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out alone to gather moss and dried leaves to make him a soft bed.
Every morning she went out to gather dried roots, nuts, and berries for her own food, and sweet, fresh grass for the fawn, which he ate out of her hand, and the poor little animal went out with her and played about, as happy as the day was long.
When evening came and the poor sister felt tired, she would kneel down and say her prayers, and then lay her delicate head on the fawn's back, which was a soft, warm pillow on which she could sleep peacefully. Had this dear brother only kept his own proper form, how happy they would have been together! After they had been alone in the forest for some time and the little sister had grown a lovely maiden and the fawn a large stag, a numerous hunting party came to the forest, and among them the king of the country.
The sounding horn, the barking of the dogs, the halloo of the huntsmen, resounded through the forest, and were heard by the stag, who became eager to join his companions.
“O, dear!” he said, “do let me go and see the hunt; I cannot restrain myself.” And he begged so hard that at last she reluctantly consented.
“But remember,” she said, “I must lock the cottage door against those huntsmen, so when you come back in the evening and knock, I shall not admit you unless you say, 'Dear little sister, let me in.'”
He bounded off as she spoke, scarcely stopping to listen, for it was so delightful for him again to breathe the fresh air and be free.
He had not run far when the king's chief hunter caught sight of the beautiful animal, and started off
in chase of him; but it was no easy matter to overtake so rapid an animal. Once, when the hunter thought he had him safe, the fawn sprang over the bushes and disappeared.
As it was now nearly dark he ran up to the little cottage, knocked at the door and cried, “Dear little sister, let me in!”
The door was instantly opened, and oh, how glad his sister was to see him safely resting on his soft, pleasant bed!
A few days after this the huntsmen were again in the forest; and when the fawn heard the halloo he could not rest in peace, but begged his sister again to let him go.
She opened the door and said, “I will let you go this time; but pray do not forget to say what I told you when you return this evening.”
The chief hunter very soon espied the beautiful fawn with the golden collar, pointed it out. to the king, and they determined to hunt it.
They chased him with all their skill till the evening; but he was too light and nimble for them to catch, till a shot wounded him slightly in the foot, so that he was obliged to hide himself in the bushes. After the huntsmen were gone, he limped slowly home.
One of them, however, determined to follow him at a distance and discover where he went. What was his surprise at seeing him go up to a door and knock, and at hearing him say, “Dear little sister, let me in.” The door was opened only a little way, and was quickly shut; but the huntsman had seen enough to make him full of wonder, and he returned and described to the king what he had seen.
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“We will have one more chase to-morrow," said the king, “and discover this mystery.”
In the meantime the loving sister was terribly alarmed at finding the stag's foot wounded and bleeding. She quickly washed off the blood, and after bathing the wound, placed healing herbs on it, and said, “Lie down on your bed, dear fawn; the wound will soon heal, if you rest your foot.”
In the morning the wound was so much better that the stag felt the foot almost as strong as ever, and so, when he again heard the halloo of the hunters, he could not rest. “O, dear sister, I must go once more; it will be easy for me to avoid the hunters now, and my foot feels quite well; they will not hunt me unless they see me running, and I don't mean to do that.”
But his sister wept, and begged him not to go. “If they kill you, dear fawn, I shall be here alone in the forest, forsaken by the whole world.”
“And I shall die of grief,” he said, "if I remain here listening to the hunter's horn.”
So at length his sister, with a heavy heart, set him free, and he bounded away joyfully into the forest.
As soon as the king caught sight of him he said to the huntsmen, “Follow that stag about, but don't hurt him.”
So they hunted him all day, but at the approach of sunset the king said to the hunter who had followed the fawn the day before, “Come and show me the little cottage.”
So they went together, and when the king saw it he sent his companion home, and went on alone so quickly that he arrived there before the fawn; and
shain the hunter's... heavy heart, the going up to the little door, knocked and said softly, “Dear little sister, let me in!”
As the door opened the king stepped in, and in great astonishment saw a maiden more beautiful than he had ever seen in his life standing before him. But how frightened she felt to see, instead of her red fawn, a noble gentleman with a gold crown on his head!
However, he appeared very friendly, and after a little talk he held out his hand to her, and said, “Will you go with me to my castle and be my dear wife?”
“Ah, yes,” replied the maiden, “I would willingly go; but I cannot leave my dear fawn; he must go with me wherever I am.”
“He shall remain with you as long as you live,” replied the king, “and I will never ask you to forsake him.”
While they were talking the fawn came bounding in, looking quite well and happy. Then his sister fastened the string of rushes to his collar, took it in her hand, and led him away from the cottage in the wood to where the king's beautiful horse waited for him.
The king placed the maiden before him on his horse and rode away to his castle, the fawn running by their side. Soon after, their marriage was celebrated with great splendor, and the fawn was taken the greatest care of, and played where he pleased, or roamed about the castle grounds in happiness and safety.
In the meantime the wicked stepmother, who had caused these two young people such misery, supposed that the sister had been devoured by wild
beasts and that the fawn had been hunted to death. Therefore, when she heard of their happiness, such envy and malice arose in her heart that she could find no rest till she had tried to destroy it.
She and her ugly daughter came to the castle when the queen had a little baby, and one of them pretended to be a nurse, and at last they got the mother and child into their power.
They shut the queen up in the bath and tried to suffocate her, and the old woman put her own ugly daughter in the queen’s bed, that the king might not know she was away.
The daughter would not, however, let the king speak to her, but pretended that she must be kept quite quiet.
The queen soon escaped from the bathroom, where the wicked old woman had shut her up, but she did not go far, as she wanted to watch over her child and the fawn.
For two nights the baby's nurse saw a figure like the queen come into the room and take up her baby and nurse it. Then she told the king, and he determined to watch himself.
The old stepmother, who acted as nurse to her ugly daughter, had said that the queen was too weak to see him, and never left her room.
“There cannot be two queens," said the king to himself, “so to-night I will watch in the nursery.”
As soon as the figure came in and took up her baby, he saw it was his real wife, and caught her in his arms, saying, “You are my own beloved wife, as beautiful and as well as ever.”
The wicked witch had thrown the queen into a trance, hoping she would die, and that the king