• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Princes three
 Seekers seven; or, The finding...
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Princes three and Seekers seven
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087356/00001
 Material Information
Title: Princes three and Seekers seven four fairy tales
Alternate Title: Seekers seven
Physical Description: 8, 260 p., 5 leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Colquhoun, Mara
Stock, Elliot ( Publisher, Printer )
Publisher: Elliot Stock
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1898
Edition: Cheap ed.
 Subjects
Subject: Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Knights and knighthood -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Courts and courtiers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages, Imaginary -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Princesses -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Musicians -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Palaces -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Love -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Liberty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Magic -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Sacrifice -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Honor -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Violin -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fantasy literature -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Children's stories -- 1898   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Fantasy literature   ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
Children's stories
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Mara Cilquhoun ; illustrated by Emily Barnard.
General Note: Illustrated endpapers.
General Note: Includes prose and verse.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087356
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002224664
notis - ALG4932
oclc - 262616071

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Half Title
        Half Title 1
        Half Title 2
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Dedication
        Dedication
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
    List of Illustrations
        List of Illustrations
    Princes three
        Page 1
        The sword of Prince Fortunate; or, The victory of honour
            Page 2
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
        The Red Prince; or, The victory of love
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 54a
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
        The Blue Prince; or, The victory of sacrifice
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 101
            Page 102
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
            Page 120
            Page 121
            Page 122
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
            Page 127
            Page 128
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
            Page 134
            Page 135
            Page 136
            Page 137
            Page 138
            Page 139
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
            Page 142a
            Page 143
            Page 144
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
            Page 149
            Page 150
            Page 151
            Page 152
            Page 153
            Page 154
            Page 155
            Page 156
            Page 157
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
            Page 164
            Page 165
            Page 166
            Page 167
            Page 168
            Page 169
            Page 170
    Seekers seven; or, The finding of Rosamond
        Page 171
        Page 172
        The marching song
            Page 173
            Page 174
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 177
            Page 178
            Page 178a
            Page 179
            Page 180
            Page 181
            Page 182
        The parting of the ways
            Page 183
            Page 184
            Page 185
            Page 186
            Page 187
            Page 188
            Page 189
            Page 190
        Among the high snows
            Page 191
            Page 192
            Page 193
            Page 194
            Page 195
            Page 196
            Page 196a
            Page 197
        Through the enchanted forest
            Page 198
            Page 199
            Page 200
            Page 201
            Page 202
            Page 203
            Page 204
            Page 205
            Page 206
            Page 207
            Page 208
            Page 209
            Page 210
            Page 211
            Page 212
        Into the cold, white cavern
            Page 213
            Page 214
            Page 215
            Page 216
            Page 217
            Page 218
            Page 219
            Page 220
            Page 221
        The tower of the winding stairway
            Page 222
            Page 223
            Page 224
            Page 225
            Page 226
            Page 227
            Page 228
            Page 229
            Page 230
            Page 231
            Page 232
            Page 233
            Page 234
            Page 235
        The home of the fairy Rodina
            Page 236
            Page 237
            Page 238
            Page 239
            Page 240
            Page 241
            Page 242
            Page 243
            Page 244
            Page 245
            Page 246
            Page 247
            Page 248
            Page 249
            Page 250
            Page 251
            Page 252
        The return of the Princess Rosamond
            Page 253
            Page 254
            Page 255
            Page 256
            Page 257
            Page 258
            Page 259
            Page 260
    Back Matter
        Back Matter 1
        Back Matter 2
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text



















PRINCES THREE AND SEEKERS
SEVEN.



























A,
sit,


THE MAGIC VIOLIN.


Frontispiece.


Page 104.








PRINCES THREE


AND


SEEKERS


SEVEN.


four fairyp Zales.



BY
MARA COLQUHOUN.


ILLUSTRATED BY EMILY BARNARD.




CHEAP EDITION.




LONDON:
ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
1898.




























rebifate b

TO

VIOLA, MOLLY, AND HARRY.


October, 1896.






















CONTENTS.





PRINCES THREE.
PAGE
PROLOGUE 3

THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE; OR, THE
VICTORY OF HONOUR.
CHAPTER
I. THE POWER OF THE FOREST 5
II. THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE PALACE 20
III. THE WORK OF THE SWORD 32

THE RED PRINCE; OR, THE VICTORY OF LOVE.
I. THE PRINCE SEEKS THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE 49
II. THE PRINCE IS BAFFLED BY THE .MYSTERY 65
III. THE PRINCE DISCOVERS THE SECRET 75

THE BLUE PRINCE; OR, THE VICTORY OF
SACRIFICE.

I. STORM -. 95
II. FEAR 116
III. CONQUEST 132
IV. JOY 152
EPILOGUE 169
























SEEKERS SEVEN;

OR,

THE FINDING OF ROSAMOND.


CHAPTER PAGE
I. THE MARCHING SONG 173
II. THE PARTING OF THE WAYS- 183
III. AMONG THE HIGH SNOWS 191
IV. THROUGH THE ENCHANTED FOREST 198
V. INTO THE COLD, WHITE CAVERN 213
VI. THE TOWER OF THE WINDING STAIRWAY 222
VII. THE HOME OF THE FAIRY RODINA 236
VIII. THE RETURN OF THE PRINCESS ROSAMOND- 253



























LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


THE MAGIC VIOLIN -

THE MERMAID'S HOME -

THE WICKED FAIRY RODINA

THE PALACE TILTYARD
THE BEAUTIFUL FAIRY COLUMBA -


Frontispiece

To face age 54

,, 142

S 178
96


























PRINCES THREE.


























THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE;

OR,

THE VICTORY OF HONOUR.
















PROLOGUE.


THIS first legend in my book is, I am sure, familiar
and dear to all lovers of fairy folk; but it is the only
one of these stories which has been already related,
and my excuse for venturing thus to retell an already
well-worn tale is simply that I have not the heart to
separate the three brothers, who, -despite their
rivalry for the kingdom, were ever most true and
loyal comrades. I am aware of no historian who
has followed the fortunes of the two elder Princes,
and I am therefore emboldened to recount their
adventures, sure that many old friends of the White
Cat and her lazy young Prince will be pleased, not
only to hear something further concerning him, but
more especially to learn how it fared with the Red
Prince and the Blue Prince, when they, too, were
sent forth on the same three extraordinary quests
as their youngest brother, with whose story I will
therefore commence.




















CHAPTER I.


THE POWER OF THE FOREST.

'When will the hundred summers die,
And thought and life be born again,
And newer knowledge, drawing nigh,
Bring truth that sways the souls of men?
Here all things in their place remain,
As all were ordered ages since.
Come Care, come Pleasure, Hope and Pain,
And bring the fated fairy Prince.'

ONCE upon a time there was an old King, the
father of three fine young Princes. He ruled over
a large and beautiful kingdom, and the city where
he lived was very magnificent. A beautiful river
flowed through it, and there were several gay and
fine palaces built on its banks.
The citizens, however, were not always very easy
to govern, and sometimes they were discontented
with the old King, and rebelled against his laws.
It displeased them when he made war on the
neighboring kings, and it equally displeased them
when he did not.
Now, if only we had a young King to reign over
us !' they said; our King grows very weak and old.'







6 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE

When he heard of their discontent and murmur-
ings, he assembled all the Court in the great marble
hall of his palace, and, summoning his three sons,
addressed them thus:
'My sons, I am now growing an old man, and
the burden of the State is too heavy for me; I am
anxious to lay aside its cares, that I may have rest
and quiet in my old age. Therefore, I am willing
to give up my kingdom to one of you; but, seeing
that it is my duty to choose, for the sake of my
people, the most worthy among you as successor
to my throne, and that it is most difficult for me
to determine myself which of you, my sons, will
make the wisest and most worthy King, I pro-
pose to send you forth for one year upon a quest,
and whoever best fulfils it, he shall then be pro-
claimed King.'
Here he was interrupted by the applause of
the entire Court; when this had subsided, he con-
tinued :
'To-morrow you will ride forth from this city
together, and when you come to the place where
three roads separate you will each choose a dif-
ferent direction; and you will each ride alone into
the wide world to seek what adventures may befall
you. You are my sons, and I need not remind
you, under all circumstances, to conduct yourselves
as Princes of noble blood. You shall be furnished
with purses sufficient for this long journey. At the
end of a year, all but one day, you are to return
here and present yourselves before me in this same
palace. The object of the quest which I set before







THE POWER OF THE FOREST


you is the smallest and most beautiful dog that is
to be found.'
The Princes, who had been listening with pro-
found attention and awe to the King's solemn
speech, here lifted their heads and looked at each
other in some surprise; the quest itself seemed so
easy, the motive and the preparations so great.
But the King again continued, without heeding their
surprise:
'Go, my sons. Be prompt in your departure
and punctual in your return.'
He held his hand graciously for them to kiss,
which they did kneeling, and then went immediately
to set about their necessary preparations. The
King had trained them in habits of prompt obedience,
which is a royal quality. So the next day found
the three brothers starting on their way to visit
the wide world.
After some slight discussion at the parting of the
roads, the youngest brother, whose fortunes we are
about to follow, turned into the forest on the right
and rode gaily along, singing as he went.
This young Prince was generally called the Black
Prince, because of his favourite suit of black velvet,
just as his brothers had been named the Red and
Blue Princes; but the citizens had given him another
name, which became him even better-Prince
Fortunate -for the Black Prince was always
lucky.
He was very fair, young, and boyish, but of
splendid courage, and excelled in all manly sports
and exercises. If he appeared in a tournament







