PRINCE AND PRINCESS IN THE FOREST 267
' One should, tell one's mother everything,' he thought. And he told her.
' See, mother, here are a sword and a mail shirt which I found, in the first house we entered in the forest, and. as long as I carry them nothing can hurt me. That is what saved me from the wild beasts.'
' How can I be thankful enough ! ' exclaimed the queen. And. directly the prince's back was turned, she hurried to tell the robber.
The robber, as soon as he heard the news, made a sleeping-draught, and bade the queen give it to her son before he went to bed that night.
Accordingly, as soon as the prince began to get sleepy, the queen handed him the cup containing the draught.
' Drink this, to please me,' she said. ' It will do you good after all you've gone through, and make you sleep well.'
' What an odd taste it has !' murmured the prince as he drank it.
Immediately he fell asleep ; and the robber came in and took away his sword and shirt of mail.
' These things belong to my brother,' he said. After he had got them both in his hand, the robber woke him.
' I am the master now,' said he. ' Choose one of two things—either you must die, or your eyes will be put out, and you will be sent back to the forest.'
The prince's blood grew cold at these words. Then a thought struck him, and he turned to his mother : ' Is this your doing ?' he asked sternly. And though she burst into tears and denied it, the prince knew she was not telling the truth.
' Well,' said he, ' " whilst there is life there is hope." I will go back to the forest.'
Then the robber put out his eyes, gave him a stick, and some food and drink, and drove him into the forest,