But the king ordered them to be silent. " Leave him to do as he likes," he said, " he is my faithful John, and knows what he is about."
In a short time they arrived at the castle, and there in the saloon lay the splendid bridal robe on a salver. It looked exactly like a web of gold and silver, and the king went forward to touch it Then John, who had already put on thick gloves, pushed him away, and seizing the bridal robe, threw it into the fire and left it to burn.
The other servants murmured against John more than ever, and said, " Why he has actually burnt the king's bridal robe." " Never mind," said the young king, " he knows what he is about; leave him to himself, he is my faithful John."
In a few days the wedding was celebrated, and at the ball in the evening the young queen danced. John, who watched her face with anxious care, saw her all at once turn pale and fall on the floor as if dead. Then he sprang hastily forward, lifted her up, bore her into another room, laid her again on the ground, then kneeling by her side, he sucked three drops of blood from her right shoulder, and spat it out on the floor.
At the same instant she breathed again and raised herself from the ground, but the young king, who had seen all this with astonishment, could not in the least understand the conduct of his faithful servant, so he flew into a passion and cried, "Take him off to prison!"
Next morning John was brought before the judge and sentenced to death. As he stood in the king's presence he said, " Every one who is about to die is allowed to speak for himself; shall I not also have that right ?"
"Yes," answered the king. "I grant you permission."
"Then," said faithful John, " I have been unjustly condemned, for in every circumstance I have proved myself true and faithful to my king." And then he related what he had heard of the conversation of the crows while at sea, and how all he had done had been necessary for the safety of the king and queen.
" Then," cried the king, " oh ! my faithful John, pardon me, pardon me. Bring him here, he must be saved." But it was too late, for by the last words the faithful servant had uttered in telling the king, he had incurred the consequences spoken of by the crows, e fell lifeless and was turned into stone.