574 THE TWELVE WINDOWS.
knew he was discovered, and reluctantly came out of his strange hiding-place.
"Ah," she said, " I promised to let you off the first time, but if you do not manage better in future, you will be lost."
The next day he went to the lake, and cried out to the fish : " I spared your life yesterday, now tell me how I can conceal myself so that the princess may not find me."
The fish reflected for a time, arvd then exclaimed : " I have it; you will be safe in my stomach!"
So the fish swallowed the young man, and carried him down to the bottom of the sea.
The princess looked through all her windows, but not even in the eleventh could she find him. She was really alarmed now, till at last, in looking from the twelfth window, she discovered his hiding-place.
She then ordered the fish to be caught and killed, and we can understand the poor young man's trouble and fear when he was obliged to come forth from the fish and appear before the princess.
"Two failures have been granted you," she said, "but after the next your head will look well on the hundredth pole !"
On the last day he went with a heavy heart to the field, and met the fox.
"You know all the best hiding-places," he said to him, "I spared your life yesterday, now advise me where to hide that the princess may not find me."
" It is a difficult task," said the fox, putting on a very thoughtful face.
At last he said: "I know what to do;" and, rising, he led the young man to a spring, and dipping himself in first, he came up changed into a fish-seller, with his market badge. He then told the young man to dive also, and as he rose, he was immediately turned into a little sea-mouse, which the merchant put into his basket, and then proceeded at once to the town.
The curious little mouse attracted so much attention that quite a crowd gathered round him.
At length the princess heard of this wonderful creature, and she sent for the merchant; and, on seeing it, ofiered to purchase it for a large sum of money.