T HERE was once a poor Prince. He possessed a kingdom which, though small, was yet large enough for him to marry on, and married he wished to be.
Now it was certainly a little audacious of him to venture to say to the Emperor's daughter, 'Will you marry me ?' But he did venture to say so, for his name was known far and wide. There were hundreds of princesses who would gladly have said 'Yes,' but would she say the same ?
Well, we shall see.
On the grave of the Prince's father grew a rose-tree, a very beautiful rose-tree. It only bloomed every five years, and then bore but a single rose, but oh, such a rose! Its scent was so sweet that when you smelt it you forgot all your cares and troubles. And he had also a nightingale which could sing as if all the beautiful melodies in the world were shut up in its little throat. This rose and this nightingale the Princess was to have, and so they were both put into silver caskets and sent to her.
The Emperor had them brought to him in the great hall, where the Princess was playing ' Here comes a duke a-riding' with her ladies-in-waiting. And when she caught sight of the big caskets which contained the presents, she clapped her hands for joy.
' If only it were a little pussy-cat! ' she said. But the rose-tree with the beautiful rose came out.
' But how prettily it is made !' said all the ladies-in-waiting.
' It is more than pretty,' said the Emperor, ' it is charming! '
But the Princess felt it, and then she almost began to cry.
' Ugh ! Papa,' she said, 4it is not artificial, it is real !'
' Ugh !' said all the ladies-in-waiting, ■ it is real! '
'Let us see first what is in the other casket before we begin to be angry,' thought the Emperor, and there came out the nightingale.