336 THE SILENT PRINCESS
'" Oh, thou art fairer than the evening air, clad in the beauty of ten thousand stars," he murmured to himself. " Surely a form so rare was never meant to live without a soul." And forthwith he prayed with all his might that life should be breathed into it.
' And his prayer was heard, and the beautiful statue became a living girl, and the three men all fell in love with her, and each desired to have her to wife.
' Now,' said the nightingale, ' to which of them did the maiden really belong? It seems to me that the carpenter had the best right to her.'
' Oh, but the student would never have thought of praying that she might be given a soul had not the tailor drawn attention to her loveliness by the robe which he put upon her,' answered the prince, who guessed what he was expected to say; and they soon set up quite a pretty quarrel. Suddenly the princess, furious that neither of them alluded to the part played by the student, quite forgot her vow of silence and cried loudly:
' Idiots that you are! how could she belong to any one but the student? If it had not been for him, all that the others did would have gone for nothing! Of course it was he who married the maiden!' And as she spoke the seven veils fell from her, and she stood up, the fairest princess that the world has ever seen.
' You have won me,' she said smiling, holding out her hand to the prince.
And so they were married; and after the wedding-feast was over they sent for the old woman whose pitcher the prince had broken so long ago, and she dwelt in the palace, and became nurse to their children, and lived happily till she died.
TAdapted from Tttrkische Volksmarchen aus Stambul gesammelt, ubersetzt und eingeleitet von Dr. Ignaz Kiinos. Brilla, Leiden.]
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