236 THE PRINCE AND THE THREE FATES
country, and after my mother died he married another wife. At first all went well, but as soon as she had babies of her own she hated me, and I fled, lest she should do me harm.'
The hearts of the other young men were touched as soon as they heard this story, and they did everything they could think of to make him forget his past sorrows.
' What are you doing here ? ' said the youth, one day.
' We spend our whole time climbing up the walls of the palace, trying to reach the windows of the princess,' answered the young men ; ' but, as yet, no one has reached within ten feet of them.'
' Oh, let me try too,' cried the prince ; ' but to-morrow I will wait and see what you do before I begin.'
So the next day he stood where he could watch the young men go up, and he noted the places on the wall that seemed most difficult, and made up his mind that when his turn came he would go up some other way.
Day after day he was to be seen watching the wooers, till, one morning, he felt that he knew the plan of the walls by heart, and took his place by the side of the others. Thanks to what he had learned from the failure of the rest, he managed to grasp one little rough projection after another, till at last, to the envy of his friends, he stood on the sill of the princess's window. Looking up from below, they saw a white hand stretched forth to draw him in.
Then one of the young men ran straight to the king's palace, and said : ' The wall has been climbed, and the prize is won !'
' By whom ? ' cried the king, starting up from his throne; ' which of the princes may I claim as my son-in-law?'
' The youth who succeeded in climbing to the princess's window is not a prince at all,' answered the young man. ' He is the son of the master of the horse to the great