8 THE SWORD .OF PRINCE FORTUNATE

his lance was successful; if he marched with the
army victory was insured; if he went on an embassy
-it was granted.; and yet it seemed as if these suc-
cesses were .due less to his personal merits than
to some mysterious and invariable good fortune
which followed his footsteps-hence his name of
.Prince Fortunate.
He was filled with delight at the prospect of a
year of free wandering, and was picturing to him-
self as he rode through the forest a hundred brave
adventures, in which he was always the victorious
hero.
At first the forest paths lay clear before him;
the tall pines rose above his head, and through the
straight stems he saw the bars of the crimson sun-
set. As he pressed into the wood the paths became
entangled, the sun sank, and by the dim twilight
the Prince made his way onward with difficulty.
He was a soldier, however, used to scanty fare
and hard campaigns, and the idea of a night in the
forest did not frighten him in the least.
Gradually, however, he became aware of strange
and unearthly noises; the boughs creaked myste-'
riously overhead, the sound of wordless voices was
in the air, strange dull shrieks and wails echoed in
his ears, and around him he felt sure invisible shapes
were stirring; and then he remembered that the
great forest, which no one had ever penetrated, was
said to be under the enchantment of a strange and
wicked wizard, who lived in a lonely tower on a high
rock.
The Prince laid his hand on his sword; but pre-







THE POWER OF THE FOREST


sently, finding his horse stumble in the dark, he
dismounted, and began to lead it in search of some
rude hut or other mean shelter..
The poor horse, indeed, was far more alarmed
than his master; he dragged on the rein, laid back
his ears, shivered and snorted with terror. Just
then a low soughing sound, as of wind catching the
upper boughs of the trees, smote on the Prince's
ear. "He knew it portended.a coming storm, and
looked about more eagerly for some place of shelter;
but none appeared.
The storm, however, did not -delay; the first
sobs of the wind in the pine-boughs were followed
by the low muttering of thunder, and just as he
emerged from the thickest of the covert into a
somewhat open clearing, it burst overhead.
He was deafened by the crashing thunder, the
whole forest seemed on fire with the quick succes-
sion of terrific lightning flashes, and the rain and
hail beat on him without mercy.
The present terror and danger swept from his
mind the mystery of the haunted wood, for he had
much ado now to hold his maddened horse, which
plunged and reared with each fresh crash of thunder
or flash of fire.
The forest seemed to stretch around him on all
sides for miles; by the vivid light of the storm he
saw the endless dark lines of pine-stems, and for
the moment could think of nothing better than to
stand still where he was-the little clearing affording
him at any rate protection from the falling trees,
which were strewn on every side and rendered







o1 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE

further riding impossible. The wind shrieked and
wailed through the trees, and the rain and hail
redoubled their fury.
The Prince at last could hold his horse no longer;
it broke from him with a terrified neigh, and in one
minute was lost in the darkness of the forest. He
scarcely realized if he stood in that weird spot
exposed to all the fury of the terrible storm for a
few minutes or for hours. He experienced a curious
sensation that time did not matter, and that the
night would probably never end !
He knew he was numb with cold, blinded and
cut by the hail, soaked to the skin, and that with
difficulty he held his cloak against the wind, which
strove pitilessly to tear it from his back; then
suddenly the storm ceased-as suddenly as it had
begun-and darkness fell upon the forest, alive once
more with only ghostly sounds.
Prince Fortunate had a brave heart, for even now
it did not quail; besides, he had so fallen into the
habit of trusting to his good luck, that he never
doubted a happy ending to the worst adventure.
Looking intently in the direction his horse had
taken, he thought he made out a light glimmering
through the trees, and, pushing his way towards it,
he saw another and yet another gleam forth, and
soon drew near to a most beautiful palace, brilliantly
illuminated. Wondering much at finding a palace
in the heart of the forest, he went slowly up the
broad marble steps, and was just lifting his hand
to ring the bell-when the door was flung wide
open.







THE POWER OF THE FOREST


Within were warmth and light, and a great fire
blazing in a spacious hall. The Prince needed no
bidding to enter, and gladly warmed his chilled
limbs at the welcome blaze. The great door closed
silently behind him.
He looked round, in some surprise, to find no
attendants visible in so splendid a palace, and then
he perceived a heavy curtain in the archway to his
right being slowly drawn aside. He accepted this
as a sign to enter, and, doing so, found himself in a
most comfortable apartment; here, too, a fire burned
on the hearth, and on the bed lay a magnificent
black velvet suit, similar to his own. The Prince,
who was wet and shivering with cold, felt much
tempted to make use of it, and approaching, per-
ceived a paper lying on the top, on which were
these words:
'Welcome, Prince! You are expected; make
use, I pray you, of the poor cheer which my house
can provide.'
He stared at it for some time in utter amazement.
Certainly he could not be the expected Prince; and
yet he felt very much inclined to take the welcome
to himself. After some hesitation, he laid aside his
own wet suit, and made use of the splendid one
provided, feeling very glad that his usual good luck
should have led him here instead of the Prince for
whom the welcome evidently was prepared. 'Poor
fellow!' he mused; 'perhaps he is still wandering
in the wet, cold forest.'
As he completed his toilet, he felt the strange
sensation of someone's hands helping to fasten his







12 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE

cloak and secure his sword; he started back and
looked around; no one was to be seen, and yet he
surely felt again the touch of those invisible hands.
'This is indeed a palace of enchantment,' he mur-
mured. I wonder if the mysterious welcome will
extend to a supper?' As he walked into the hall
the curtain over the opposite doorway lifted in the
same strange manner, and, entering the apartment
beyond, he saw, to his joy, a delightful supper pre-
pared. This time he needed no invitation, but
enjoyed everything set before him, being far too
hungry even to wonder that the dishes were handed
and the wines poured by invisible hands. Nothing
was wanted to complete the elegance of the repast.
The lights shone on sparkling glass and glittering
silver; the meal consisted of soup and game, trifles,
creams, and sparkling wines.
Fortunate slept soundly that night, and forgot
all about the haunted forest and the enchanted
palace; indeed, when he awoke it was very long
before he could recollect where he was. 'Has the
real expected Prince arrived ?' he wondered, while
arraying himself again in the splendid suit. It gave
him a fresh start and a very disagreeable sensation
when he again felt the invisible hands helping him
to complete his toilet; but after a moment he recol-
lected, and, accepting their services, walked out of
his chamber with a pleasant assurance that break-
fast would be awaiting him. And so it was, with a
venison pasty and a great bowl of cream and many
other good things.
When he had finished, the Prince stood in the







THE POWER OF THE FOREST


hall and meditated. The storm had quite passed
away; clearly, he ought to pursue his road, but
where was his horse? To trudge through the
endless forest on foot would be far from amusing;
and, then, he scarcely liked to leave without thank-
ing someone for the splendid hospitality he had
received. But who ?-that was the question. As he
stood, thoughtfully seeking counsel in the light of
the big fire, he saw a crimson damask curtain, hang-
ing at the end of the hall, move; then it was drawn
aside in the mysterious way which he now took as a
matter of course.
He immediately entered a great and beautiful
gallery. The long windows looked out on to smooth
lawns, where fountains played; the oak floor was
highly polished, the walls were covered with tapestry
and silk hangings, and the whole of the long room
was filled with splendid furniture and ornaments
of every description. 'It ought to be filled with
courtiers,' commented the Prince; and he could
not account for a curious belief that the courtiers
were certainly there, though invisible.
He stared out of the windows for some time at
the charming garden, gay with every variety of
flower, and then he proceeded leisurely the whole
length of the magnificent gallery, until the crimson
curtain in the further doorway drew aside. Then
he passed into a smaller and yet more beautiful
apartment. Here on an elegant sofa reclined a
very pretty little tortoiseshell cat, and two black
cats, who had been standing near the window, ad-
vanced on their hind-legs, and with ceremonious







14 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE

bows drew back the white satin curtains which closed
this last doorway.
The Prince was now beyond- astonishment, and it
appeared to him quite natural that cats should lie
elegantly on sofas, and walk on their hind-legs;
besides, it was such a relief to come upon anything
alive in this great solitary house that he felt inclined
to stay and talk to them.
As the white satin curtains parted, however, he
walked on, then suddenly stood still in surprise.
The room he now entered was very small and
exceedingly beautiful. The walls were covered with
an ivory-white paper, the furniture was entirely
white and gilt, and upon the walls, in curious con-
trast to these dainty things, were one or two bright
shields and fine old swords. Mirrors on all sides
flashed back his own bright and handsome face.
The air was filled with a strong and delicious
perfume, and there, in the centre of the room, lying
on a low couch, was the most beautiful white cat he
had ever seen.
As the Prince approached, she raised herself a
little, and held out one dainty white paw. 'You
are very welcome, my dear Prince; I have been
long expecting you,' she said in a low, soft voice.
And the Prince kissed the little white paws, and
thanked her in fine and courtly phrases for the
hospitality he had received, never doubting her to
be the mistress of this enchanted place.
Then he drew a low crimson cushion beside the
couch, and, sitting down, began to recount the ad-
ventures which had befallen him in the forest.







