THE DEATH OF THE SUN-HERO1
M ANY, many thousand years ago there lived a mighty King whom heaven had blessed with a clever and beautiful son. When he was only ten years old the boy was cleverer than all the King's counsellors put together, and when he was twenty he was the greatest hero in the whole kingdom. His father could not make enough of his son, and always had him clothed in golden garments which shone and sparkled like the sun; and his mother gave him a white horse, which never slept, and which flew like the wind. All the people in the land loved him dearly, and called him the Sun-Hero, for they did not think his like existed under the sun. Now it happened one night that both his parents had the same extraordinary dream. They dreamt that a girl all dressed in red had come to them and said : ' If you wish that your son should really become the Sun-Hero in deed and not only in nanus h t him go out into the world and search for the Tree of the Sun, and when he has found it, let him pluck a golden apple from it and bring it home.'
When the King and Queen had each related their dreams to the other, they were much amazed that they should both have dreamt exactly the same about their son, and the King said to his wife, 'This is clearly a sign from heaven that we should send our son out into the world in order that he may come home the great Sun-IIero, as the lied Girl said, not only in name but in deed.'
The Queen consented with many tears, and the King at once bade his son set forth in search of the Tree of the Sun, from which he was to pluck a golden apple. The Prince was delighted at the prospect, and set out on his travels that very day.
For a long time he wandered all through the world, and it was
not till the ninety-ninth day after he started that he found an old
man who was able to tell him where the Tree of the Sim grew. He
followed his directions, and rode on his way, and after another
1 From the Bukowinaer Talei and Legends. Vou Wliolocki.