PRINCESS MALEEN. 567
The Princess Maleen, being known in the castle only as the kitchen-maid, was now obliged to obey. She, therefore, dressed herself in the bride's clothes, and put on her jewels and ornaments.
When she entered the royal saloon, every one was astonished at her great beauty, and the king said to his son : " That is the bride I have chosen for you, and whom you must lead to the church."
The bridegroom, who had heard that his bride was plain, felt rather surprised, and said to himself: "She is like my Princess Maleen, and I should believe it was her if I did not know she had been shut up in the tower, and no doubt is dead."
However, he took her by the hand, and led her to church.
As they sat in the carriage together, he noticed that she looked thoughtful and sad, and he asked her if she was unhappy.
" No," she replied ; " but I was thinking of the Princess Maleen."
The prince did not reply, but he wondered very much that his bride should know that name.
Presently he asked : " Do you know the Princess Maleen ?"
" How should I know her ?" she replied.
As they approached the church, he threw round her neck a costly chain of gold, and fastened it with a gold clasp. Then they entered the church, and stood at the altar while the priest joined their hands and married them.
During their ride back to the castle, the princess spoke not one word the whole way, and, when she arrived, she hastened to the chamber of the bride, took off the rich dress and ornaments, and dressed herself in her old grey gown and kirtle. She kept nothing but the gold chain which the prince had given her.
The ugly bride then arrayed herself in the elegant bridal clothes, and, throwing a thick veil over her face, went to join the company at the marriage feast.
As soon as the guests were departed, the bridegroom said : "Where is the chain that I gave you at the church door today?"
"What chain?" she answered, "you gave me no chain."
"I placed it round your neck myself," he said, "and fastened it; therefore, if you know nothing about it, you are not my right bride."
He pulled the veil from her face as he spoke, and her remarkable ugliness made him start back with surprise and fright, exclaiming ; " Who are you ? what do you do here ?"