THE FLYING SHIP
' Never fear,' said his thirsty comrade. ' I'll drink it all up at a gulp, see if I don't.' And sure enough, when the forty casks of wine containing forty gallons each were brought alongside of the ship, they disappeared down the thirsty comrade's throat in no time ; and when they were empty he remarked :
' Why, I'm still thirsty. I should have been glad of two more casks.'
Then the King took counsel with himself and sent an order to the Simpleton that he was to have a bath, in a bath-room at the royal palace, and after that the betrothal should take place. Now the bath-room was built of iron, and the King gave orders that it was to be heated to such a pitch that it would suffocate the Simpleton. And so when the poor silly youth entered the room, he discovered that the iron walls were red hot. But, fortunately, his comrade with the straw on his back had entered behind him, and when the door was shut upon them he scattered the straw about, and suddenly the red-hot walls cooled down, and it became so very cold that the Simpleton could scarcely bear to take a bath, and all the water in the room froze. So the Simpleton climbed up upon the stove, and, wrapping himself up in the bath blankets, lay there the whole night. And in the morning when they opened the door there he lay sound and safe, singing cheerfully to himself.
Now when this strange tale was told to the King he became quite sad, not knowing what he should do to get rid of so undesirable a son-in-law, when suddenly a brilliant idea occurred to him.
' Tell the rascal to raise me an army, now at this instant!' he exclaimed to one of his courtiers. ' Inform him at once of this, my royal will.' And to himself he added, ' I think I shall do for him this time.'
As on former occasions, the quick-eared comrade had overheard the King's command and repeated it to the Simpleton.
' Alas, alas !' he groaned ; ' now I am quite done for.'
' Not at all,' replied one of his comrades (the one who had dragged the bundle of wood through the forest). 'Have you quite forgotten me ?'
In the meantime the courtier, who had run all the way frorn the palace, reached the ship panting and breathless, and delivered the King's message.
' Good !' remarked the Simpleton. ' I will raise an army for the King,' and he drew himself up. ( But if, after that, the King refuses