THE GOLDEN BIRD.
to go away with him, if he would only allow her to take leave of her parents. He refused at first, but she prayed and wept so piteously, and fell at his feet, begging him to grant her request, that at last he could not withstand her tears, and gave his consent.
No sooner, however, had the young maiden entered her parents' chamber, than every inhabitant of the golden castle awoke; the servants went out, found the young man, and took him prisoner.
The next morning the king of the golden castle sent for him, and said, " Your life is forfeited, and you can only obtain pardon by removing that mountain which lies before my window, and over which I cannot see the distant country, and this task must be finished in eight days; if you succeed, then you shall have my daughter as a reward."
The king's son went out directly, and began digging and shovelling with all his might*; night and day he worked without any success; all he did seemed lost, and when the seventh day arrived he gave up hope, and was overcome with sorrow.
On the evening of the seventh day, the fox presented himself to the mourner: "You do not deserve that I should take any notice of you," he said; " but go away now, and get a little sleep; I will finish your task for you."
The next morning, when they all rose and looked out of window, the mountain had vanished.
The young man hastened, full of joy, to the king, and informed him that he had completed the conditions imposed upon him. The king, therefore, whether he would or not, was obliged to keep his word, and give him his daughter.
Then the two went out together to find the fox, and they did not wait long before the faithful animal made his appearance.
"This is, indeed, the best of your performances," said the fox; " but remember that the golden horse belongs to the young lady of the golden castle."
" How am I to get it?" asked the prince.
" I will tell you this also," he replied. " First take the beautiful princess to the king who sent you to the golden castle; he will be so overjoyed that he will at once give you the golden horse as he promised. When the horse is brought to the door, hold out your hand to every one present to say farewell, and leave the princess till the last. Then, as soon as you take her hand, to wish her