GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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last, after giving the supposed merchant a large order, and thank­ing him for his politeness, she requested to be put on shore. But when she reached the deck and saw that the ship in full sail had left the land and was far out at sea, she became terribly alarmed and cried out, " I am betrayed, I am in the power of a merchant who has carried me off; rather let me die."
Then the king seized her by the hand and said, " No, I am not a merchant, I am a king, and as well born as yourself. Nothing but my great love for you would have induced me to carry you away by stratagem; indeed it is so overpowering that when I first glanced at your statue, I fainted and fell to the earth before it."
As the princess heard this she gained courage, and in her heart was disposed to treat this bold young king graciously, and before the voyage was over she had consented to become the wife of such a handsome young prince. It was a very pleasant voyage, and the king while sailing over the sea with the beautiful princess whom he loved so fondly, felt very happy. One evening, however, when they were seated together in the stern of the vessel, and faithful John sat playing on the lute near them, three crows flew over the ship and rested for awhile on the rigging. Faithful John saw them, and stopped his playing to hear what they said to each other, for he understood their language well.
" Ah !" said one, " there sails # The Princess of the Golden Dome' with the king who has carried her off."
" Yes," replied the second, "but he will not marry her."
* Well, but he has her by his side in the ship now," said the third.
Then the first cried out quickly, " What does that matter ? as soon as they land a chesnut horse will be brought to the king to mount, and if he does so, the horse will spring into the air and carry him out of sight, so that he will never see the princess more*"
" Can nothing be done to save him ?" asked the second crow.
* Oh ! yes, if some one standing near would start forward quickly, snatch a pistol from the holster and shoot the horse dead, then the king might be saved."
" But who knows ? this, and even if any one did know it and speak of it, he would instantly be turned into stone from his feet to his knees."
Then the second crow spoke again : " I know something more,