THE ENCHANTED RING.
the disguise of an old woman covered with rags. She at once addressed him in these words:
"I have taken this ring from the hands of your brother, to whom I had lent it, and by its help he covered himself with glory. I now give it to you, and be careful what you do with it."
Bramintho replied with a laugh:
"I shall certainly not imitate my brother, who was foolish enough to bring back the prince instead of reigning in his place."
And he was as good as his word. The only use he made of the ring was to find out family secrets and betray them, to commit murders and every sort of wickedness, and to gain wealth for himself unlawfully. All these crimes, which could be traced to nobody, filled the people with astonishment. The king, seeing so many affairs, public and private, exposed, was at first as puzzled as any one, till Bramintho's wonderful prosperity and amazing insolence made him suspect that the enchanted ring had become his property. In order to find out the truth he bribed a stranger just arrived at court, one of a nation with whom the king was always at war, and arranged that he was to steal in the night to Braminthoand to offer him untold honors and rewards if he would betray the state secrets.
Bramintho promised everything and accepted at once the first payment of his crime, boasting that he had a ring which rendered him invisible, and that by means of it he could penetrate into the most private places. But his triumph was short. Next day he was seized by order of the king and his ring was taken from him. He was searched, and on him were found papers which proved his crimes; and though Rosimond himself came back to the court to entreat his pardon, it was refused. So Bramintho was put to death, and the ring had been even more fatal to him than it had been useful in the hands of his brother.
To console Rosimond for the fate of Bramintho, the king gave him back the enchanted ring as a pearl without price. The unhappy Rosimond did not look upon it in the same light, and the first thing he did on his return home was to seek the fairy in the woods.
"Here," he said, "is your ring. My brother's experience has made me understand many things that I did not know