GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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But at the words he halted and said, " I am seeking for the water of life to cure my father, who is near to death."
" Do you know where to find it ?" asked the dwarf.
" No," answered the prince.
" Well, then." replied the little man, " as you have behaved properly to me, and not proudly as your false brothers did, I will give you the information you require, and tell you where this wonderful water flows. It flows from a well in the court of an enchanted castle, into which you could not enter unless I gave you an iron wand and two loaves of never-failing bread. With the iron wand you must strike three times on the gate of the castle, and it will immediately spring open. Within the gate lie three lions, who will stand before you with open mouths. If you can then, with one effort, throw a loaf into each open throat, they will be quite quiet for a time, and you must as quickly as possible rush to the fountain, draw off some of the water, and return to the gate; and as soon as you are outside, with one blow of your wand the gate will close, and you will be safe and free from the danger of enchantment."
The prince thanked the dwarf, took the iron rod and the bread, and started again on his journey full of hope. And it all hap­pened as the dwarf had said. The gate sprang open at three strokes from the wand, and the bread stopped the lions' mouths, and the young prince walked into the castle till he came to a splendid hall, in which sat an enchanted princess; he took a ring from her finger, and seeing by her side a sword and a loaf, he carried them both away with him.
A little farther on he came to a room in which stood a beautiful maiden. She was full of joy when she saw him, kissed him, and said he had set her free from the enchantment, and that now she should have her kingdom restored to her, and if he would come again in a year to fetch her, she would be his wife.
She then told him where to find the well from which flowed the wonderful water, and cautioned him not to delay, for the water must be obtained before the clock struck twelve at midnight. He continued to explore the castle, till he came to a chamber in which stood a beautiful bed; the hangings were new and elegant, and the bed looked so tempting that, tired as he was, he could not help lying down for a little while to rest.