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dered farther, but as they approached she heard in the bubbling spring the words:
"Who drinks of me,
"Brother, I pray you, do not drink of this spring; you will be changed into a wolf and devour me."
Again the brother denied himself and promised to wait; but he said, "At the next stream I must drink, say what you will, my thirst is so great."
Not far off ran a pretty streamlet, looking clear and bright; but here also in the murmuring waters the sister heard the words:
"Who dares to drink of me,
"Dear brother, do not drink," she began; but she was too late, for her brother had already knelt by the stream to drink, and as the first drop of water touched his lips he became a fawn. How the little sister wept over her enchanted brother, and how the fawn wept also!
He did not run away, but stayed close to her; and at last she said, "Stand still, dear fawn; don't fear; I must take care of you, but I will never leave you."
So she untied her little golden garter and fastened it round the neck of the fawn; then she gathered some soft green rushes and braided them into a string which she fastened to the fawn's golden collar. She then led him away into the forest.
After wandering about for some time they at last found a little deserted hut, and the sister was overjoyed, for she thought it would form a nice shelter for them both. So she led the fawn in and then went out alone to gather moss and dried leaves to make him a soft hed.
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 woidd 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 I"
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.
"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 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