60 THE TRAVELLING COMPANION
It was quite early in the morning when John awoke. The travelling companion also got up, and said he had had a wonderful dream in the night, about the princess and her shoe ; and he therefore begged John to ask if the princess had not thought about her shoe. For it was this he had heard from the magician in the mountain.
But he would not tell John anything about that; he merely told him to ask if she had not thought about one of her shoes.
' I may just as well ask about that as about anything else,' said John. ' Perhaps it is quite right, what you have dreamed. But I will bid you farewell; for, if I guess wrong, I shall never see you more.'
Then they embraced each other, and John went into the town and to the palace. The entire hall was filled with people : the judges sat in their arm-chairs and had eiderdown pillows behind their heads, for they had a great deal to think about. The old king stood up, and wiped his eyes with a white pocket-handkerchief. Now the princess came in. She was much more beautiful than yesterday, and bowed to all in a very affable manner ; but to John she gave her hand, and said, ' Good morning to you.'
Now John was to guess what she had thought of. Oh, how lovingly she looked at him ! But as soon as she heard the single word * shoe ' pronounced, she became as white as chalk in the face, and trembled all over. But that availed her nothing, for John had guessed right!
Wonderful! How glad the old king was ! He threw a somersault beautiful to behold. And all the people clapped their hands in honour of him and of John, who had guessed right the first time !
The travelling companion beamed with delight, when he heard how well matters had gone. But John folded his hands and thanked God, who certainly would help him also the second and third time. The next day he was to guess again.
The evening passed just like that of yesterday. While John slept the travelling companion flew behind the princess out to the mountain, and beat her even- harder than the time before, for now he had taken two rods. No one saw him, and he heard everything. The princess was