THE POWER OF THE FOREST


It did not in the least astonish him to hear the
White Cat speak. A curious dreamy feeling stole
over him; he became certain that he must indeed
be the expected Prince, and that he had always
intended to find out the palace of the White Cat.
The strong scent in the room, or the enchantment
of the palace, confused his brain, and immediately
he lost all count of place and time.
The White Cat was most sweet, amiable, and
charming, and presently the two black cats and the
little tortoiseshell entered and joined in the conver-
sation.
'I am much troubled about my poor horse,' said
the Prince; 'he broke from me during the terrific
storm-was it last night ?-and I fear he may be
wandering in the forest, or already fallen a prey to
wolves.'
'Ah, rest assured, dear Prince,' said the White
Cat gently; 'the horse found his way here in safety
before his master; you will find him in my stable,
well attended.'
The little tortoiseshell offered to lead Prince
Fortunate to the stable, and there, with great joy,
he found his gallant steed, well groomed and fed,
and completely recovered from his terror of the
night before.
But the Prince did not ride away; he stayed on
day by day, until the year was nearly at an end.
Sometimes he would take long rides through the
forest, or go out alone to hunt a wolf or wild boar;
he never felt very certain that he was alone-the in-
visible hands were always ready to lead his horse







16 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE

if he dismounted, or to hold his stirrup. This did
not trouble him in the least; the enchantment of
the place held him bound alike in forgetfulness of
his quest and of the passing time.
One evening, as he sat as usual at the feet of
the White Cat, listening to her charming con-
versation, she looked at him very sadly. They
were alone, the tortoiseshell and the two black
cats having retired to the other room.
'Dear Prince,' she said in a melancholy voice,
'-to-morrow we must part.'
But why, why ?' cried Prince Fortunate. I do
not wish to leave you.'
'You forget, Prince,' continued his companion,
'that to-morrow is the day appointed by your royal
father for your return to Court.'
Well, it is useless to go,' said the Prince. I have
forgotten the quest, and it would be foolish to return
empty-handed; besides, I prefer remaining here.'
Which is far more foolish,' said the White Cat,
'and also far from the honourable obedience due
to your father's commands. No, dear Prince! my
heart fails me when I think that to-morrow you
must ride away; yet would I not hold you back if
I could. On the contrary, carry this with you;'
and she laid a small dainty parcel in his hand.
'Do not open it till in the presence of the King,
and you will find that you have not failed in your
quest; but, alas if you gain the kingdom you will,
I fear, forget the poor White Cat, and I shall see
you no more.'
'No, no,' he cried; I will return A hundred







THE POWER OF THE FOREST


thousand kingdoms will not keep me from you!'
and he kissed her soft little paws.
'Good-night, Prince,' she said at last, with a
deep sigh; I trust you, for if you forget me, I
think I shall die. Start at daybreak, and do not
linger in the enchanted forest.'
Before mounting his horse next morning, the
Prince examined his packet rather curiously, wonder-
ing much how it might help him in his quest; but
he did not open it.
At the cross-roads, by the fir-trees, he met his
brothers, and as they rode leisurely towards the
town they began to discuss their adventures. Only
Prince Fortunate was very vague. No, he had not
met the wizard, nor had he encountered any very
dreadful beasts. Certainly, there had been a terrible
storm, and his horse had run away.
'Well, I suppose you did not spend the whole
year catching him again,' laughed his second
brother; but the Black Prince would answer no
more questions.
Certainly he did not think his brothers would
believe the story of the enchanted palace, but feared
that should they do so they might prevent his
return thither, so he kept silence.
As they neared the city, the busy hum of life,
the passers-by, the greetings of the citizens, all
sounded strange in the ears of the Prince who had
lived so long in the silent forest -strange, and
rather pleasant; he seemed to be coming to life
again after a long dream.
Next day the three Princes appeared before the







18 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE

King. The two elder knelt in turn to offer the-
dog, the result of their labours of the year. Then
all eyes turned to Prince Fortunate, who drew out
his little parcel, and cut the gold cord with his
hunting-knife. Within the parcel, he discovered a
walnut. Wondering much, he opened this, too, with
his knife.
The King, who thought the Black Prince was
jesting, was just beginning some sharp words of
remonstrance, when, as the shell, was opened, the
shrill bark of a tiny dog fell on his ear. Devoured
by curiosity, he rapidly descended the steps of his
throne and took the walnut-shell impatiently from
his son, and, to his surprise, on the tiniest white
satin cushion lay the smallest dog that ever existed.
It barked shrilly, and showed its little teeth, as it
was handed with exclamations of wonder and amaze-
ment from one courtier to another, until at last
the Prince, receiving it again, presented it formally
to his royal father.
'It cannot be doubted,' said the. King, after a
moment's pause, 'that Prince Fortunate has been
most successful in this quest; and yet, my sons, I
do not wish to allow the happiness of the kingdom
to hang upon so slight a matter as the size and
beauty of a dog. I have considered, and one more
year of manly wandering will prepare you still
better for the anxieties and cares of state. Go
forth, my sons, and return again obediently one
day before the year expires; this time the kingdom
shall be to him who, by diligent search, shall find
the whitest and finest cambric-a hundred yards,







THE POWER OF THE FOREST


at least, must pass through this my gold ring-then
willingly will I resign throne and sceptre to the
successful Prince.'
Nevertheless the courtiers knew well the truth
underlying these fine words. During the absence
of the Princes the old King had repented of his
rash resolve, made in a moment of weakness, and
had now no mind to surrender his pomp and power.
Since the death, long ago, of his beautiful Queen,
he had been by turns weak and exacting, tyrannical
and yielding. The people were tired of his changing
rule, and little pleased at this further delay of his
plan, the only drawback to- it in their eyes being
the necessity of a choice; the three noble brothers
were equally dear to the citizens.
The Princes listened in respectful silence to the
pompous words of their royal father, and next
morning rode on their second journey in search of
cambric, long and white and fine.



















CHAPTER II.


THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE PALACE.
'Yea, and but for this,
My twelvemonth and a day were pleasant to me.'
NEXT day, when the three Princes started on their
second journey, Prince Fortunate was much annoyed
at a suggestion made by one of his brothers to ex-
change roads. Being the youngest, it certainly was
his place to submit, but he fired up, and even laid
his hand on his sword-hilt with a threatening
gesture.
The difference, however, was after all settled in
an amicable fashion, and with a sigh of relief the
Black Prince found himself threading his way
among the straight fir-stems of the dark forest.
This time no storm overtook him, but from the
moment he plunged into its depths, the mystery of
the forest held him in its spell. First, unseen powers
drew him in this direction, then in that; the un-
earthly groans of the creaking boughs, the low
wailing sob of the wind, bewildered him; he was
convinced that some invisible force strove to lure







THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE PALACE 21

him away from the direction he wished to take, and
prevent his return to the Happy Palace.
For a long time he wandered about aimlessly;
but at length, making strenuous efforts to resist the
strange enchantment, he retraced his steps to the
open clearing where he had been stayed on the night
of the storm, and from thence rode straight to the
palace of the White Cat.
The moon had risen by that time, and was gleam-
ing through the dark trees; the marble palace was
flooded with its cold light, and looked even more
beautiful and marvellous than on his first arrival.
The Prince, abandoning his horse to the invisible
grooms, ran lightly up the steps and, with the as-
surance of a welcome, entered the opening door.
He found the White Cat waiting for him in the
hall, with a restless, anxious look in her eyes. 'You
are very late, Prince,' she said reproachfully; while
he explained his wanderings in the forest.
Then again began, for Prince Fortunate, a suc-
cession of happy days. Sometimes, however, the
mystery of the place oppressed him. He could not
shake off the feeling that as he paced the long
galleries he was watched by unseen guests; he
longed to question the White Cat, but she always
put aside his endeavours impatiently, and the Prince
was far too happy to think much or seriously.
All things in the palace were beautiful and
luxurious. As before, his every want was supplied
before he could utter it.
Fresh dainties appeared on the table every day.
In the winter steaming bowls served by blazing







:2-2 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE

fires; in the summer cool iced drinks, heaped plates
of strawberries and cream, peaches and every variety
of luscious fruit.
The apartments of the great palace were endless.
Here the water trickled into cool marble baths,
-there the windows opened on to wide terraces, shaded
with lovely creeping plants.
Often, when he was alone, the Prince would pace
-them musing of the beloved White Cat, while in his
,ears sounded the distant strains of soft music. At
times the great rooms echoed to stirring tunes, at
others only low and plaintive voices sang together,
then all again was silent; but search and seek as he
might, no musicians were ever to be seen.
Prince Fortunate accepted all these strange good
things very naturally, as part of the pleasant side
of life which inevitably fell to his share. 'Though,'
he sometimes commented, all this is a little wasted
on a simple soldier like myself. It is, after all, the
Blue Prince who should be here, and who would
thoroughly appreciate the situation.' Then he
smiled, when he remembered how angry he had
been when the Blue Prince wished to take the forest
path. 'No, no!' he muttered; he is indeed wel-
come to all the luxuries, but to none will I yield my
'right to stay in the palace of my beautiful White
Cat.'
So the hours flew by always in her company; her
grace and sweetness charmed him more than ever,
and he was never tired of listening to her wise and
*witty conversation.
'I hope that my servants attend on you with all







THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE PALACE


due care, Prince?' she asked him one day, as he
returned from the banquet-hall.
:The Prince- always took his meals in solitude,
waited on by the mysterious hands; often he had
pressed the White Cat to accompany him, but she
invariably refused, and the proposal apparently
-troubled her' so much that, long ago, he had ceased
to urge it.
'Servants ?' he said, now with a questioning look.
'Yes,' she answered, smiling sadly. My Court
is reduced to merely invisible' hands; still, none can
deny that I am faithfully served.' She sighed as
she spoke.
Ah, dear Cat will you not confide in me ?' cried
Prince Fortunate, his attention aroused by her
.manner. 'What is the mystery ? Surely there is
some enchantment overhangs this place! Can I
free you ? My sword is at your service, and I can
strike a good, strong blow!'
The Cat's eyes dilated, but she only answered
very hurriedly:
No, no, Prince ; you are dreaming. This is just
the Happy Palace, and I am only the White Cat.
Do you want me to be different ?'
The Prince, of course, protested that he would
not have her changed for worlds.
Once more the strange confusion as to time had
taken possession of his brain, and he was under the
impression that he had only been in the palace a
few days, when the White Cat again said:
'Dear Prince, do you remember that we must
part to-morrow ?'







THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE.


