GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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THE CRYSTAL BALL.                   569
A sorceress once had three sons, who loved each other with brotherly affection; but the old woman did not trust them, she thought they would rob her of her power. So she turned the eldest into an eagle, who lived on the top of a rocky mountain, and was often seen whirling round in great circles, or soaring high in the heavens. She changed the second son into a whale, who lived in the deep sea, and at times there would be seen a mighty stream of water rising in the air, which the whale spurted up like a water­spout. Each of the brothers, however, had the privilege of re­suming their own natural forms for two hours each day. » The third son, who feared that his mother might turn him into a wild beast, such as a bear or a wolf, went away secretly from home. He had heard, also, that in a beautiful castle, called the Castle of the Golden Sun, lived a beautiful princess, who was under the spell of the sorcerer, and he longed to set her free.
He knew, however, that to do this he must risk his life, for already three and twenty young men had met with most terrible deaths in the attempt, and since the last of that number fell a victim, none had dared to venture near the spot. But the young man's heart knew no fear, so he determined to go and seek the castle of the golden sun.
He had been travelling for a long time without finding it, when he came to a great forest, in which he wandered about till he lost his way. All at once he saw in the distance two giants, who beckoned to him with their hands, and when he approached they asked him what he was doing there. He told them he had lost his way.
/ y'Oh," replied one, "we can soon showyou. We know every corner of the forest; but you must help us in something first. We are both equally strong, and neither can overcome the other, and we have been fighting for a little hat, which is to belong to the one who conquers. Now you little men are as clever as we are, and therefore we will let you decide who is to have it."
" How can I fight with you for an old hat ?" replied the youth.