THE STORY OF CICCU
took the veil from Ciccu and flung it over the princess, crying, ' Here is the veil you asked for, so I claim you for my wife.'
' Not so fast,' answered she. ' I can never be your wife till Oiccu puts on my finger the ring I threw into the stream.' Ciccu, who was standing by expecting something of the sort, bowed his head when he heard her words, and went straight to the horse.
' Mount at once,' said the horse; ' this time it is very simple,' and he carried Ciccu to the banks of the little stream. ' Now, call three times on the emperor of the fishes, and beg him to restore yon the ring that the princess dropped.'
Ciccu did as the horse told him, and a voice was heard in answer that seemed to come from a very long way off.
' What is your will? ' it asked; and Ciecu replied that he had been commanded to bring back the ring that the princess had flung away, as she rode past.
'A fish is playing with it just now,' replied the voice; ' however, you shall have it without delay.'
And sure enough, very soon a little fish was seen rising to the surface with the lost ring in his mouth. And Ciccu knew him to be the fish that he had saved from death, and he took the ring and rode back with it to the king.
' That is not enough,' exclaimed the princess when she saw the ring; 'before we can be man and wife, the oven must be heated for three clays and three nights, and Ciccu must jump in.' And the king forgot how Ciccu had served him, and desired him to do as the princess had said.
This time Ciccu felt that no escape was possible, and he went to the horse and laid his hand on his neck. ' Now it is indeed good-bye, and there is no help to be got even from you,' and he told him what fate awaited him.
But the horse said, ' Oh, never lose heart, but jump