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yet." He turned to the man who waited, and said, "Tell my lord the king that I cannot obey his commands to visit him unless he sends me suitable
THE PRINCE SHOWS THE DRAGON S TONGUES
clothes for a royal palace, and a carriage with six horses, and servants to wait upon me."
The servant returned with the message, and when the king heard it he said to his daughter, "What shall I do?"
"I would send for him as he requests," she replied.
So they sent royal robes, artd a carriage and six horses, with servants, and when the hunter saw them coming he said to the landlord, "See! they have sent for me as I wished."
He dressed himself in the kingly clothes, took the handkerchief containing the dragon's tongues, and drove away to the castle.
As soon as he arrived the king said to his daughter, "How shall I receive him?"
"I should go and meet him," she replied.
So the king went to meet him, and led him into the royal apartment, and all his animals followed. The king pointed him to a seat by his daughter. The marshal sat on her other side as bridegroom, but the visitor knew it not.
Just at this moment the dragon's seven heads were brought into the room to show to the company, and the king said, "These heads belonged to the dragon who was for so many years the terror of this town. The marshal slew the dragon, and saved my daughter's life; therefore I have given her to him in marriage, according to my promise."
At this the hunter arose, and advancing, opened the seven mouths of the dragon, and said, "Where are the tongues?"
The marshal turned white with fear, and knew not what to do. At last he said in his terror, "Dragons have no tongues."
"Liars get nothing for their pains," said the hunter; "the dragon's tongues shall prove who was his conqueror!"
He unfolded the handkerchief as he spoke. There lay the seven tongues. He took them up and placed each in the mouth of the dragon's head to which it belonged, and it fitted exactly. Then he took up the pocket handkerchief which was marked with the name of the king's daughter, showed it to the maiden, and asked her if she had not given it to him.
"Yes," she replied; "I gave it to you on the day you killed the dragon."
He called his animals to him. took from each the necklace, and from the lion the one with the golden clasp, and asked to whom they belonged.
"They are mine," she replied; "they are a part of my necklace which had five strings of beads, and which I divided among the animals because they aided you in killing the dragon, and afterward tore him to pieces. I cannot tell how the marshal could have carried me away from you," she continued, "for you told me to lie down and sleep after the fatigue and fright I had endured."
"I slept myself," he replied, "for I was quite worn out with my combat, and as I lay sleeping the marshal came and cut off my head."
"I begin to understand now," said the king. "The marshal carried away my daughter, supposing you were dead, and made us believe that he had killed the dragon, till you arrived with the tongues, the handkerchief, and the necklace. But what restored you to life?" asked the king.
Then the hunter related how one of his animals had healed him and restored him to life through the application of a wonderful root, and how he had been wandering about for a whole year, and had only returned to the town that very day, and heard from the landlord of the marshal's deceit.
Then said the king to his daughter, "Is it true that this man killed the dragon?"
"Yes," she answered, "quite true, and I can venture now to expose the wickedness of the marshal; for he carried me away that day against my wish, and forced me with threats to keep silent. I did not know he had tried to kill the real slayer of the dragon, but I hoped my deliverer would come back, and on that account I begged to have the marriage put off for a year and a day."
The king, after this, ordered twelve judges to be summoned to try the marshal, and the sentence passed upon him was that he should be torn to pieces by wild oxen. As soon as the marshal was punished the king gave his daughter to the hunter, and appointed him stadtholder over the whole kingdom.
The marriage caused great joy, and the hunter, who was now a prince, sent for his father and foster father, and loaded them with treasures.
Neither did he forget the landlord, but sent for him to come to the castle, and said, "See, landlord, I have married the king's daughter, and your house and farmyard belong to me."
"That is quite true,'' replied the landlord.
"Ah," said the prince, "but I do not mean to keep them; they are still yours, and I make you a present of the hundred gold pieces also."
For a time the young prince and his wife lived most happily together. He still went out hunting, which was his great delight, and his faithful animals remained with him. They lived, however, in a wood close by, from which he could call them at any time; yet the wood was not safe, for he once went in and did not get out again very easily.
With the king's permission he frequently went hunting. On one occasion, while riding with a large number of attendants in the wood, he saw at a distance a snow-white deer, and he said to his people, "Stay here till I come back; I must have that beautiful creature, and so many will frighten her."
Then he rode away through the wood, and only his animals followed him. The attendants drew rein, and waited till evening, but as he did not come they rode home and told the young princess that her husband had gone into an enchanted forest to hunt a white deer, and had not returned.
This made her very anxious, more especially when the morrow came and he did not return; indeed, he could not, for he kept riding after the beautiful wild animal, without being able to overtake it. At times be fancied she was within reach of his gun, but the next moment she was leaping away at a great distance, and at last she vanished altogether.
Not till then did he notice how far he had penetrated into the forest. He raised his horn and blew, but there was no answer, for his attendants could not hear him; and then as night came on he saw plainly that he should not be able to find his way home till the next day, so he alighted from his horse, lit a fire by a tree, and determined to make himself as comfortable as he could for the night.
As he sat under the tree by the fire, with his animals lying near him, he heard, as he thought, a human voice. He looked round, but could see nothing. Presently there was a groan over his head; he looked up and saw an old woman sitting on a branch, who kept grumbling, "Oh, oh, how cold I am! I am freezing!"