PRINCE FICKLE AND FAIR HELENA. 221
When evening drew near she stole out of the peasant's cottage secretly, and going to her hiding-place she put on her dress embroidered with the gold suns, and all her jewels, and loosed her beautiful golden hair, which up to now she had always worn under a kerchief, and adorned thus she set out for the town.
When she entered the ball-room all eyes were turned on her, and every one marveled at her beauty, but no one knew who she was. Prince Fickle, too, was quite dazzled by the charms of the beautiful maiden, and never guessed that she had once been his lown ady-love. He never left her side all night, and it was with great difficulty that Helena escaped from him in the crowd when it was time to return home. Prince Fickle searched for her everywhere, and longed eagerly for the next night, when the beautiful lady had promised to come again.
The following evening the fair Helena started early for the feast. This time she wore her dress embroidered with silver moons, and in her hair she placed a silver crescent. Pi "ince Fickle was enchanted to see her again, and she seemed to him even more beautiful than she had been the night before. He never left her side and refused to dance with any one else. He begged her to tell him who she was, but this she refused to do. Then he implored her to return again next evening, and this she promised him she would.
On the third evening Prince Fickle was so impatient to see his fair enchantress again that he arrived at the feast hours before it began, and never took his eyes from the door. At last Helena arrived in a dress all covered with gold and silver stars, and with a girdle of stars round her waist, and a band of stars in her hair. Prince Fickle was more in love with her than ever, and begged her once again to tell him her name.
Then Helena kissed him silently on the left cheek, and in one moment Prince Fickle recognized his old love. Full of remorse and sorrow, he begged for her forgiveness, and Helena, only too pleased to have got him back again, did not, you may be sure, keep him waiting very long for her pardon, and so they were married and returned to Helena's castle, where they are no doubt still sitting happily together under the lime-tree.*
* Kletke. From the German.