THE GRATEFUL PRINCE
Once upon a time the king of the Goldland lost himself in a forest, and try as he would he could not find the way out. As he was wandering down one path which had looked at first more hopeful than the rest he saw a man coming towards him.
' What are you doing here, friend ? ' asked the stranger; ' darkness is falling fast, and soon the wild beasts will come from their lairs to seek for food.'
' I have lost myself,' answered the king, ' and am trying to get home.'
' Then promise me that you will give me the first thing that comes out of your house, and I will show you the way,' said the stranger.
The king did not answer directly, but after awhile he spoke: ' Why should I give away my best sporting dog. I can surely find my way out of the forest as well as this man.'
So the stranger left him, but the king followed path after path for three whole days, with no better success than before. He was almost in despair, when the stranger suddenly appeared, blocking up his way.
' Promise you will give me the first thing that comes out of your house to meet you ? '
But still the king was stiff-necked and would promise nothing.
For some days longer he wandered up and down the forest, trying first one path, then another, but his courage at last gave way, and he sank wearily on the ground under