Her voice was lower, and her air more melancholy
than on a former occasion.
He would not believe it, and he would not go;
but his friend insisted that he must not, for her
sake, fail in his royal obedience, and again presented
him with a little packet to be his talisman at Court.
He accepted it this time with great joy and con-
fidence.
But, ah, dear Prince,' she said, come back; for
if you do not return, you will break the heart of
your poor White Cat.'
The Prince kissed her paws, and left a hundred
promises behind him that he would not fail to return.
Again he rode through the forest. This time,
before leaving its mysterious depths, he met with
an adventure which not only delayed him greatly,
but gave him also matter for serious reflection.
Fortunate, absorbed in happy thoughts, had been
for some time riding carelessly, with a loose rein,
paying little or no attention to his horse, when the
animal stopped with a suddenness that almost sent
his rider to the ground. The Prince kept his seat
with difficulty, tightened his rein, and urged his
horse forward. The animal, however, would not
move, but remained with his forefeet stubbornly
planted, his head erect, snuffing the air suspiciously,
as if scenting in the neighbourhood a strange and
dangerous object.
The Prince, finding the persuasions of voice and
spur alike useless, looked around in search of some-
thing to account for this extraordinary behaviour.
In a moment he discovered it. A red light showed







THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE PALACE


amorigst the trees in leaping fifful flanies;. Fortunate
sprang from his.horse and forced his way between
the thick boughs to obtain a nearer view of this
strange furnace, and he was glad he had done so,
for- the scene upon which he came was a curious
and wild one.
Built against a dark overhanging rock stood an
earthen forge. The fires underneath it roared and
crackled, and around it leaped and danced a dozen
small impish shapes, dressed all alike in tight-fitting
garments of brown and green, and all wearing small
.red-pointed caps. They were busily engaged in
feeding the furnace with coal, which they dug up
in the neighbourhood, running hither and thither
with their tiny shovels piling in the fuel, stirring up
the glowing embers, till the fire danced and blazed
with a ten-fold power, and Prince Fortunate, though
'he shouted, could scarcely make his voice heard
above the roaring of the flames.
When at last they heard him, the little men
paused in their work, and pulled off their caps,
making comical impudent bows.
'What do you want ?' they cried in shrill squealing
voices; 'we are very busy and cannot stop in our
work, the master will be here directly;' and again
they hurried and scurried about.
'Wait a moment,' urged Fortunate, 'you have
already got a fire there big enough to roast an ox.
Wait and tell me what you are all doing.' The
little men stopped once more, twisting their small
caps uncertainly in their hands. 'What is the use
of this enormous fire ?' asked the Prince.








26 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE

'To forge Prince Fortunate's new sword,' they
answered, all speaking together, in their small
squealing voices.
Prince Fortunate's new sword,' he repeated,
coming a few steps nearer. 'What do you mean?
I am Prince Fortunate.'
The little men fell back hurriedly.
'It is to forge Prince Fortunate's new sword,'
they repeated, pointing with grimy fingers at the
fire; and hastily putting on their red caps again,
they left the Prince, and flew back to their work,
shovelling, raking, poking with redoubled ardour.
The cause of this renewed energy was soon apparent.
Pushing their twelve red heads almost among the
flames, they brought out a long twisted piece of
molten steel, carried it with great care to the stone
anvil standing in front of the furnace, and proceeded
to beat and belabour it continuously with twelve
diminutive hammers. Beneath their cunning blows
the red quivering thing which lay on the anvil began
rapidly to assume the shape of a bright straight
blade.
While they hammered they sang loud and shrilly:

'Hammer and beat,
Hammer and beat.
Fashion the sword
In a glowing heat.
Fortunate's sword
It is long and strong.
Fortunate's sword
It is light and bright.
Honour is bright,
And love is strong,
Here lieth a blade
Both light and long.







THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE PALACE


Honour is strong
And love is bright,
Here lieth a sword
Both firm and light.'
Amidst this hubbub of singing and hammering a
new figure appeared upon the scene-an old bent
man, climbing slowly down the side of the rock.
He was dressed exactly as the other dwarfs, wearing
the same pointed red cap, and his height exceeded
theirs only by a few inches, but he carried his small
person with a certain air of dignity which impressed
even the Prince, and left him without doubt that
this was the master of whom the little workmen
had spoken.
'Here!' called Fortunate cheerily, as the quaint
figure made its way towards him, 'can you explain
the matter? Your men tell me they are engaged
in forging a new sword for Prince Fortunate. What
do they mean ? I have given no order.'
You need not be troubled about that,' answered
the Dwarf. After casting a critical glance at the
work on the anvil, he had approached quite' close
to Fortunate, and looked up at him with shrewd,
keen eyes, making no attempt, however, to doff his
cap. 'The order has been given by the Fairy
Daphne. The weapon shall be of the best, rest
assured of that, and ready in plenty of time to
execute the work for which it is required.'
'It is very kind of the Fairy Daphne,' answered
the Prince, with a little heat, 'to occupy herself
about my affairs, but I have not the pleasure of her
acquaintance, and I prefer giving my own orders.'
'Ah I don't imagine the Fairy Daphne cares







28 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE

anything at all about your affairs,' said the Dwarf
coldly; 'it is entirely on account of some one else
that she is so much troubled.'
He was still looking up at the Prince, standing
with his hands set on his hips, an amused smile on
his thin, grotesque lips.
The attitude, and still more the smile, irritated
Fortunate.
I have a very good sword of my own,' he said,
with boyish swagger, fingering the hilt and drawing
the blade a little way out of the scabbard. I do not
want any new-fangled weapon to replace it.'
The Dwarf's silent amusement did not relax.
Nevertheless, Black Prince,' he replied, 'when
the time comes you will be glad enough to use it.
Without the Dwarf's sword, you may never win the
desire of your heart, the delight of your life. And
now, Prince, let me advise you; the sun is high, and
if your curiosity induces you to dawdle much longer,
you will scarcely arrive in time at your appointed
tryst.'
Fortunate's face flushed crimson, and he stamped
his foot angrily.
Who are you, I wonder ? How dare you speak
to me in that cool, impudent manner ?' and then he
began to laugh a merry, boyish laugh.
Prince Fortunate never kept his ill-temper long,
and where was the good of being angry with a little
dwarfish man for telling him the truth ? He hurried
away, waving his hand.
Good-bye, little men,' he said gaily. 'Next time
I visit the forest, I will come and look for my sword.







THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE PALACE


Mind that it is ready, and be sure to make a good
one.'
The horse stood where his master had left him.
Fortunate vaulted into the saddle, turned his head
from the distracting furnace, and set forward at a
good pace.
He could not, however, forget the wild scene in
the forest, with the grotesque little figures outlined
against the leaping fires. Who was the Fairy
Daphne? Why, after all, did she occupy herself about
his sword, and what was the 'desire of his heart'? At
this moment a good stand-up fight with the terrible
Wizard of the forest appeared to him the most
delightful adventure that he could imagine, and,
having arrived at this conclusion, he stuck spurs
into his horse's flanks and urged him to a canter,
but even then arrived late at the meeting-place,
and had to gallop after his brothers, already on their
way towards the town.
'Come, lucky Prince, tell us your adventures!'
they both cried, as he overtook them; but the Black
Prince would talk of something else.
When Prince Fortunate stood before the King
and drew from his pocket a diminutive packet,
carefully unfastened the wrappings, and discovered
another walnut, the excitement at Court knew no
bounds.
The elder brothers each brought a hundred yards
of fair white cambric, but the old King refused to
decide between them.
In his own mind he rather hoped that this time
the youngest might have failed; for the King had







30 THE :SWORD 'OF PRINCE FORTUNATE
again been considering during, this year, and had
come to the conclusion that power is sweet.
SThe Prince rapidly opened his walnut-shell with a
confident air, but within the walnut was a hazel-nut.
This he also opened, but with more deliberation: it
contained a cherry-stone. Within the cherry-stone
lay an orange-pip.
The Prince hesitated, then with some difficulty
opened the orange-pip, the whole Court standing on
tiptoe and watching him breathlessly. Within the
orange-pip he found a grain of corn !
His first impulse was to fling it away in contempt,
and give up all for lost; but the soft voice of the
White Cat came back to his ears, saying, 'Trust me,
Prince: will you trust me?' and he determined to
open the wheat-grain, though this was no easy matter.
Prince Fortunate lifted his head and glanced round.
The courtiers had given up their expectation; their
faces were fast broadening into mocking smiles, and
a little titter of laughter at his discomfiture already
ran round the great hall.
The King had drawn down his eyebrows in a
portentous frown.
The Prince looked everyone full in the face for a
moment; then, with a graceful bow, requested the
Court lady nearest to him to be good enough to lend
him a needle. She drew one from the silver case
hanging at her side, and the Prince proceeded with
infinite care to open his precious grain of wheat.
The lady came and peeped over his shoulder, and
it was her long-drawn exclamation of surprise that
apprised the Court of the Prince's success.







THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE PALACE


Within the tiny grain lay folded layer on layer of
exquisite fine white tissue. No cobweb spun in the
dewy morning grass could exceed its beauty.
The help of another needle was required, and the
services of the Court lady, who happened to have
very small and delicate hands, before the whole of
this beautiful fabric could be unrolled and laid in the
King's palm. Then the whole Court broke into an
exclamation of applause; only the King did not quite
lose his frown.
He, however, commended the diligence of the
young Princes, and rising from his throne addressed
them thus :
My sons, while bearing for your sakes the cares
of the State during this past year, I have come to
the conclusion that the quests I have hitherto set
before you, though proving well your diligence and
obedience, are scarcely of a character weighty enough
to decide the succession to a throne. The best
assurance of a good and stable rule is when a great
and noble King shares his authority with an equally
wise and noble Queen. Therefore, my sons, without
disparaging your former labours, I send you forth
once more. Seek each for the most beautiful
Princess, the fairest, the richest, and wisest that you
can find, and he who shall be most successful will
thereby prove himself indeed worthy to reign over
my people.'
The Princes were young, and loved freedom and
travel. They offered, therefore, no remonstrance to
the words of the King, but, bowing low, departed on
their search for wisdom, wit, and beauty.



















CHAPTER III.


THE WORK OF THE SWORD.
'I am content, for thou art truthful,
And this thy word thy bond.'

