THE CRYSTAL BALL.
" Ah," they replied, " you call it old ; you don't know its value. It is what is called a wishing-hat, and whoever puts it on can wish himself where he will, and in a moment he is there."
" Give me the hat," said the young man. " I will go on a little way, and when I call you must both run a race to overtake me, and whoever reaches me first, to him the hat shall belong."
The giants agreed, and the youth, taking the hat, put it on and went away; but he was thinking so much of the princess that he forgot the giants and the hat, and continued to go farther and farther without calling them.
Presently he sighed deeply and said, " Ah, if I were only at the castle of the golden sun." The words were scarcely out of his mouth when he found himself on a high mountain, and before him stood the castle of the golden sun. He stepped in through the open door, and went from room to room, till he came at last to one in which the princess sat. But how shocked he was when he saw her. She had a complexion as grey as ashes, her face was wrinkled, her eyes dim, and her hair red.
* Are you the king's daughter, whose beauty is so renowned ?" he cried.
"Ah," she replied, "this is not my own shape. The eyes of mankind can only see me in this hideous form and appearance, for I am under a spell. If, however, you wish to know what I really am, you must look in the mirror, which never allows itself to be mistaken, but represents my image truthfully."
She gave him, as she spoke, a looking-glass, and he saw in it the representation of a beautiful maiden, as the world once knew her, with the tears of sorrow running down her cheeks.
" Tell me how to set you free," said the young man. " I shrink from no danger."
She replied, " Whoever can obtain a crystal ball, and hold it before the sorcerer, will destroy his power, and I shall instantly regain my proper form and freedom. But," she continued, " so many have already lost their lives in the attempt, and it pains me to think that your young blood should flow, if you venture to encounter such a dangerous undertaking."
"Nothing shall hinder me," he replied. "Only tell me what I am to do."
"You shall know all," said the princess. "Now, listen. You