There was once a poor Prince, who had a kingdom which was quite small, but still it was large enough that he could marry upon it, and that is what he wanted to do.
Now, it was certainly somewhat bold of him to say to the Emperor's daughter, ' Will you have me \ ' But he did venture it, for his name was famous far and wide : there were hundreds of Princesses who would have been glad to say yes ; but did she say so ? Well, we shall see.
On the grave of the Prince's father there grew a rose bush, a very beautiful rose bush. It bloomed only every fifth year, and even then it bore only a single rose, but what a rose that was ! It was so sweet that whoever smelt at it forgot all sorrow and trouble. And then he had a nightingale, which could sing as if all possible melodies were collected in its little throat. This rose and this nightingale the Princess was to have, and therefore they were put into great silver cases and sent to her.
The Emperor caused the presents to be carried before him into the great hall where the Princess was playing at ' visiting ' with her maids of honour (they did nothing else), and when she saw the great silver cases with the presents in them, she clapped her hands with joy.
' If it were only a little pussy-cat ! ' said she.
But then came out the splendid rose.
' Oh, how pretty it is made ! ' said all the court ladies.
' It is more than pretty,' said the Emperor, ' it is charming.'
But the Princess felt it, and then she almost began to cry.
' Fie, papa ! ' she said, ' it is not artificial, it's a natural rose !'
' Fie,' said all the court ladies, ' it 5s a natural one ! '
1 Let us first see what is in the other case before we get angry,' said the Emperor. And then the nightingale came out ; it sang so beautifully that they did not at once know what to say against it.