THE IRON CHEST. 477
She was so pleased with her discovery that she went on scraping, and in a very short time the hole was large enough for him to creep out.
" Now you have set me free, and broken the spell," cried the king's son; " and you shall be my bride, for we belong to each other." He wanted to take her to his father's kingdom at once j but she begged him to let her go and say farewell to her father. The king's son gave her permission; but he cautioned her on no account to speak to her father more than three words.
She went home quickly; but she spoke more than the three words; and in consequence the iron chest was lifted up, and carried away from the forest over rocky mountains and snow-clad peaks. The king's son, however, was still free, and could never again be locked up in the iron case. After taking leave of her father, the king's daughter took a little money in her pocket, and turned her steps to the wood, to seek for the iron case; but it was gone. For nine days she searched the forest round; and at last became so faint with fatigue and hunger that she felt ready to die.
One evening she climbed up as usual into a tree to be safe during the night; for she was afraid of the wild beasts. As she sat thinking with sorrow of her lost bridegroom, she saw a light at a little distance. "Oh!" she exclaimed, "perhaps I may find help now."
She descended from the tree and turned her steps towards the light, and, on coming nearer she found a small, old, wooden house surrounded by high grass.
It looked so lonely and dismal that she wished she had not come. However, she ventured to peep through the window, and saw no living creature inside, but frogs of all sizes, big and little. There was, however, a supper-table richly spread with bread and wine, and the plates and cups were of silver.
Then she took heart and knocked at the door. At this she heard an old frog say, " Go quickly, and see who is outside." A little frog came immediately and opened the door; and as the king's daughter entered, they all bid her welcome, asked her to sit down, and enquired where she came from, and what she wanted.
In answer to their questions she related all that had happened, and acknowledged that in consequence of her having overstepped