GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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282                     THE FALSE BRIDE.
young bride was courageous; she said nothing, and again mounted her horse and rode away for several miles. The heat still con­tinued, and the princess again suffered from thirst, and presently they came to a running stream. Forgetting all the unkind words of her companion, she once more asked her to alight and fetch her a little water in the cup. Again she replied haughtily that she might get it herself; she was not going to be her maid.
She was therefore obliged to get down and drink from the flow­ing stream as she had done before. This time, as she got off her horse, she wept, and heard the voice in her bosom say, " Ah, if your mother knew this, she would break her heart." But as she stooped over the edge of the stream to drink, the piece of cloth, on which were the blood-drops, fell from her bosom into the water, and floated away without her noticing it in her sorrow and trouble.
Her companion, however, saw it, and congratulated herself that now she could do as she liked with the bride; the piece of linen being lost, she had become weak and powerless to oppose her.
As she turned round to mount her horse again, her companion said to her, " Falada belongs to me, and I mean to ride him, and you must ride on my horse." Then, with harsh and cruel words, the woman obliged her to take off her royal dress, and put on her own common one, and at last made her swear that when they reached the king's court she would not reveal to a single person that she was a princess. And she told her that if she had not taken this oath, she would have killed her on the spot. But Falada saw and heard all that passed, and took care to remember it.
The lady's-maid rode after this on Falada, and the true bride on the inferior horse, and so they travelled farther till at last they arrived at the royal castle. Their arrival was announced with great joy. The king's son hastened forward to receive them, and assisted the lady's-maid to alight from her horse, thinking that she was his bride. He led her up the steps into the castle, while the real bride remained behind.
Presently the old king looked out of a window, and saw her standing in the court, and he could not help noticing that she looked refined and delicate, and was very beautiful. He went out, and with kingly gentleness asked her why she was staying there, and what she wanted, and who she was.
She replied: " I came all this way as a companion, but I cannot