asked him why he had not done what he was
But the cook answered, 'There is heat enough there; see for
yourself.' Then the King saw a huge fire burning under the iron
room, and understood that he could do no harm to the Six in this
way. The King now began again to think how he could free himself
from his unwelcome guests. He commanded the master to come
before him, and said, 'If you will take gold, and give up your
right to my daughter, you shall have as much as you like.'
'Oh, yes, your Majesty,' answered he, 'give me as much as my
servant can carry, and I will give up your daughter.'
The King was delighted, and the man said, 'I will come and fetch
it in fourteen days.'
Then he called all the tailors in the kingdom together, and made
them sit down for fourteen days sewing at a sack. When it was
finished, he made the strong man who had uprooted the trees take
the sack on his shoulder and go with him to the King. Then the
King said, 'What a powerful fellow that is, carrying that bale of
linen as large as a house on his shoulder!' and he was much
frightened, and thought 'What a lot of gold he will make away
with!' Then he had a ton of gold brought, which sixteen of the
strongest men had to carry; but the strong man seized it with one
hand, put it in the sack, saying, 'Why don't you bring me more?
That scarcely covers the bottom!' Then the King had to send
again and again to fetch his treasures, which the strong man
shoved into the sack, and the sack was only half full.
'Bring more,' he cried, 'these crumbs don't fill it.' So seven
thousand waggons of the gold of the whole kingdom were driven up;
these the strong man shoved into the sack, oxen and all.
'I will no longer be particular,' he said, 'and will take what
comes, so that the sack shall be full.'
When everything was put in and there was not yet enough, he said,
'I will make an end of this; it is easy to fasten a sack when it
is not full.' Then he threw it on his back and went with his
Now, when the King saw how a single man was carrying away the
wealth of the whole country he was very angry, and made his
cavalry mount and pursue the Six, and bring back the strong man
with the sack. Two regiments soon overtook them, and called to
them, 'You are prisoners! lay down the sack of gold or you shall
be cut down.'
'What do you say?' said the blower, 'we are prisoners? Before
that, you shall dance in the air!' And he held one nostril and
blew with the other at the two regiments; they were separated and
blown away in the blue sky over the mountains, one this way, and
the other that. A sergeant-major cried for mercy, saying he had
nine wounds, and was a brave fellow, and did not deserve this
disgrace. So the blower let him off, and he came down without
hurt. Then he said to him, 'Now go home to the King, and say
that if he sends any more cavalry I will blow them all into the
When the King received the message, he said, 'Let the fellows go;
they are bewitched.' Then the Six brought the treasure home,
shared it among themselves, and lived contentedly till the end of
THE WIZARD KING
 From Les fees illustres.
In very ancient times there lived a King, whose power lay not
only in the vast extent of his dominions, but also in the magic
secrets of which he was master. After spending the greater part
of his early youth in pleasure, he met a Princess of such
remarkable beauty that he at once asked her hand in marriage,
and, having obtained it, considered himself the happiest of men.
After a year's time a son was born, worthy in every way of such
distinguished parents, and much admired by the whole Court. As
soon as the Queen thought him strong enough for a journey she set
out with him secretly to visit her Fairy godmother. I said
secretly, because the Fairy had warned the Queen that the King
was a magician; and as from time immemorial there had been a
standing feud between the Fairies and the Wizards, he might not
have approved of his wife's visit.
The Fairy godmother, who took the deepest interest in all the
Queen's concerns, and who was much pleased with the little
Prince, endowed him with the power of pleasing everybody from his
cradle, as well as with a wonderful ease in learning everything
which could help to make him a perfectly accomplished Prince.
Accordingly, to the delight of his teachers, he made the most
rapid progress in his education, constantly surpassing everyone's
expectations. Before he was many years old, however, he had the
great sorrow of losing his mother, whose last words were to
advise him never to undertake anything of importance without
consulting the Fairy under whose protection she had placed him.
The Prince's grief at the death of his mother was great, but it
was nothing compared to that of the King, his father, who was
quite inconsolable for the loss of his dear wife. Neither time
nor reason seemed to lighten his sorrow, and the sight of all the
familiar faces and things about him only served to remind him of
his loss. He therefore resolved to travel for change, and by
means of his magic art was able to visit every country he came to
see under different shapes, returning every few weeks to the
place where he had left a few followers.
Having travelled from land to land in this fashion without
finding anything to rivet his attention, it occurred to him to
take the form of an eagle, and in this shape he flew across many
countries and arrived at length in a new and lovely spot, where
the air seemed filled with the scent of jessamine and orange
flowers with which the ground was thickly planted. Attracted by
the sweet perfume he flew lower, and perceived some large and
beautiful gardens filled with the rarest flowers, and with
fountains throwing up their clear waters into the air in a
hundred different shapes. A wide stream flowed through the
garden, and on it floated richly ornamented barges and gondolas
filled with people dressed in the most elegant manner and covered
In one of these barges sat the Queen of that country with her
only daughter, a maiden more beautiful than the Day Star, and
attended by the ladies of the Court. No more exquisitely lovely
mortal was ever seen than this Princess, and it needed all an
eagle's strength of sight to prevent the King being hopelessly
dazzled. He perched on the top of a large orange tree, whence he
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