464 THE THREE FEATHERS.
There was once a king, who had three sons. Two of them were considered wise and prudent; but the youngest, who said very little, appeared to others so silly that they gave him the name of Simple. When the king became old and weak, and began to think that his end was near, he knew not to which of his sons to leave his kingdom.
So he sent for them, and said, " I have made a determination that whichever of you brings me the finest carpet, shall be king after my death."
They immediately prepared to start on their expedition, and, that there might be no dispute between them, they took three feathers. As they left the castle, each blew a feather into the air, and said, "We will travel in whatever direction these feathers take." One flew to the east, and the other to the west; but the third soon fell on the earth, and remained there. Then the two eldest brothers turned one to the right, and the other to the left, and they laughed at Simple, because where his feather fell he was obliged to remain.
Simple sat down after his brothers were gone, feeling very sad; but presently, looking round, he noticed, near where his feather lay, a kind of trap-door. He rose quickly, went towards it, and lifted it up. To his surprise he saw a flight of steps, down which he descended, and reached another door; hearing voices within, he knocked hastily. The voices were singing—
" Little frogs, crooked legs, \ "Where do you hide ?
< Go and see quickly
Who is outside."
At this, the door opened of itself, and the youth saw a large fat frog, seated with a number of little frogs round her.
On seeing him, the large frog asked what he wanted.
" I have a great wish for the finest and most beautiful carpet that can be got," he replied. Then the old frog called again to her little ones—