PRINCE AND PRINCESS IN THE FOREST 261
' that, a mile away, there is a forest where the most beautiful apples grow, and if I could have some of them I should soon be well again.'
' Oh! but dreams don't mean anything,' said the prince. ' There is a magician who lives near here. I'll go to him and ask for a spell to cure you.'
' My dreams always mean something,' said the queen, shaking her head. ' If I don't get any apples I shall die.' She did not know why the robber wanted to send the prince to this particular forest, but as a matter of fact it was full of wild animals who would tear to pieces any traveller who entered it.
' Well, I'll go,' answered the prince. ' But I really must have some breakfast first; I shall walk all the faster.'
' If you do not hurry you will find me dead when you come back,' murmured the queen fretfully. She thought her son was not nearly anxious enough about her, and by this time she had begun to believe that she really was as ill as she had said.
When the prince had eaten and drunk, he set off, and soon came to the forest, and sure enough it was full of lions and tigers, and bears and wolves, who came rushing towards him; but instead of springing on him and tearing him to pieces, they lay down on the ground and licked his hands. He speedily found the tree with the apples which his mother wanted, but the branches were so high he could not reach them, and there was no way of climbing up the smooth trunk.
' It is no use after all, I can't get up there,' he said to himself. ' what am I to do now ? '
But, as he turned away his sword chanced to touch the tree, and immediately two apples fell down. He picked them up joyfully, and was going away when a little dog came out of a hill close by, and running up to him, began tugging at his clothes and whiining.