The YELLOW FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE DEATH OF THE SUN-HERO               215
the Sun-Hero beat them off with his sword, and they retired, only, however, to reappear in a very short time. The Sun-Hero chased tin m away once more, but he had hardly sat down to rest when the two black wolves were on the scene again. This went on for seven days and nights, when the white horse, who had never done such a thing before, turned to the Sun-Hero and said in a human voice: ' Listen to what I am going to say. A Fairy gave me to your mother in order that I might be of service to you ; so let me tell you, that if you go to sleep and let the wolves harm the tree, the Sun will surely kill you. The Fairy, foreseeing this, put everyone in tho world under a spell, which prevents their obeying the Sun's com­mand to take your life. But all the same, she has forgotten one person, who will certainly kill you if you fall asleep and let the wolves damage the tree. So watch and keep the wolves away.'
Then the Sim-Hero strove with all his might and kept the black wolves at bay, and conquered his desire to sleep; but on the eighth night his strength failed him, and he fell fast asleep. When he awoke a woman in black stood beside him, who said : 'You have fulfilled your task very badly, for you have let the two black wolves damage the Tree of the Sun. I am the mother of the Sun, and I command you to ride away from here at once, and I pronounce sentence of death upon you, for you proudly let yourself be called the Sun-Hero without having done anything to deserve the name.'
The youth mounted his horse sadly, and rode home. The people all thronged round him on his return, anxious to hear his adven­tures, but he told them nothing, and only to his mother did ho confide what had befallen him. But the old Queen laughed, and said to her son: ' Don't worry, my child; you see, the Fairy has protected you so far, and the Sun has found no one to kill you. So cheer up and be happy.'
After a time the Prince forgot all about his adventure, and married a beautiful Princess, with whom he lived wry happily for some time. But one day when ho was out hunting he felt very thirsty, and coming to a stream he stooped down to drink from it, and this caused his death, lor a crab came swimming up, and with Li daws tore out his tongue. He was carried home in a dying condition, and as he lay on his death-bed the black woman appeared and said: ' So the Sun has, after all, found someone, who was not under tho Fairy's spell, who has caused your death. And a similar fate will overtake everyone under tin; Sun who wrongfully assumes a title to which he has no right.'
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