530 THE SPINDLE, NEEDLE, AND SHUTTLE.
well, so she had as much as she needed for all her wants, and a little also to spare for the poor.
It happened about this time that the son of the king of the country started on his travels to find a bride. The prince could choose for himself, excepting that his wife must not be poor, and he did not care for riches. So he decided in his heart that he would try and find one who was at the same time both the richest and the poorest.
When he arrived at the village near which the maiden dwelt, he inquired first for the richest maiden in the place, and on being told, he then asked : " And which is the poorest ?"
" The poorest is a maiden who lives at the end of the village in a little cottage alone," was the ready reply. "Her cottage is easily found, for a winding path through a field leads to it."
The prince, in going to this cottage, rode through the village, and at the door of a stately house sat a maiden richly dressed, and as the king's son approached, she went out and bowed herself before him in a most courtly manner. The prince looked at her, but he said not a word, and rode on without stopping till he arrived at the house of the poor maiden.
She, however, was not seated at the door, but in her own little room busily at work. The prince drew rein, alighted from his horse, and peeped into the neat apartment Just at that moment a ray of sunshine darted through the window, and lighted up everything within, so that he could see the maiden spinning at her wheel with the most earnest diligence.
Presently she glanced up, and seeing a noble-looking gentleman looking at her through the window, she cast down her eyes and continued her spinning, while her cheeks were covered with a rosy blush.
Whether the threads were even and regular at that moment, we cannot say, but she continued to spin without looking up again till the prince remounted his horse and rode away.
Then she rose and opened the window, saying to herself: "How very warm the room is to-day." But she looked out and watched the stranger till she could no longer distinguish the white plume in his hat, and not till after he was quite out of sight did she return to her spinning-wheel and work as busily as ever.
Her thoughts were now on the handsome prince, although she