As the brothers set forth next day on their last
quest, an accident befell the Black Prince. He had
dressed himself that morning in a great flurry, his
whole mind absorbed by the idea of returning to the
White Cat, and in his haste he must certainly have
fastened his belt without care, for, quite unex-
pectedly, it came undone, and the sword which it
held clattered among his horse's hoofs. Fortunate
jumped down and picked it up, to find that it had
already been kicked and trampled out of shape, and
was so crushed and bent that it appeared to be per-
fectly useless.
Oh, never mind,' he said, after a moment of dis-
mayed silence. I am sure to find another some-
where.'
'You had better go back, Fortunate,' urged the
Red Prince; 'it is absurd to start upon such an
adventure without a sword.'







THE WORK OF THE SWORD


'My dear brother,'added the Blue Prince languidly,
'it is no use trusting always to that luck of yours.
Swords, I suppose, don't grow on your forest trees,
and you are such a fellow for fighting, you can never
get on without one. Here, I will lend you mine, if
you like; after all, I wear it merely for ornament,
and, as you know, would not make use of it for
worlds.'
Fortunate shook his head obstinately. Being
dreadfully afraid of any explanation that might
delay him, he only repeated that it was all right, he
would find a sword somewhere, and hurried away,
riding at once into the heart of the forest, to the
place of the dwarfs' forge.
This time his horse made no difficulty about
approaching, for the sound of hissing flames was
silenced, the red fires all extinguished, the furnace
black; the leaping, impish figures had disappeared,
and from a distance the spot appeared quite
deserted.
Drawing nearer, however, a chattering overhead
made the Black Prince look up, and there, perched
amongst the boughs of the trees, he found his dozen
queer little friends, who were keeping up an incessant
stream of shrill conversation. Some of the little
men were swinging by their hands, others climbing
cautiously up the tree-trunks; but for the most part
they had assumed attitudes of complete repose, as of
workmen exhausted with long toil, and were lying
along the branches, their thin brown legs dangling,
their green bodies lost among the leaves, their red
heads appearing here and there like ripe berries.








34 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE
When the Prince approached, they all sprang up and
tossed their caps in the air.
'Bravo !' they yelled. 'Here comes Prince Fortu-
nate to fetch his sword !'
Is it ready? Is it finished ?' cried Fortunate.
The little men all pointed below, and the Prince
followed with his eyes the direction of their bony
fingers.
On the stone, which had been in use as an anvil,
now lay the finished weapon, its bright steel blade
white, sharp and glittering, its scabbard smooth and
polished. Close by, on a fallen tree, sat the old
Dwarf; he wore his usual red cap and green cloak,
and, resting his chin on his hand, took no part in the
jubilee of the noisy crew above.
Directly the Black Prince caught sight of this
splendid sword, he left his horse and ran towards it.
Is this mine ?' he cried joyously. : Can I take
it ? Here is indeed my usual luck, to find the work
completed just now when I am weaponless !'
The Dwarf chuckled.
I thought you were content with your own sword,'
he said. However, this one is finished; it is for
you; you may take it away.'
Fortunate caught the weapon in his hand, trying
its strength, its weight, its temper, uttering all the
time exclamations of pleasure. It was a plain
straight blade; no labour had been spent in chasing
or gilding, but the Prince in an instant knew its
worth.
It is splendid !' he cried, flushing with pleasure.
'How can I repay you ?' and he began excitedly to







THE WORK OF THE SWORD


loosen the strings of his purse, and to pull out
handfuls of gold.
It was the Dwarf who reddened now. He got up
from his low seat, and came towards the Prince with
comical small strides.
Shut up your purse !' he screeched in his high-
pitched voice. Do you think that dwarfs toil and
moil for your hideous gold like men ? No; there is
no work in the world that may compare with ours,
but it is done for a purpose, and when that is ful-
filled we are content.' The little man, red and angry
as a turkey-cock, was strutting about, and puffing up
his small person with dignity and importance. 'The
sword is yours,' he concluded; 'take it and go.'
Fortunate had no choice. He reluctantly fastened
the strings of his purse.
'I wish I might do you some service,' he said
courteously.
Certainly you will, if you use the sword properly,'
replied the Dwarf. 'The forest is not very pleasant
to live in at present.'
I agree with you,' answered Fortunate, remember-
ing the power and the mystery which had so often
] baffled and puzzled him; 'but what has my sword
Sto do with that ? Shall I use it against the terrible
' Wizard ? Indeed, I will cut off his head, if the deed
Sis feasible, and with all the pleasure in life !'
SAt this remark the little men in the trees sent up
, a squealing chorus of approbation, but the old Dwarf
. shook his head.
'No, no !' he replied with a wicked smile. 'You
Swill never find the Wizard. For your sword there is







36 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE

other work. When you smite with it, then will the
blow, terrible and deadly, fall upon your friend-
your friend weak and defenceless, your dearest
friend !'
At these words the little men stopped squealing,
the wind in the branches above left off rustling. For
a moment there was silence in the forest.
Fortunate, his boyish face pale with anger,
advanced with a threatening gesture towards the
Dwarf, who kept, however, his mocking and defiant
attitude.
'How dare you suggest such a thing ?' cried the
young Prince, his voice trembling with indignation-
' such a cowardly thing You tell me, first, that this
sword is to win me my "heart's desire," the "delight of
my life," and then that it is to be used in a deadly
manner against some good friend. It appears you
do not know me. I, Prince Fortunate, am not a
man to stab a foe in the back, or to smite a friend.
Begone, you horrid little wretch! Let me never see
your face again. I would rather fling the good
sword after you, and go weaponless the rest of my
life, than listen for a moment to your wicked words.'
The Dwarf did not move.
'You may do as you like, Prince,' he replied
coolly. 'The sword is yours, and, unless you
willingly strike the blow, none can force you to it.
Our weapons are not enchanted. We forge them
well to be good servants, not masters.'
So saying, he shrugged his shoulders, turned on
his heel, and walked away.
The Prince, already more than half ashamed of







THE WORK OF THE SWORD


his angry outburst, called after the retreating figure,
but without avail. So he buckled the good sword to
his side.
If the thing is not enchanted,' he reasoned, 'I
need have no fear that in my hand it will come to do
coward's work.'
Then, with a gesture of farewell to his twelve little
friends, he rode away. The little men stood on the
swaying branches and waved their caps in return,
and sang and squealed and shrieked until Fortunate
was out of earshot. And that was the very last he
ever saw or heard of them, for, though in after days
he traversed that same thick forest often, and in
every direction, he never again met with the old
Dwarf, nor caught a glimpse of the red caps of his
workmen.
Now, he rode on slowly, and musing deeply. He
was ready to give up, for his dear White Cat, all
thought of the beautiful Princess. He would never
return to the city or the Court; he would never
leave her again. But yet he was not content to
pass his whole existence in the dreamy forest.
Where was the Wizard, that he might confront him
and break his enchantments ? What was the use
of an idle sword and a splendid courage, with no
foe to combat ? Life was too easy !
His meditations were so profound that he again
lost his way, this time so hopelessly that the dawn
was breaking when he at last pushed through a thick
covert and came in sight of the white palace.
It looked so silent and ghostly in the cold morning
light that the Prince hesitated one moment before







38 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE
mounting the broad marble steps, but only one
moment; then the great door swung open, and he
stepped once more across the enchanted threshold.
The White Cat was lying on her couch in the
boudoir. She looked ill and thin, and greeted him
sadly.
'I began to despair, Prince. I thought you had
quite forgotten me,' she moaned.
She recovered wonderfully, however, when he told
her that he would never leave her again, and that he
had quite given up the search for a lovely bride.
The days passed in a lovely dream, and the Prince
took no heed of them, till he noticed the White
Cat gazing at him one evening with a particularly
strange and melancholy light in her eyes.
'To-morrow, Prince, we part for ever,' she said,
with a sob. 'The year is over, and you will return
to your father's Court and marry a beautiful Princess.'
'No, that I will not !' cried Fortunate. 'I remain
here to protect you.'
The Cat's eyes opened very wide and closed
rapidly as she listened.
'You once offered me your services, Prince,' she
said in an eager tone. If I require them now, will
you promise to do whatever I ask you, however hard
it may be ?'
'I promise, on ry honour as a Prince !' he
answered earnestly.- Let me go and find out the
Wizard, and throw him down from the top of his
own high haunted rock Let me fight with the in-
visible spirits of the forest I Let me--'
'No, no !' she cried; 'these things would not







THE WORK OF THE SWORD 39

avail me. The Wizard would prove too strong for
you, and the forest spirits cannot be touched by the
sword. It is true, Prince, that the enchanter has
used me cruelly, and I am weary of my life. When
you are gone all my joy will depart; I cannot
live--'
'But I will not go,' he interrupted.
'Oh yes, you will,' she replied resolutely. But
do not refuse me one last service. You said you
could strike a good strong blow; it will need no
more. Draw your sword.'
He drew it obediently.
'Now say Good-bye, White Cat," and cut off
my head and my tail.'
The Prince dropped the sword back with a clatter
into its scabbard.
'Are you jesting ?' he asked.
'No, no,' she pleaded; 'I am in terrible earnest,
and you have promised.'
'Then I will break my promise,' he returned.
'Oh no, Prince,' gasped the White Cat, 'you will
not The word of a Prince cannot be lightly
broken. Go into the long gallery and consider.
Return when you have subdued yourself. I will
wait.'
So the Prince went into the long gallery, and
paced to and fro in the moonlight, which came
streaming in through the open windows.
'I cannot do this thing,' he muttered; 'I will not
do this horrible thing!'
Then he drew his sword, and looked at the blade
shining in the pale light.







