GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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494
THE WATER OF LIFE.
The young prince, after reclaiming the sword and the never-failing bread, rode away with his two brothers. On their way they heard of two other countries suffering from war, and these he also rescued from death and suffering with his sword and the wonderful bread. They travelled far out of their way to help these cities, therefore to reach home quickly they were obliged to take ship and cross the sea.
During the voyage the elder brothers held a secret consultation, and the eldest said: " Now that our youngest brother has obtained the healing water which we could not find, our father will be sure to give him the kingdom when he dies, which belongs to us, and he will take away all our good fortune from us."
These jealous thoughts made them determined at last to destroy his hopes. They waited, however, till one day when he lay fast asleep on the deck of the vessel, then one of them fetched the goblet containing the water of life and emptied it into a jar of their own. They then filled their brother's goblet with the salt sea water, and replaced it safely. On reaching home, the youngest son hastily produced his goblet and offered some of its contents to his sick father, but no sooner had he drank a very little of the bitter sea water, than he became more sick than before. And while he was complaining over it, the brothers came forward, declaring that the youngest must have poisoned the water, and producing the true water which they had stolen from him, they offered it to their father.
He had no sooner drank a small quantity than he felt his sick­ness vanish, and was as well and strong as he had ever been in his young days. On this the two brothers went to the youngest and said to him in a tone of mockery. Ik You, no doubt, are the one who discovered the water of life, but you had all the trouble, and we have gained the reward. You have been very clever, but you should have kept your eyes open; we changed the water at sea while you were asleep, and now in a year's time, one of us will be at liberty to go and claim the beautiful princess. But take care not to betray us. Our father does not believe in you now, and if you say the least word you shall lose your life into the bargain. Remain silent, and you are safe."
The king was, in truth, very angry with his youngest son, for he believed he had had a design on his life. He even called a