THE WATER OF LIFE.
council together, and himself pronounced a sentence upon him that he should be secretly shot It was arranged, therefore, that when the prince went out hunting, and suspected nothing wrong, the king's hunter should accompany him and take his life. On the appointed day, the prince and the hunter were riding together, and the prince noticing that the hunter looked sad, said:
" Dear hunter, what is the matter ?"
The hunter replied, " I cannot, I dare not tell you yet"
" Yes," said the prince, " tell me at once, it will ease your blind*"
"Ah," he exclaimed, " I may well be sad ; the king has ordered me to shoot you and kill you."
On hearing this, the prince was not alarmed, but he said: in Dear hunter, spare my life, and I will give you my royal robes in exchange for your forester's dress."
The hunter was glad to escape from his unkind task so easily, and said : " I will do that willingly, I could not bear to take away your life."
Then they exchanged clothes; the hunter went home, and the prince remained in the forest. After a while, there arrived at the old king's castle three waggon-loads of gold and precious stones as a present to his youngest son, from the three kings whose countries he had rescued with his sword and bread, as proofs of their gratitude. The account of all he had done which the messengers brought made the old king very unhappy. Perhaps after all his youngest son might be innocent " Oh, that he were still alive," he said to his people, " Oh, that I had not allowed him to be killed."
" He lives still," said the hunter. I had not the heart to carry out your orders to kill him."
And then he related to the king all that had passed. On hearing this, the king felt as if a stone had fallen from his heart, and he caused a proclamation to be made all over his kingdom, that if his son would return home he should have a free pardon. Meanwhile, the beautiful princess began to prepare for the return of the prince, so she ordered a pathway to be made in front of the castle, which glittered with gold, and told her people that whoever came to see her on horseback by that road was the prince whom she expected* and they should admit him; but whoever