GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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THE GOLDEN BIRD.
" You are still in danger," he said; " for your brothers, not being sure of your death, have placed watchers about the wood to kill you if they see you."
Presently the king's son saw a poor man sitting under a tree, begging. " Change clothes with him." whispered the fox, and then ran away.
The man was very ready to make the exchange, and then the younger brother took his way, as a poor beggar, across the fields, till be came to the court-yard of his father's castle. No one recog­nized him, so he went on still closer to the windows, and asked for alms. In a moment the bird in the cage began to sing, the horse in the stable ate his corn, and the beautiful young maiden ceased to weep.
"What is the meaning of this ?" asked the king in wonder.
Then said the maiden, " I cannot tell why, but I have been so sad, and now I feel quite happy. It is as if my real bridegroom had returned." At length she determined to tell the king all that had occurred, although the other brothers had threatened to kill her if she betrayed them.
The king, upon this, ordered every one in the castle to appear before him, and among them came the poor man in ragged clothes. The princess recognized him immediately, and fell on his neck, and wept for joy to find him alive. The king also recognized his youngest son, after he had thrown off his disguise. Then the brothers were brought to justice and punished, while the youngest married the beautiful princess, and Was named as the king's successor.
We must now hear what became of the poor fox. Not long after, the king's son met him, and the fox said, "You have everything that you can wish for in the world, but to my misfor­tunes there appears no end, although you have the power of setting me free ;" and once more he begged so earnestly to be shot dead, and to have his head and feet cut off, that the king's son at last, with sorrow, consented. What was his surprise, as soon as he had finished the painful task, to see a fine, tall young man stand up in the place of the fox, who was no other than the brother of the beautiful princess, whom the king's son had at last set free from the enchantment that lay upon him.
After this, nothing ever happened to interfere with their happi-$$s and good fort me for the rest of their lives.