4io THE FEARLESS PRINCE.
" You have luckily kept firm for one night," she said; in but there are still two nights more before you." As she left him, he noticed that her feet were already white.
On the following night the little imps came again, and began their game anew, and with fresh violence. They beat and tormented the king's son much more cruelly than on the former night, so that he was covered with wounds; but he bore it all in silence, till they were at last obliged to leave him, and, at the first blush of morning, the young maiden appeared with her healing water, which soon restored him.
As she turned to go away, he saw that her skin had already become white on her arms and neck; only the face still remained black, and he determined to hold out for one more night, and this proved the worst of all.
"So you are still here!" screamed the imps, when they saw him. "Well, you shall be tormented this time till there is no breath left in your body." They beat and pinched him, threw him from one place to another, and dragged him about by the arms and legs, as if they meant to tear him to pieces; but he endured it all, and uttered no sound.
At last the imps vanished, leaving him on the ground quite exhausted, and not even able to open his eyes when the maiden came in. However, after bathing his limbs, and pouring the healing water on his eyes, all the pain was relieved, and he felt quite well and strong, as one just awakened out of sleep; and when, at last, he opened his eyes, he saw the young maiden standing near, snow white, and bright and beautiful as the day.
"Stand up," she said, "and swing your sword three times over the steps of the castle; then the spell of enchantment will be broken."
He had no sooner done so than the witchcraft was at an end, and he found that a king's daughter, rich and beautiful, was its owner.
Servants came, and said that the table was already prepared for the morning meal, and the prince and princess seated themselves in the great hall, where he had suffered so much, and were very happy together; and in the evening their marriage took place.