38 FAITHFUL JOHN.
When he entered the courtyard of the palace, he saw standing by a fountain, a beautiful maiden, who was drawing water in a golden vessel. As she turned to go with the sparkling watei in her hands, she caught sight of a strange man and enquired who he was. "I am a merchant," he replied, and opening his case he showed her some of its contents.
"Oh ! what beautiful things," she exclaimed, setting down her pitcher and examining them one by one. " The princess must see these," she continued; "she is so fond of golden trinkets that I am sure she will buy them all!" Then she took him by the hand and led him into the castle, for she was the princess's maid.
As soon as the princess saw the beautiful merchandise, she was delighted, and said, "The workmanship is so exquisite that I should like to buy all you have."
But faithful John replied, " I am only the servant of a rich merchant who owns these articles, and these are nothing to what my master has with him on board ship; there you would see most costly golden trinkets and far more precious."
" Can you not bring them to me ?" she asked.
" Oh ! no," he replied ; " it would occupy many days to do so, and there are more than your palace would hold."
This only renewed her anxiety and wish to see them, so at last she said, " Conduct me to the ship, I will go myself and see what your master's treasures really are."
In a very short time faithful John was joyfully leading the beautiful princess to the ship, and into the presence of the king, who as soon as he beheld her, saw that her beauty was far greater than that of the beautiful statue of her in his own palace, and his heart bounded with joy. He offered her his hand to lead her on deck, and as soon as she was safely on board, faithful John went over quietly to the captain and told him to weigh anchor and spread all sail immediately. His orders were obeyed, and in a few minutes the ship was flying before the wind like a bird.
Meanwhile the king was showing the beautiful princess in the Cabin and all over the ship the various and rich cups and vessels, vases, and other wonderful things it contained. He was so kind and gentle to her, and the golden curiosities were so delightful, that she did not observe that the ship was leaving the shore. At