258 PRINCE AND PRINCESS IN THE FOREST
hoping that the wild beasts would kill him, as he no longer had the sword and shirt to protect him.
' Now,' he said to the queen, ' we will return to your country.'
The next day they set sail, and as soon as they reached home, they were married, and the robber became king.
Meanwhile the poor prince was wandering about in the forest, hoping to find someone who would help him, and perhaps take him into service, for now he had no money and no home. It so happened that there had been a great hunt in the forest, and the wild beasts had all fled before the hunters and were hiding, so nothing did him any harm. At last, one day, just when his food was all gone and he had made up his mind that he must surely die of hunger, he came to the port whence the ships sailed for Arabia. One vessel was just ready to start, and the captain was going on board when he saw the prince.
' Why, here is a poor blind fellow ! ' he said. ' No doubt that is the work of the robbers. Let us take him to Arabia with us. Would you like to come, my good man ? ' he asked the prince.
Oh, how glad he was to hear someone speak kindly to him again ! And he answered that he would, and the sailors helped him to climb up the side of the ship. When they got to Arabia the captain took him to the public baths, and ordered one of the slaves to wash him. Whilst he was being washed the princess's ring slipped off his ringer and was afterwards found by the slave who cleaned out the bath. The man showed it to a friend of his who lived at the palace.
' Why, it is the princess's ring !' he said. ' Where did it come from ?'
' It fell off a blind man's finger,' said the slave. ' He must have stolen it; but I dare say you will be able to return it to the princess.'