40 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE
Now, a Prince's sword is to him the emblem of
truth.and-honour, and as he looked he mused upon
the precious thing he would so lightly break--his
word. The-honour of all brave men being a sacred
thing, the honour of a Prince must, he reflected, be
doubly sacred. The White Cat was right; he could
not break his word.
So, sighing heavily, and still holding the sword in
his hand; Prince -Fortunate returned to the boudoir.
The White Cat lay just where he had left her,
motionless in the moonlight. He dared not look at
her, but kept his eyes at first steadily fixed on a
bright shield hanging overhead which reflected his
own pale, set face.
'Turn away your head and hide your face !' he
commanded.
Then, like a good swordsman, he felt the keen-
tempered edge of his weapon, planted his feet firmly,
gave a rapid glance at his victim, and with two
tremendous strokes redeemed his promise, and cut
off the head and the tail of his beloved White
Cat.
Then Prince Fortunate flung his sword into the
corner of the room, and, covering his face with his
hands, sobbed bitterly.
A voice, the soft voice of the White Cat herself,
roused him from his misery.
Starting violently, he looked at the couch. There
lay a Princess, fair and beautiful, with pale golden
hair and bright dancing eyes.
'Well and bravely done, Prince !' she said. 'Now
come and let me tell you all.'







THE WORK OF THE SWORD


And the Prince, kneeling beside her, heard from
her lips the story of her terrible enchantment.
'My name is Bianca,' she began, 'and my father
is a rich and brave King. He has long mourned for
me, and must have sought me hopelessly; for you
must know that the wicked Wizard of the forest was
our great enemy. My father paid no heed to re-
peated warnings, while secretly the Wizard had
extended little by little his evil powers, until they
included (although of this we were ignorant) our
beautiful palace on the borders of the forest, where
we often came for long weeks of pleasure, hunting
and dancing.
One evening the King, my father, was in a far
part of the country, and here in the palace we were
in the midst of a grand Court ball, when the evil
magician appeared, waving his wand furiously. In
one moment servants and courtiers had alike dis-
appeared, and the palace itself was borne rapidly
into the very heart of the forest.
'I was still there, but, alas, alas! Prince, you
know how sadly changed. Nothing remained of my
Court but invisible hands; only my tall pages and
my little maid-of-honour were, like myself, doomed
to live on as cats.
'Dear Prince can you imagine the horror of the
situation ? My only friend was my godmother, the
Fairy Daphne. She has helped me in a thousand
ways, and tells me that she even ventured to con-
front the Wizard on his wicked lonely rock; but
this was all the hope she could obtain: I must
remain here, with all my Court, bound by this







42 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE


terrible enchantment, until a Prince should come
who would love me, believing me to be only a white
cat, and thus prefer me to all the princesses in the
world, and then finally, at my bidding, cut off my
head and my tail; but should I reveal my true
nature, or the happy deliverance I awaited by his
sword, the spells would remain unbroken, and the
blow prove worse than useless-fatal. Hence my
silence, Prince, and my terrible fear that even at
the last moment you might fail me.'
Then Prince Fortunate rejoiced that he had not
broken his royal promise.
'But, listen,' said Bianca, as a hum of many
voices came to them from the long gallery; 'there
are the ladies and gentlemen of my Court waiting
'for my presence. Take your sword, Prince.'
Ah,' he replied with a shudder, 'when I threw it
away I thought I could never again touch the
weapon with which I had committed such a horrid
deed.'
'Let me arm you, then,' said Bianca; and, going
across the room with noiseless footfalls, she lifted
the sword in her soft, white hands, and brought it to
Fortunate. 'This is the sword of my deliverance,'
she said, smiling happily. 'Take it again, Prince, and
draw it always to defend the right, and to keep truth
and honour pure.'
As the Prince led the beautiful white Princess
into the long gallery, two tall and handsome pages
bowed low as they passed, and an elegant little
lady straightened the folds of the Princess's long
train.







THE WORK OF THE SWORD


In the gallery a brilliant sight awaited them. The
assembled Court of the Princess, in gay and beauti-
ful attire of all sorts, crowded to kiss her white
hands, and broke into rapturous delight at their
freedom once more from the horrid spells of the
magician.
In the banquet-hall long tables were spread, and
they feasted and sang till day broke. Then the
Prince was in haste to depart.
'Good-bye, dear friends,' said the Princess. 'Find
your way back to my father's Court: you will ex-
perience no difficulty, and need have no fear, for the
wicked enchantments of the Wizard are broken for
ever. Tell the King of my safety, and of all that
has befallen me. Later the Prince and I may follow
you, but a few attendants must await my return
here. Shall we return to the Happy Palace, dear
Prince ?' she asked sweetly.
'Certainly; I never wish to go elsewhere,' he
said. 'You know I would willingly have remained
here always with the dear White Cat.'
'But it will be pleasanter, will it not, with the
dear Princess Bianca ?'
She laughed gaily as she spoke, and mounted the
splendid white horse waiting for her at the palace-
gate.
The Prince lifted her gently into the saddle, drew
the hood of her crimson travelling-cloak closely over
her face, and together they started on their home-
ward way.
To 'Prince Fortunate the ride was one of enchant-
ment. He could not take his eyes from his lovely







44 THE SWORD OF PRINCE FORTUNATE
companion, and kept stopping their horses that he
might peep beneath the crimson folds of the hood to
assure himself that the Princess Bianca really rode
beside him.
When the three Princesses stood before the old
King in the great palace, the whole Court proclaimed
that Bianca was the most beautiful; and Prince
Fortunate was supremely happy, even though
the old King still refused to relinquish the
kingdom.
He was, as he had said to Bianca, quite content
to end his days in the Happy Palace, where first he
met his dear White Cat.

It is said that Bianca's father (a selfish old
King, who had taken but feeble measures to effect
her release), dying soon afterwards, left her the
mistress of large kingdoms and splendid possessions,
and that her wit and grace, as well as her great
beauty, continued to the end of her life to charm
and captivate all who approached her; but we,
readers, will say farewell to her in the old forest
palace.
For some time it has been gay with pleasant com-
pany; now all have departed, and silence reigns in
the beautiful garden.
Left to themselves, Bianca and Fortunate mount
the broad marble steps, and turn to watch the red
sun slowly set.
Bianca, standing beside Prince Fortunate, lays
her hand with a loving gesture on the jewelled hilt
of his sword; and the Prince smiles down upon







THE WORK OF THE SWORD 45

her, for he knows that she likes thus to remind him
that he won his Princess through the victory of
honour.
I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not honour more.'



























THE RED PRINCE;

OR

THE VICTORY OF LOVE.




















CHAPTER I.


THE PRINCE SEEKS THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE.

'And yet he showed
Of all his peers most manly heart and soul:
A very man, tender and true and strong
And pitiful.'

THE three Princes having been dismissed by the
King on their first quest in search of the little dog,
rode together out of the town, and came to the
parting of three ways.
And while the youngest Prince (the Black Prince,
or Prince Fortunate, whose adventures you already
know so well) and the second Prince (the Blue
Prince) were disputing as to the road each should
take, the eldest brother rode straight on, lost in
thought, and was soon lost to his brothers' view.
I must pause a moment to explain that these
three brothers were generally distinguished by the
citizens and people of their country by the colour of
the beautiful clothes they wore: the eldest being
known as the Red Prince, as he always appeared on
state occasions in ruby velvet; the second in bril-







THE RED PRINCE


liant blue; the third in black, which suited his
particularly fair complexion and boyish face.
The characters of the three brothers were as dis-
tinctive as their dress.
The Red Prince was for ever lost in day-dreams.
In the midst of a joyous hunt he would stop his
horse for hours to solve a subtle problem, and, being
most careless of his appearance, was sometimes
found on state occasions without sword or hat.
The youngest brother was of an amiable and
joyous disposition, and deserved his name of 'For-
tunate'; and of our Blue Prince we will speak later.
Suffice it now to say of him that, gay, indolent,
selfish, and a little cowardly, he and his younger
brother were perpetually engaged in disputes; and
therefore, long before they had decided the question
of the road, the eldest brother had ridden out of
sight.
Though so careless and dreamy, he had a distinct
object in view. The gift of the kingdom appeared
as nothing to this young Prince, but a year of
freedom made his blood dance with delight. Already
he was, in imagination, spending it in a small attic
chamber he knew of well in a distant town. He
recalled distinctly the bent old figure of the master
he sought, amongst his queer crucibles and great
dusty volumes; the wise face, and the wonderful
learning that poured from the old lips; and then
the little terrace high up on the roof, where the old
man and his pupil would stand to read the story of
the stars. None of this would be new to him ; but,
oh for a whole year of these learned delights !







SEEKING THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE


The Prince was roused from his reverie by the
first strong gusts of the coming storm-the storm
that, you remember, overtook the youngest brother
in the forest, and drove him for shelter to the Cat's
enchanted home.
The Red Prince was nearing the sea-shore, having
entirely lost his way, and as the storm rapidly in-
creased, the dash of the salt spray mingled with the
hail and rain.
The poor horse shivered and swayed beneath his
rider, and the young man, roughly roused, looked
anxiously around for some shelter. The night was
falling rapidly, but just on the edge of the cliff above
the sea he could discern a rude fisherman's hut.
Making his way to it through the blinding storm, he
knocked loudly on the door.
A small window close to him was opened at
once, and a girl looked out without speaking.
Taking off his cap, with its wet, draggled plumes
(for the Red Prince under no circumstances forgot
his courtesy), he prayed her of her charity to grant
shelter to a storm-stayed traveller and his steed.
The girl only put her finger to her lip and shook
her head, and as the Prince continued to plead for
a more charitable answer, she sharply shut the
window.
The Prince then slowly led his tired horse to the
lee side of the house to find, at any rate, some slight
shelter for the poor beast. Below him the great
white sea churned and raged, and the wind beat
against the house in such terrific gusts that the
Frightened animal almost refused to move, when







