THE ASS'S SKIN. 483
Why do you wish to go away ? Stay with me, and I will give you whatever you wish. Will you have money ?"
" No." he replied, shaking his head.
" Do you want jewels or trinkets ?"
" Oh, no."
m Shall I give you half of my kingdom, then, to keep you here?"
" No ; oh, no !" he cried, earnestly.
" I wish I knew what would really content you," said the king, and then exclaimed, suddenly, " Ah, perhaps you want to marry my beautiful daughter ?"
What a change came over the ugly face as the young prince said, " Ah, yes; that is all I crave, if I only thought she could love me."
But there seemed no doubt of this, for the wonderful music and the gentle ways of the high-born prince had made the princess quite forget his ugliness. So the marriage was celebrated with great pomp and splendour; and at the wedding, instead of an ugly bridegroom with the face and long ears of an ass, there stood before them a handsome young prince.
On the night before the bridal, a good fairy—who had waited till now to destroy the cruel sorcery which had so disfigured the king's son—came and touched him with her wand; the ass's-skin immediately fell off, and he was restored to his natural shape and form.
The young princess was overjoyed to think that she had loved him for his good qualities alone. The king, however, could scarcely believe him to be the same till he showed him the ass's-skin which had fallen off at the touch of the fairy's wand.
The king immediately ordered a large fire to be lighted, into which he threw the skin, and watched it till it was burnt to ashes.
There was great joy in the whole household after this, and the king gave to his son-in-law the government over half his kingdom, and at his death he became king. In a short time his own father died, and so he was king of both countries, and he and his queen lived in great happiness and splendour. It is better, therefore, to be good than handsome.