THE FALSE BRIDE.
Then there came such a strong wind that Kiirdchen's little hat was carried away to a long distance, and before she could get back from fetching it, her companion had finished combing her hair, so that she could not cut any off. Kiirdchen was so cross that she would not speak to her all day till they went home.
Next day the princess again stayed behind when they drove the
geese out from the gloomy door, and spoke to the horse's head;
and Falada again replied that she was the queen's daughter, and
that her mother, if she knew, would break her heart. Also when
they reached the field, and Kiirdchen wanted a lock of her hair
while the princess was combing it, she again said :
"Blow, blow, wind, take Kiirdchen's hat in the air, And do not let her catch it till I have done my hair."
This happened several times, and at last Kiirdchen went to the old king, and said: " I cannot have this maiden to help me to watch the geese any longer."
"Why, what has she done ?"' asked the king.
" Oh ! she worries me the whole day, and every morning when we drive the herd out through the dark gate, she stops to talk to a horse's head which is nailed there, and says : l Falada, dost thou know me ?' and the head answers, " You are a king's daughter, and if your mother knew, she would break her heart.' "
And then Kiirdchen told the king of her beautiful golden hair which she combed in the field, and how often the strange maiden' had made the wind blow her hat away that she might not cut ofif a lock.
The king advised Kiirdchen to bear it all for a few days longer; for he determined after this to find out for himself what it all meant.
The next morning he went out early, and placed himself near the dark gate, where no one could see him, and as the two maidens passed through driving the geese, he saw the stranger stop and speak to the head, and heard the reply. After seeing this, he hastened to the field, hid himself in the bushes, and as the maiden unfastened her hair, he saw with his own eyes that it was very beautiful, and glittered like gold. He was not surprised at Kurdchen's anger when he heard the other maiden call upon the wind to blow away her hat, and saw what trouble she had to catch it.
The king went back to the castle unnoticed, but in the evening