50 GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES.
" Would that I could bring thee back to life, my Faithful John !"
After some time the Queen bore twins—two little sons— that grew and thrived, and were the joy of their parents. One day, when the Queen was in church, the two children were sitting and playing with their father, and he gazed at the stone image full of sadness, sighed, and cried,
" Oh that I could bring thee back to life, my Faithful John !" Then the stone began to speak, and said,
11 Yes, thou canst bring me back to life again, if thou wilt bestow therefor thy best-beloved." Then cried the King,
" All that I have in the world will I give up for thee !" The stone went on to say,
" If thou wilt cut off the heads of thy two children with thy own hand, and besmear me with their blood, I shall receive life again."
The King was horror-struck at the thought that he must put his beloved children to death, but he remembered all John's faithfulness, and how he had died for him, and he drew his sword and cut off his children's heads with his own hand. And when he had besmeared the stone with their blood life returned to it, and Faithful John stood alive and well before him ; and he said to the king,
" Thy faithfulness shall not be unrewarded," and, taking up the heads of the children, he set them on again, and besmeared the wound with their blood, upon which in a moment they were whole again, and jumped about, and went on playing as if nothing had happened to them.
Now was the King full of joy; and when he saw the Queen coming he put the Faithful John and the two children in a great chest. When she came in he said to her,
" Hast thou prayed in church ? "
" Yes," answered she, " but I was thinking all the while of Faithful John, and how he came to such great misfortune through us."
" Then," said he, " dear wife, we can give him life again, but it will cost us both our little sons, whom we must sacrifice."
The Queen grew pale and sick at heart, but said,
" We owe it him, because of his great faithfulness."
Then the King rejoiced because she thought as he did, and