202 THE STORY OF PRETTY GOLDILOCKS
and if one is old one becomes young. You see, Charming, I could not leave my kingdom without taking some of it with me.'
' Princess,' said he, ' you at least can never need this water, but I am an unhappy ambassador, whose death you desire. "Where you send me I will go, though I know I shall never return.'
And, as the Princess Goldilocks showed no sign of relenting, he started with his little dog for the Gloomy Cavern. Everyone he met on the way said:
4 What a pity that a handsome young man should throw away his life so carelessly! He is going to the cavern alone, though if he had a hundred men with him he could not succeed. Why does the Princess ask impossibilities ? '
Charming said nothing, but he was very sad. "When he was near the top of a hill he dismounted to let his horse graze, while Frisk amused himself by chasing flies. Charming knew he could not be far from the Gloomy Cavern, and on looking about him he saw a black hideous rock from which came a thick smoke, followed in a moment by one of the dragons with fire blazing from his mouth and eyes. His body was yellow and green, and his claws scarlet, and his tail was so long that it lay in a hundred coils. Frisk was so terrified at the sight of it that he did not know where to hide. Charming, quite determined to get the water or die, now drew his sword, and, taking the crystal flask which Pretty Goldilocks had given him to fill, said to Frisk:
' I feel sure that I shall never come back from this expedition ; when I am dead, go to the Princess and tell her that her errand has cost me my life. Then find the King my master, and relate all my adventures to him.'
As he spoke he heard a voice calling: ' Charming, Charming!'
' Who calls me ?' said he; then he saw an owl sitting in a hollow tree, who said to him:
' You saved my life when I was caught in the net, now I can repay you. Trust me with the flask, for I know all the ways of the Gloomy Cavern, and can fill it from the Fountain of Beauty.' Charming was only too glad to give her the flask, and she flitted into the cavern quite minoticed by the dragon, and after some time returned with the flask, filled to the very brim with sparkling water. Charming thanked her with all his heart, and joyfully hastened back to the town.
He went straight to the palace and gave the flask to the Princess, who had no further objection to make. So she thanked