THE WATER-LILY. THE GOLD-SPINNEES 181
once celebrated, and there was feasting and merry-making throughout the kingdom for six weeks.
Some time afterwards the Prince and his bride were sitting in the garden, when a crow said to them: ' Ungrateful creatures ! Have ye forgotten the two poor maidens who helped ye in your distress ? Must they spin gold flax for ever ? Have no pity on the old witch. The three maidens are princesses, whom she stole away when they were children together, with all the silver utensils, which she turned into gold flax. Poison were her fittest punishment.'
The Prince was ashamed of having forgotten his promise and set out at once, and by great good fortune reached the hut when the old woman was away. The maidens had dreamt that he was coming, and were ready to go with him, but first they made a cake in which they put poison, and left it on a table where the old woman was likely to see it when she returned. She did see it, and thought it looked so tempting that she greedily ate it up and at once died.
In the secret chamber were found fifty waggon-loads of gold flax, and as much more was discovered buried. The hut was razed to the ground, and the Prince and his bride and her two sisters lived happily ever after.