192 THE ONE-HANDED GIRL
' I have many things to cry for,' she replied, - more than you could ever guess.'
' Come home with me,' said the prince; ' it is not very far. Come home to my father and mother. I am a king's son.'
' Then why are you here ? ' she said, opening her eyes and staring at him.
' Once every month I and my friends shoot birds in the forest,' he answered, ' but I was tired and bade them leave me to rest. And you—what are you doing up in this tree ? '
At that she began to cry again, and told the king's son all that had befallen her since the death of her mother.
' I cannot come down with you, for I do not like anyone to see me,' she ended with a sob.
' Oh! I will manage all that,' said the king's son, and swinging himself to a lower branch, he bade his slave go quickly into the town, and bring back with him four strong men and a curtained Utter. When the man was gone, the girl climbed down, and hid herself on the ground in some bushes. Very soon the slave returned with the litter, which was placed on the ground close to the bushes where the girl lay.
' Now go, all of you, and call my attendants, for I do not wish to stay here any longer,' he said to the men, and as soon as they were out of sight he bade the girl get into the Utter, and fasten the curtains tightly. Then he got in on the other side, and waited till his attendants came up.
' What is the matter, 0 son of a king ? ' asked they, breathless with running.
' I think I am ill; I am cold,' he said, and signing to the bearers, he drew the curtains, and was carried through the forest right inside his own house.
' Tell my father and mother that I have a fever, and want some gruel,' said he, ' and bid them send it quickly.'