THE ENCHANTED SNAKE.
appeared on the way the people fled in terror at the sight of the fearful reptile.
When the snake reached the palace all the courtiers shook and trembled with fear down to the very scullion, and the king and queen were in such a state of nervous collapse that they hid themselves in a far-away turret. Grannonia alone kept her presence of mind, and although both her father and mother implored her to fly for her life, she wouldn't move a step, saying: "I'm certainly not going to fly from the man you have chosen for my husband."
As soon as the snake saw Grannonia it wound its tail round her and kissed her. Then, leading her into a room, it shut the door, and throwing oif its skin, it changed into a beautiful young man with golden locks and flashing eyes, who embraced Grannonia tenderly and said all sorts of pretty things to her.
When the king saw the snake shut itself into a room with his daughter he said to his wife: "Heaven be merciful to our child, for I fear it is all over with her now. This cursed snake has most likely swallowed her up." Then they put their eyes to the keyhole to see what had happened.
Their amazement knew no bounds when they saw a beautiful youth standing before their daughter with the snake's skin lying on the floor beside him. In their excitement they burst open the door, and seizing the skin they threw it into the fire. But no sooner had they done this than the young man called out, "Oh, wretched people! what have you done?" and before they had time to look round he had changed himself into a dove, and dashing against the window-he broke a pane of glass and flew away from their sight.
But Grannonia, who in one and the same moment saw herself merry and sad, cheerful and despairing, rich and beggared, complained bitterly over this robbery of her happiness, this poisoning of her cup of joy, this unlucky stroke of fortune, and laid all the blame on her parents, though they assured her that they had meant no harm. But the princess refused to be comforted, and at night, when all the inhabitants of the palace were asleep, she stole out by a back door, disguised as a peasant-woman, determined" to seek for her lost happiness till she found it.