4o8 THE FEARLESS PRINCE.
In a moment the giant seized the ring and ran off with it, but the lion, who had followed them unseen, quickly observing the theft, sprang after him, tore the ring from his hand, and carried it back to his master.
The giant on this placed himself behind an oak, and while the prince was engaged in putting on his clothes, he struck him from behind a violent blow, that blinded him in both eyes.
The poor prince now stood helpless; for he was blind, and knew not how to help himself. The giant, however, approached, and, seizing his hand as if he were going to lead him home, dragged him to the top of a high rock, and left him standing near the edge. "Ah." thought the giant as he went away, "two steps more, and he will fall headlong and kill himself, and then I shall get the ring." But the faithful lion had not left his master; he now held him fast by the clothes, and pulled him gradually back.
When the giant returned, expecting to find the prince dead, he saw that all his cunning had been fruitless. " Is a little weak child of man to conquer me like this?" said the giant in a rage with himself; so he seized the king's son, and dragged him again to another precipice. But the lion knew his wicked intentions, and also here saved his master from the danger. When they came near the edge of the precipice, the giant let fall the hand of the blind prince, and turned to go back alone; but at this very moment the lion gave the giant a push, and over he went, fell on the ground below, and was smashed to pieces.
The faithful lion now drew his master again back from the edge of the abyss, and led him to a tree by which flowed a clear brook. The prince seated himself under the tree, and the lion, lying down by his side, splashed the water in his master's face with his paws. A few drops fell on the injured eyes, and presently he could see, but indistinctly, a bird that flew near him, and struck himself against the tree, as if his eyes also were dim. Immediately the bird flew down to the brook, and bathed himself in it; after this, he again flew up to a branch of the tree, this time without striking himself, but like one whose sight has been restored.
Then the prince understood what to do; he stooped over the water, and washed and bathed his face and eyes with it, and when he rose up, his eyes were as clear and bright as they had ever been in his life.