F AR away in the country lay an old manor-house where lived an old squire who had two sons. They thought themselves so clever, that if they had known only half of what they did know, it would have been quite enough. They both wanted to marry the King's daughter, for she had proclaimed that she would have for her husband the man who knew best how to choose his words.
Both prepared for the wooing a whole week, which was the longest time allowed them ; but, after all, it was quite long enough, for they both had preparatory knowledge, and everyone knows how useful that is. One knew the whole Latin dictionary and also three years' issue of the daily paper of the town off by heart, so that he could repeat it all backwards or forwards as you pleased. The other had worked at the laws of corporation, and knew by heart What every member of the corporation ought to know, so that he thought he could quite well speak on State matters and give his opinion. lie understood, besides this, how to embroider braces with roses and other flowers, and scrolls, for he was very ready with his fingers.
'I shall win the king's daughter!' they both cried.
Their old father gave each of them a fine horse; the one who knew the dictionary and the daily paper by heart had a black horse, while the other who was so clever at corporation law had a milk-white one. Then they oiled the corners of their mouths so that they might be able to speak more fluently. All the servants stood in the courtyard and saw them mount their steeds, and here by chance came the third brother; for the squire had three sons, but nobody counted him with his brothers, for he was not so learned as they were, and he was generally called (Blockhead-Hans.'
' Oh, oh !' said Blockhead-Hans. ' Where are you off to? You are in your Sunday-best clothes !'
'We are going to Court, to woo the Princess ! Don't you know