'Because I will never tell it to anyone till it comes true,' answered the boy.
'And won't you tell it to me either?' asked the king in surprise.
'No, not even to you, your Majesty,' replied he.
'Oh, I am sure you will when we get home,' said the king smiling, and he talked to him about other things till they came to the palace.
'I have brought you such a nice present,' he said to his daughters, and as the boy was very pretty they were delighted to have him and gave him all their best toys.
'You must not spoil him,' observed the king one day, when he had been watching them playing together. He has a secret which he won't tell to anyone.'
'He will tell me,' answered the eldest princess; but the boy only shook his head.
'He will tell me,' said the second girl.
'Not I,' replied the boy.
'He will tell me,' cried the youngest, who was the prettiest too.
'I will tell nobody till it comes true,' said the boy, as he had said before; 'and I will beat anybody who asks me.'
The king was very sorry when he heard this, for he loved the boy dearly; but he thought it would never do to keep anyone near him who would not do as he was bid. So he commanded his servants to take him away and not to let him enter the palace again until he had come to his right senses.
The sword clanked loudly as the boy was led away, but the child said nothing, though he was very unhappy at being treated so badly when he had done nothing. However, the servants were very kind to him, and their children brought him fruit and all sorts of nice things, and he soon grew merry again, and lived amongst them for many years till his seventeenth birthday.