THE THREE FEATHERS. 465
" Little frogs, crooked legs, Run here and there, Bring me the large bag That hangs over there."
The young frogs fetched the bag, and, when it was opened, the old frog took from it a carpet so fine, and so beautifully worked, that nothing on earth could equal it. This she gave to the young man, who thanked her, and went away up the steps.
Meanwhile, his elder brothers, quite believing that their foolish brother would not be able to get any carpet at all, said one to another, "We need not take the trouble to go farther, and seek for anything very wonderful; ours is sure to be the best.*' And as the first person they met was a shepherd, wearing a shepherd's plaid, they bought the large plaid cloth, and carried it home to the king.
At the same time the younger brother returned with his beautiful carpet, and, when the king saw it, he was astonished, and said, "If justice is done, then the kingdom belongs to my youngest son."
But the two elder brothers gave the king no peace; they said it was impossible for Simple to become king, for his understanding failed in everything, and they begged their father to make another condition.
At last he said, " Whoever finds the most beautiful ring, and brings it to me, shall have the kingdom."
Away went the brothers a second time, and blew three feathers into the air to direct their way. The feathers of the two eldest flew east and west, but that of the youngest fell as before near the trap-door, and there rested. He at once descended the steps, and told the great frog that he wanted a most beautiful ring. She sent for her large bag, and drew from it a ring which sparkled with precious stones, and was so beautiful that no goldsmith on earth could make one like it.
The elder brothers had again laughed at Simple, when his feather fell so soon to the ground, and, forgetting his former success with the carpet, scorned the idea that he could ever find a gold ring. Sothey gave themselves no trouble, but merely took a plated ring from the harness of a carriage-horse, and brought it to their father.