rately—the dishes, the bowls, the birds, the wild creatures, and the wonderful beasts. Many hours were passed in looking at them all, and in her pleasure the Princess never noticed that the ship was moving onwards. When she had examined the last, she thanked the merchant, and prepared to return home; but when she came to the ship's side, she saw that they were on the high seas, far from land, and speeding on under full sail.
" Ah ! " cried she, full of terror, " I am betrayed and carried off by this merchant. Oh that I had died rather than have fallen into his power !"
But the King took hold of her hand, and said, " No merchant am I, but a King, and no baser of birth than thyself; it is because of my over-mastering love for thee that I have carried thee off by cunning. The first time I saw thy picture I fell fainting to the earth."
When the Princess of the Golden Palace heard this she became more trustful, and her heart inclined favourably towards him, so that she willingly consented to become his wife. It happened, however, as they were still journeying on the open sea, that Faithful John, as he sat in the forepart of the ship and made music, caught sight of three ravens in the air flying overhead. Then he stopped playing, and listened to what they said one to another, for he understood them quite well. The first one cried,
" Ay, there goes the Princess of the Golden Palace." " Yes," answered the second ; " but he has not got her safe yet." And the third said,
" He has her, though; she sits beside him in the ship." Then the first one spoke again,
"What does that avail him? When they come on land a fox-red horse will spring towards them; then will the King try to mount him; and if he does, the horse will rise with him into the air, so that he will never see his bride again." The second raven asked,
" Is there no remedy ? "
" Oh yes ; if another man mounts quickly, and takes the pistol out of the holster and shoots the horse dead with it, he will save the young King. But who knows that ? and he that knows it and does it will become stone from toe to knee." Then said the second.