GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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the most delicious odours, and the servants who waited threw her pieces that were left on the plates as they passed her, which she gathered up and put into her basket to carry home.
After supper, the company adjourned to the dancing-room, and as the king's daughter was looking earnestly at the beautifully dressed ladies and gentlemen who passed, she saw all at once a noble-looking prince approaching her. He was richly dressed in velvet and silver, and wore a golden order across his shoulders. He saw the beautiful princess who had lost her position through her own pride standing at the door. He knew her at once, although she was so meanly dressed; but when he advanced and took her by the hand, to lead her into the ball-room, saying that she must dance with him, she was in a terrible fright, and strug­gled to get free, for she knew it was King Roughbeard, her lover, whom she had treated with contempt. But it was useless to refuse, he held her hand so tightly, and led her in.
In the struggle the band that fastened her basket round her waist broke, and all the broken pieces which the servants had given her were scattered on the floor, and rolled in all directions, while the company looked on and laughed, in tones of mockery. Her shame was now complete, and she wished she could at that moment hide herself a thousand fathoms deep in the earth. She rushed to the door to run away, but on the steps, in the dark, she met as she supposed her husband, for it was his voice.
He seized her firmly, and brought her back into the castle, and as soon as he appeared in the light, she saw to her astpnishment that it was King Roughbeard.
" Do not fear," said he, in a gentle tone; " I and the wandering minstrel with whom you have lived in the wretched house in the wood are the same. My love for you made me disguise myself that I might win you through your father's oath. I was the hussar who upset your basket I have done it to *ry if, after all, you really loved King Roughbeard, whom you refused and mocked; and I hoped that your proud thoughts would be humbled, and your haughty spirit bend, and that it would be as a punishment for having mocked and spurned me."
Then she wept bitterly, and said, " I know I have done wrong, and I am not worthy to be your wife."
But he said, "Be comforted; all is past now. You are my