52 THE RED PRINCE
suddenly something brushed by him, and a vivid
lightning-flash revealed the figure of the girl running
before him, bent against the wind, and beckoning
him to follow.
Behind the shelter of the little hut he paused a
moment to draw breath, and saw his guide, with a
lantern in her hand, unfastening the door of a small
shed. Inside there was shelter from the storm, also
straw and hay, and a donkey in possession.
The girl leaned against the donkey without speak-
ing, and watched the Prince unsaddle and groom
his horse, and fill the manger with some of the
sweet hay, rejoicing that the horse, at any rate,
should not starve: for you may as well learn at
once that my dreamy young Prince was of a noble
nature, that his day-dreams were of noble things,
and his strivings after knowledge for the good of
his people; and that he would have preferred to
suffer hurt or starvation himself sooner than his
servant, horse or man.
Just as he finished, and turned to speak to his
silent companion, she snatched the lantern from the
floor and disappeared into the darkness, the small
light flashing and glimmering like a will-o'-the-
wisp.
The Red Prince waited patiently, wondering if
this strange, silent being would return. In a few
minutes she was again beside him, bearing a pitcher
of country cider and a huge piece of brown bread
and cheese.
The fare was coarse, but the Prince was hungry,
and he laughed aloud at the pleasant surprise, and







SEEKING THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE


broke into thanks. The girl only smiled again, with
her finger on her lip.
A tall young peasant, in the white cap and pretty
dress of the country, her dark hair framed a very
beautiful face with sweet eyes.
She turned as quickly and silently as she had
come, and left him, but this time with the lantern
for company.
The Prince did ample justice to the rude supper,
and, utterly worn out with the excitement of the
day, threw himself on the straw and slept as a good
soldier should long and profoundly Towards
morning, however, he dreamed, and the thunder of
the sea mingled with his dreams.
He thought at last that the great storm witch
had ridden into the hut on the biggest wave, and
was trying to tear his cloak off his back; and then
he became conscious it was no dream, but the pea-
sant girl in her frantic endeavours to arouse him.
Her hair was all blown about, and her face wild
with terror; as soon as he was on his feet she
beckoned him to follow, and hurried before him
down the steep cliff to the sea-shore.
The storm had somewhat abated, but still the sea
was rolling in long, angry white breakers, and the
vivid lightning constantly illumined the horizon; by
This flashing light he could just see a little boat
Slabouring in the midst of the wild surf.
S The girl pointed to it with an agonized look, and
Ssped along a narrow line of slippery rocks that
reached into the water, swinging her lantern high
as she went, as a signal of encouragement. The







THE RED PRINCE


Prince followed her, and even in that moment of
intense excitement felt awed by the constant silence
of his guide, who uttered no word, even of fear.
The little boat was fast being driven on the rocks,
the rower evidently too exhausted to stem its course.
The girl began to unwind the rope fastened round
her waist, and held one end to the Prince, evidently
intent on plunging into the sea herself, to death or
rescue; but the Prince, with a quick movement,
drew the rope roughly from her, made one end fast
round a point of rock, and securing the other to his
own strong belt, gave a shuddering glance at the
relentless waves, and leaped into the churning yellow
surf; at the same moment the poor little boat, driven
against a sharp edge of rock, broke to pieces, and
strewed the sea with plank and sail and oar. A
great wave towered for a moment overhead, and
then came down with a crash, bearing .Prince and
fisher alike down, down into the far depths.
Suddenly the deafening sound of the sea died out
of his.ears, and all was very still. A steadfast golden
light was shining and he was walking along the
sandy bottom of the sea; it was quite calm, and all
the ground was strewn with pearly shells. Every-
where he was looking for the poor fisherman, and at
last he saw him lying calmly asleep in the arms of a
most beautiful mermaid; she was wiping his wet
face with her long hair and singing to him. Far
above there was a'faint, faint echo of the crashing
waves; but here all was so still that the Prince could
hear each note of the mermaid's song. She was
slowly chanting the following rhyme:

































































THE MERMAID S HOME.


Page 54.







SEEKING THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE


'He who seeks me beneath the tide
Must take from me a destin'd bride;
But should he hear the mystic song,
My words may haunt his dreams for long;
And fatal spells three years will hold
The mortal these cold arms enfold.'
When she saw him she stopped and smiled.
Bravely done, Prince! You deserve a beautiful
bride.'
But he only shook his head, and held out his
hands for the poor fisher. The mermaid rose up on
the coils of her long shining tail, and laid him in
the Prince's arms; and then she seemed to wind
her own white arms round them both and to bear
them up, up, with a rush that made the Prince
feel dizzy and faint. Then the deafening crash of
the waves again thundered and broke over his head,
his senses reeled, and he found himself lying on the
ledge of rock with the poor fisherman still clasped
in his arms, and the girl bending over them, her
beautiful eyes full of gratitude and delight, unwind-
ing the rope that entangled them. The mermaid
was gone.
'Else! Else!' murmured the fisherman, slowly
opening his eyes.
At the sound of his voice the girl, whose courage
had not failed before, fell on her knees and sobbed;
'Quick! quick said the Prince, pointing to the
hut; and the brave girl needed no second bidding,
but flew homeward, almost borne by the wind, while
he followed, slowly toiling up the steep bank, bearing
the old fisherman in his strong young arms.
When he reached the hut, and set down his







THE RED PRINCE


burden, he found Else had already lighted the fire
and prepared a warm .drink. The old man was
more exhausted than hurt, and soon revived. So the
Prince left him to her care, and returned to the beach,
if perchance he might rescue plank or sail or oar of
the poor little boat; and perhaps, too, with the vain
hope of seeing once more amidst the White surf the
shining eyes and yellow hair of the mermaid, or
hearing an echo of her song above the roar of the
breakers.
When he returned, having spent a fruitless hour,
he found the old man quite recovered and waiting
breakfast for him before a bowl of steaming por-
ridge. Else was nowhere to be seen. The Prince
was hungry, and forgot all about the mermaid till
the bowl was cleared; then he began to praise Else,
her courage, and her beauty.
'Ay, ay,' said the old man, 'she is a brave girl.
She is not my daughter, though she has lived with
me always, and when I am away she has strict orders
to open the door to no man. Her obedience and
truth are firm as a rock; that is why she turned
you from the door last night in all the storm. She
is a good girl-Else.'
'But does she never speak ?' asked the Prince.
'Alas no,' said the fisher. 'She has never spoken
since she was a tiny child; there is only one thing
that can give her back the power of speech, and
that can never be.' He shook his head sadly.
'Tell me! tell me!' said the Prince eagerly.
'I am on my way to discover the Philosopher's
Stone, that turns everything to gold; I am going







SEEKING THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE


to find out all the secrets of the universe. Surely
there is one that will unlock those beautiful lips.'
'Maybe, maybe,' said the fisher; 'but, young
man, I have lived longer than you, and it will need
a greater and a better thing than gold. Also, I am
under a vow never to tell this secret.'
A foolish 'vow,' muttered the Prince; and he
moodily kicked the glowing log on the hearth.
The storm lulled with the ebbing tide, and re-
doubled its fury as the sea rose, and for some days
the Prince was held a prisoner. He shared the
peasant's simple meals and simple tasks, and, warm
by the fire within, he told them marvellous tales of
the past and of the present.
When he explained who he was, the old man
was much troubled at his reception and his fare;
but Else, undisturbed, never stopped her spinning-
wheel. Only she looked at him with laughing eyes,
when he recounted how the King, his father, weary
of the burden of the State, had sent his sons forth
into the world to test their powers to reign, and
set them as a worthy task to find the smallest dog.
'An easy task,' laughed the Prince, 'and a year
to fulfil it. I hope to find many better things first.
I must learn the secret of the stone that turns all
to gold; then will my people never fail in riches.
What shall I bring you when I find it-fine long
ear-rings of gold, and for the old father a chain ?'
'No, no !' muttered the old man. 'A new net
and some oars. I have an old boat I can patch up,
but the oars are mighty bad.'
The Prince laughed at this practical use for his







THE RED PRINCE


yet unfound gold. He had grown to love the
brave old man, and watched the girl with interest.
Generally, she went about her household tasks quite
gaily, yet sometimes, sitting idly by the hearth, the
Prince surprised a world of misery and longing in
her pathetic eyes, and vowed to himself that he
must discover the secret that would undo the sorrow
of her life. This and many other things he re-
solved to carry to his friend the Philosopher, and
as the storm was truly lulling he would ride forth
to-morrow on his quest. Sitting, that last evening,
by the fire, he suddenly asked :
Has a mermaid ever been seen on these shores.?'
All night long he had dreamed of her, and the
mystical song had mingled with the dying sobs of
the wind. Had he seen her really, or only dreamed
of the beautiful country beneath the sea ? Yet,
dream and think of her as he might, peering out
on the sands in the yellow dawn or fading twilight,
he had never seen her again, and was quite unpre-
pared for the storm his question evoked.
The old man spoke, but Else seized him by the
cloak, as though to hold him back by force from
some invisible danger, both shuddering with horror
at her name.
To see the mermaid was to fall for good or bad
beneath her spells; to hear her sing was to be for
ever haunted by her voice !'
There were a thousand tales of her dread powers,
and before they were concluded even the Prince
was pale with fear; yet he never spoke of his meet-
ing in the palace beneath the waves.







