GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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" You may be as sure of it as if you had it now," said Iron Hans. " And you shall have a red suit of armour and a chestnut horse to ride on!"
The appointed day arrived, the young man presented him­self at the castle, and mixed so quickly with the other knights, that no one recognised him. During the entertainment, the princess stepped forward, and threw among the knights a golden apple. It was caught by the stranger, who immediately slipped out and dis­appeared.
On the second day Iron Hans provided him with a white suit of armour, and he rode a grey horse. Again he caught the apple, and after doing so did not stop a moment, but rode quickly away. At this the king became angry, and said he could not allow it, and that whoever caught the apple ought to show himself and give up his name. He, therefore, gave orders that if this strange knight again caught the apple, and left in such haste, he was to be pursued and brought back; and if he would not return willingly they were to use force.
The third day of the festival arrived; and the young knight this time appeared in black armour, and riding a splendid black horse with which Iron Hans had supplied him. Again he caught the apple, and instantly rode away, followed by the king's people; but it was not possible to overtake that fleet horse, although one approached near enough to wound the young knight in the leg with the point of his sword. He kept his seat, however; but his horse started so violently that his helmet fell off, and they could see the golden hair that lay scattered on his shoulders. So they rode back, and told the king all that had happened.
The next day the princess asked the gardener where his young assistant was. " He is at work in the garden to-day," he replied. " But the wonder to me is that he should have been absent during the three days of the festival, and only came back la?st night; and he has also shown to my children three golden apples, which he says he has won."
On hearing of this the king ordered him to be sent for; and he made his appearance as usual with his hat on. But the princess went quickly towards him, and as she pulled it off, down fell the golden hair on his shoulders, making hin look so beautiful that they were all astonished,