' Oh,' said Blockhead-Hans, ' it is really too good! How pleased the Princess will be! '
' Why !' said the brothers, (this is pure mud, straight from the ditch.'
' Of course it is ! ' said Blockhead-Hans, ' and it is the best kind ! Look how it runs through one's fingers I' and, so saying, he filled his pocket with the mud.
But the brothers rode on so fast that dust and sparks flew all around, and they reached the gate of the town a good hour before Blockhead-Hans. Here came the suitors numbered according to their arrival, and they were ranged in rows, six in each row, and they were so tightly packed that they could not move their arms. This was a very good thing, for otherwise they would have torn each other in pieces, merely because the one was in front of the other.
All the country people were standing round the King's throne, and were crowded together in thick masses almost out of the windows to see the Princess receive the suitors; and as each one came into the room all his fine phrases went out like a candle !
i It doesn't matter !' said the Princess. ' Away ! out with him ! '
At last she came to the row in which the brother who knew the dictionary by heart was, but he did not know it any longer; he had quite forgotten it in the rank and file. And the floor creaked, and the ceiling was all made of glass mirrors, so that he saw himself standing on his head, and by each window were standing three reporters and an editor ; and each of them was writing down what was said, to publish it in the paper that came out and was sold at the street corners for a penny. It was fearful, and they had made up the fire so hot that it was grilling.
' It is hot in here, isn't it!' said the suitor.
' Of course it is ! My father is roasting young chickens to-day !' said the Princess.
' Ahem !' There he stood like an idiot. He was not prepared for such a speech; he did not know what to say, although he wanted to say something witty. ' Ahem !'
' It doesn't matter ! ' said the Princess. ' Take him out!' and out he had to go.
Now the other brother entered.
' How hot it is !' he said.
' Of course ! "We are roasting young chickens to-day !' remarked the Princess.