Legend of Sagenfeld, in Germany 381
king and the nation shall honor this animal's race for this good deed, tlie anciejit dynasty shall not fail of an heir, nor the nation know zvar or pestilence or poverty. But beware an erring choice!
All through the king's thirteenth year but one thing was talked of by the soothsayers, the statesmen, the little parliament, and the general people. That one thing was this: How is the last sentence of the prophecy to be understood? What goes before seems to mean that the saving animal will choose itself, at the proper time; but the closing sentence seems to mean that the king must choose beforehand, and say what singer among the animals pleases him best, and that if he choose wisely the chosen animal will save his life, his dynasty, his people, but that if he should make " an erring choice "óbeware !
By the end of the year there were as many opinions about this matter as there had been in the beginning; but a majority of the wise and the simple were agreed that the safest plan would be for the little king to make choice beforehand, and the earlier the better. So an edict was sent forth commanding all persons who owned singing creatures to bring them to the great hall of the palace in the morning of the first day of the new year. This command was obeyed. When everything was in readiness for the trial, the king made his solemn entry with the great officers of the crown, all clothed in their robes of state. The king mounted his golden throne and prepared to give judgment. But he presently said:
" These creatures all sing at once; the noise is unen≠durable ; no one can choose in such a turmoil. Take them all away, and bring back one at a time."
This was done. One sweet warbler after another charmed the young king's ear and was removed to