THE ENCHANTED SNAKE. 193
"All I ask," said Grannonia, "is that should I succeed in what you desire you will give me your son in marriage."
The king, who had given up all hopes of his son's recovery, replied: "Only restore him to life and health and he shall be yours. It is only fair to give her a husband who gives me a son/'
And so they went into the prince's room. The moment Grannonia had rubbed the blood on his wounds the illness left him, and he was as sound and well as ever. When the king saw his son thus marvelously restored to life and health he turned to him and said: "My dear son, I thought of you as dead, and now, to my great joy and amazement, you are alive again. I promised this young woman if she should cure you to bestow your hand and heart on her, and seeing that Heaven has been gracious, you must fulfill the promise I made her; for gratitude alone forces me to pay this debt."
But the prince answered: "My lord and father, I would that my will were as free as my love for you is great. But as I have plighted my word to another maiden, you will see yourself, and so will this young woman, that I cannot go back from my word and be faithless to her whom I love."
When Grannonia heard these words and saw how deeply rooted the prince's love for her was she felt very happy, and blushing rosy red she said: "But should I get the other lady to give up her rights, would you then consent to marry me?"
"Far be it from me," replied the prince, "to banish the beautiful picture of my love from my heart. Whatever she may say, my heart and desire will remain the same, and though I were to lose my life for it, I couldn't consent to this exchange."
Grannonia could keep silence no longer, and throwing off her peasant's disguise she discovered herself to the prince, who was nearly beside himself with joy when he recognized his fair lady-love. He then told his father at once who she was and what she had suffered for his sake.
Then they invited the King and Queen of Starza-Longa to their court and had a great wedding-feast, and proved once more that there is no better seasoning for the joys of true love than a few pangs of grief.*