GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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8a                 THE THREE WHITE SNAKES.
the boy said to him, " Dear father, I see you going about every day looking so sorrowful and tired, that I am determined to go out into the world and try to earn my own living."
Then his father gave him his blessing and took leave of him with many tears. Just at this time a great king was going to war with the king of another country, and the youth took service under him and marched to the battle field as a soldier. In the first con­flict with the enemy he was in great danger and had a wonderful escape, for his comrades fell on each side of him. Their com­mander also was wounded, and several were inclined to take flight and run from the fid i. But the youth stepped forth to raise their courage, and cried, " No, no, we will never allow our fatherland to sink to the ground T Then they took courage and followed their young leader, who led them forward, attacked and quickly van­quished the enemy. When the king heard to whom he owed this great victory, he sen! for the youth, raised him to a position of great honour, gave him large treasures, and made him first in the kingdom next to himself.
Now the king had a daughter who was very beautiful, but she was also very whimsical. She had made a vow that she would take no man for a husband who did not promise that if she should die he would allow himself to be buried alive with her in the grave. "If he loves me," she said, "he will not wish to outlive me," and in return for this she would also promise to be buried in the grave with her spouse, should he die first
This vow had hitherto frightened away all wooers, but the young soldier was so struck with the beauty of the princess that he disregarded the vow, although her father warned him, and said, " Do you know what a terrible promise you will have to make ?"
" Yes," replied the young man, " I must be buried with her in the grave if I outlive her; but my love for her is so strong, that I disregard that danger."
Then the king gave his consent, and the marriage was cele­brated with great pomp.
After they had lived together for some time in great happiness and contentment, the young queen was seized with a terrible ill­ness from which her physicians were unable to restore her. As she lay dead, the young husband remembered what he had pro­mised, and the thought of lying in the grave alive filled him with