THE FEARLESS PRINCE.
In the middle of the garden stood the enchanted tree, and the rosy golden apples glittered on its boughs. He climbed up the stem, and just as he discovered the apple he wanted, he saw the ring hanging before him. He put his hand through it without trouble, and broke off the apple, but on drawing it back he found that the ring closed tightly over his arm, and he felt through every vein a rush of new strength. He climbed down from the tree, and now did not care to jump over the railings, but went to the great gate, and had only to give it oneshake, and it opened wide immediately for him to pass through.
As he went out, a lion, who appeared to be lying there waiting for him, sprung up, not in anger or wildness, but to follow him meekly, as a dog follows his master. The prince travelled back with all speed to the giant, and gave him the promised apple, and said to him : " See, I have fetched it for you without any trouble."
The giant, who was very much pleased that his wish had been accomplished, hastened to his sweetheart, and gave her the apple which she so desired to have. But she was a clever as well as a beautiful maiden, and she saw that the ring was not on the giant's arm, as she knew it must be if he had plucked the apple. So she said : " I will not believe that this is the apple I want, unless you can show me the ring on your arm."
"Oh," said the giant, " I need only go home and fetch it for you."
He thought it was a very easy thing for him to take it away by force from the weak little man, whether he was willing or not. But the king's son refused to give it up.
" Where the apple is, there must the ring be," said the giant, " and if you'do not give it up willingly, you must fight for it."
On this a struggle commenced, and continued for a long time, but the giant could not overcome the prince, because of the strength given to him by the enchanted ring. So the giant tried stratagem.
" This fighting has made me very warm," he said, " and you appear heated also. Suppose we go down to the river and bathe, that will cool us."
The king's son, who suspected nothing, was taken off his guard, and went down with the giant to the water, threw off his clothes, and with them the ring from his arm, and jumped into the water.