FAITHFUL JOHN. 49
hall a dish, and the wrought bride-shirt that lay on it seemed as if of gold and silver. The young King went up to it and was going to put it on, but Faithful John pushed him away, picked it up with his gloved hands, threw it quickly on the fire, and there let it burn. The other servants began grumbling again, and said,
" Look, he is even burning up the king's bridal shirt!" But the young King said,
u Who knows but that there may be a good reason for it ? let him be, he is my Faithful John."
Then the wedding feast was held; and the bride led the dance; Faithful John watched her carefully, and all at once she grew pale and fell down as if she were dead. Then he went quickly to her, and carried her into a chamber hard by, laid her down, and kneeling, took three drops of blood from her right breast. Immediately she drew breath again and raised herself up, but the young King witnessing all, and not knowing why Faithful John had done this, grew very angry, and cried out,
" Throw him into prison !"
The next morning Faithful John was condemned to death and led to the gallows, and as he stood there ready to suffer, he said,
I " He who is about to die is permitted to speak once before his end ; may I claim that right ? "
" Yes," answered the King, "it is granted to you." Then said Faithful John,
" I have been condemned unjustly, for I have always been faithful," and he related how he had heard on the sea voyage the talk of the ravens, and how he had done everything in order to save his master. Then cried the King,
" O my Faithful John, pardon ! pardon ! lead him down !" But Faithful John, as he spoke the last words, fell lifeless, and became stone.
The King and Queen had great grief because of this, and the King said,
" Ah, how could I have evil-rewarded such faithfulness ! " and he caused the stone image to be lifted up and put to stand in his sleeping-room by the side of his bed. And as often as he saw it he wept and said,