4* FAITHFUL JOHN.
Then were the king and queen greatly troubled, and the king said, "Ah I my faithful John, how badly have I repaid thy devotion f and he commanded that the stone statue should be carried to his sleeping-room and placed near his bed, and whenever he looked at it, he said, " Oh ! if I could only restore thee to life again, my faithful John,"
And so time passed on, and the queen had twin sons, who as they grew up, were the joy and delight of their parents. One day while the queen was at church, the two children were amusing themselves in the room with their father, he cast his eyes on the statue, and feeling full of sorrow he sighed and said, " Oh ! if I could only restore thee to life, my most faithful John,"
Then the power of speech was given to the statue, and it replied, " Thou canst restore me to life again if thou wilt give up for me what you love most."
" Then," cried the king, " I would sacrifice all I have in the world for thee."
" Well," replied the statue, " if thou wilt with thy own hand cut off the heads of thy two dear children, and smear me all over with their blood, I shall be restored to life."
When the king heard this, he was at first stricken with horror, it was indeed dreadful that to save his faithful John, he must kill his two dear children. But when he recalled the great devotion of this faithful servant, who had died for his sake, he hesitated no longer, he drew his sword and with his own hand cut off the heads of his dear boys, and smeared the statue with their blood. In an instant the statue received new life, and his faithful John stood safe and well before the king and said,
"Thy devotion to me shall not remain unrewarded," and as he sp-«ke, he took up the heads of the two children, replaced them and quickly healed the wounds by anointing them with their own blood. So completely was this done that the next moment they were skipping and jumping about the room as if nothing had happened.
Now indeed was the king's heart full of joy, and as soon as he heard that the queen had returned, he made John and the children hide themselves in a large cupboard. Presently she entered the room, and he said, " Have you prayed at church ?"
" Yes," she replied, " for I am constantly thinking of our faith* fal John and what he has endured for our sakes."