SEEKING THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE


Next morning he mounted his horse and rode
away, promising to see them again, and turning to
wave his plumed hat to the silent girl, who stood in
the doorway watching him depart.
Away to the town! How familiar its narrow
streets and crowded alleys! He sprang up the
steep stair to the little room where his friend was
waiting-the kind, old, bent man with the long
flowing beard and the wise eyes. The Prince poured
forth his story and his ambitions.
'You must not forget the dog, my son,' said the
Philosopher; and then they turned to the great
books and set forth on the search for knowledge
wonderful and wide.
The Prince learnt marvellous signs and curious
wisdom of all sorts, and though every night they
looked together at the stars, he quite forgot the
course of time, till the Philosopher said to him :
'In two days we part, my son.'
'Why, father, are you angry with me ? Do not
send me away,' objected the pupil.
'But the King will be waiting and expecting
you. Shut up the books. Leave your chemicals
and experiments, and go in search of the dog.'
So the Prince went down into the streets; but
he had so long been following dreams that he
forgot for what he was searching, until a poor
little dog ran whimpering against him for protec-
tion. Two cruel boys were pursuing it with stones
and yells; its leg was broken, and, besides, it was
hurt and bleeding. The Prince carried it back in
his arms and bound up its wounds, and when his







THE RED PRINCE


friend objected that it was neither small nor pretty,
the Prince declared it had run to him for protec-
tion, and he would not leave it behind. So he
rode out of the town with the lame dog under his
arm, the gold ear-rings in his pocket, and the oars
and the net strapped to his saddle-bow-a most
unknightly figure.
He was more dreamy than ever after his year of
study, and stopped so often to muse by the way-
side that he would never have reached shelter that
night had not the horse known his good home, and
carried him at last safe to the little fishing-hut.
And yet he had not found the Philosopher's Stone !"
The old man and Else were overjoyed at his
return, and at the lovely gifts he brought them;
only she smiled and shook her head when he
showed her the poor lame dog.
That night the Prince dreamed a wonderful dream
as he lay in the attic-room. First, in his dream he
heard the mermaid singing-
He who seeks me beneath the tide,
Must take from me a destin'd bride.'
and looking out of the window he saw her sitting
on the sands, all yellow in the moonlight, with the
glittering coils of her tail wound round her, and she
looked straight up at the attic window, and said, in
a strange, musical voice :
Prince, you need not fear. You are brave, and I
love you; but still you must take the bride I shall
bring to you; it is your fate.'
The Prince was very indignant, for he wanted
no bride, but only to find the Philosopher's Stone.








SEEKING THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE


And now, in his dream, he stood at the door of the
hut, which was open, and coming down the little stair
inside he could see a most beautiful Princess. Her
dress was all silver and gold; she wore a coronet on
her head, and jewels sparkled on her neck and flashed
in her'hair; but a thick veil was drawn across her
face, and as she came towards him she vanished.
Three times he dreamt, and each time the voice of
the mermaid sounded more weird, and the veiled
figure moving towards him seemed more strange.
Then he awoke, and determined to dream no more.
He went to saddle his horse, for he was to start with
the dawning day.
The door of the hut was open, his steaming bowl
of porridge on the table; the old fisher lay asleep on
the settle, but Else was nowhere to be seen.
The lame dog, in its cosy basket by the hearth,
growled when he attempted to move it, so the Prince,
thinking perhaps the little animal was suffering,
resigned himself to leaving it behind, and returning
with a failed quest.
Just as he was mounting, he saw Else running
towards him over the hill; behind her the eastern
sky was yellow with dawn, and the mysterious
early light lay on sea and land-the Prince could
almost hear the mermaid's voice. He shook him-
self to dispel the fancy and waited.
Else came up panting, her dress disordered, as
with a long run, and her feet stained with dust. She
carried in her arms a small closed basket, fastened
by a red ribbon to sling round his neck; and as
she gave it made him a sign that he must promise







THE RED PRINCE


not to raise the lid until in the presence of the
King.
The Prince had long ago learnt to understand her
silent language, and promised faithfully with, mean-
time, many a curious look at the little basket. He
did not feel hopeful of its contents, but confessed
with a certain shame that anything might be better
than the dog of his own providing.
For some time he cantered along the road, and
then fell again to day-dreams, and when he reached
the place of meeting, the three ragged firs, where
they had parted one year ago, he found his brothers
both impatiently waiting.
They were fond of each other, these brothers, and,
after exchanging a joyous greeting, began to ask
eager questions.
The Blue Prince had plenty to tell of the gay
Court where he had spent his holiday, the balls and
delights of every sort; but the Black Prince never
could remember beyond the storm in the forest, and
the Red Prince really was not interesting, with his
old philosopher and his musty old books, and some-
how he quite forgot to speak of the mermaid and
the fisherman's hut.
The younger brothers laughed at him for his
shabby clothes, for the old red velvet suit, besides
being draggled and stained with salt water, was
burnt and stained, too, with the alchemist's fires, and
altogether so disreputable that they made him ride
with them straight to the Court tailor and order a
brand new suit, to be ready for his appearance at
Court on the morrow.







SEEKING THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE 63

(In a fairy tale it is well known that clothes always
last for a year, but not longer, and the Red Prince
so often forgot this that sometimes had you met him
in the street you might have thought him a beggar,
but for his noble air.)
The next morning all the Court was assembled to
receive the Princes on their return from their travels,
so that it really was as well that the Red Prince had
ordered his new suit.
The King sat on a magnificent throne, and each
in turn knelt before him to present his gift.
The Red Prince came first, and his hand shook as
he raised the lid of his basket.
What could the poor little Else have provided ?
How foolish to trust to her Perhaps a kitten, or a
sea bird Better far to have brought nothing than
mock his royal father with country gifts But there,
within the basket, on a small red velvet cushion, lay
an exceedingly small and beautiful dog, with long
white silk hair and small black eyes, and the sweetest
bark, like a tinkling bell.
A murmur of admiration ran through the
assembled Court, and all pressed forward to see.
The Prince, who for the last twenty-four hours had
been dreading the royal displeasure for neglect of
royal commands, drew a sigh of relief, and felt
ashamed of his doubt.
Everyone knows, however, that no dog could be
more perfect than the one that came out of Prince
Fortunate's nutshell, and that the old King, who
had repented his idea of resigning the kingdom, sent
his sons upon another quest. He made a long







64 THE RED PRINCE
oration, commending their diligence, setting forth
the great blessing and delights of travel, and telling
them he would spare them yet another year from
the cares of government. This time the prize should
be to him who brought back the hundred yards of
finest cambric, and, at least, it must pass through
his gold ring. With this he instructed his treasurer
to furnish them amply for the journey, blessed them
all three, and left the Court.
But as they rode again together through the
streets, the people crowded round and begged them
not to go, for they loved their young Princes, and
were tired of the King's capricious rule.
'Wait a year I wait a year!' shouted the Blue
Prince, 'and then you shall have me for King.' The
Blue Prince coveted the kingdom most.
And so began the second quest.



















CHAPTER II.


THE PRINCE IS BAFFLED BY THE MYSTERY.

For what were life
If things of sense were all ?'

THE next morning the Princes again rode out of the
town, and as they neared the ragged firs a hot dispute
broke out between the two younger men. The Blue
Prince had, in a laughing way, proposed that he and
Prince Fortunate should exchange roads; he was
anxious to try his luck in the mysterious forest to
the right, and the road across the moorland would
be an equal novelty-to his brother; but the Black
Prince had flown into an unusual passion, and at
length the quarrel grew so hot that it roused the
elder brother, who was sitting motionless on his
horse, lost in a day dream.
'Of course we each follow our former road; there
is no question about the matter,' he decided; and, as
he could be very imperative at times, the dispute
was ended, to the great joy of Prince Fortunate, and
each rode on his former way.
The Red Prince rode very slowly. He was re-







THE RED PRINCE


volving in his mind a thousand schemes, which
might end in breaking through the spell of Else's
silence, and rejecting each; there was only one per-
son able to help him, he felt sure-the mermaid !
He was convinced of her superior knowledge, and
yet he so dreaded to fall again under the power of
her unearthly spells, that he scarcely dared to seek
her.
Of course he rode straight to the fisherman's hut
-for was he not bound to do so, in gratitude to
Else, who had saved him from dire disgrace ? And
the next day he did not ride away, but lingered on,
till the days grew into long weeks; and still he
stayed. He would go out in the little sailing-boat
with the old fisherman, and often with Else sitting
silent at the rudder. He would help to draw the
nets, and afterwards to mend them, sitting on the
sunny beach. He loved to share their homely toils,
and, looking over the quiet sea, could not believe he
had seen it raging so wildly the night of his first
arrival.
Often he stood for hours gazing searchingly into
the depths of clear pools, almost fancying he could
see a gleam of the mermaid's tail, or a flash of her
yellow hair; but he never spoke of these fancies to
Else, remembering her horror of the sea-maiden.
The girl followed him silently as he walked on the
beach, and watched him constantly with sad eyes.
Sometimes her silence almost angered him, and
sometimes oppressed him with a sense of terrible
pain.
At times she was so full of joy and life that he







THE PRINCE IS BAFFLED BY THE MYSTERY 67

tried to persuade himself that she did not care for
the gift she had never known.
But once, when her great eyes were fixed on him
very wistfully, he asked abruptly :
Do you want to speak very much, Else ? You
are happy as you are? Do not fret, child, for this;
you can never say the foolish things some women
do.' And, as he noticed her grieved and startled
look, he went on: 'Your friends love you just as well.
Look at your old father'-then he stopped, for he
thought how lonely the dumb girl was; but one
friend in the world !-an old man who carried his
life in his hand every day! 'It really does not
make you very happy to talk.' He paused again,
for he saw his consolations were foolish to her, as
she walked by his side, all the passion of grief let
loose, weeping bitterly and silently. Do not weep,
dear Else,' he went on; I will ride far and wide,
but I will at last discover the secret, even if it is
deep-locked in the earth-the secret that shall re-
store your speech.' He was still thinking of the
Philosopher's Stone; but Else was not comforted,
and the Prince was saddened by her grief, and, feel-
ing he had loitered long, next day he departed.

The year had almost passed, and the Prince was
standing with his friend on the little terrace watch-
ing the stars.
'After to-morrow we must part,' said the Philo-
sopher.
'Oh, not so soon!' complained the Prince. I
have yet so much to learn.'








THE RED PRINCE


Learn obedience first,' said the old man. During
this last year his form had become bent and shrunk,
his voice was more feeble, and he leant heavily on
the young man's arm. 'To-morrow you will go into
the town and search for the fair cambric, and the
next day start on the homeward journey; but pro-
mise me, my son, to come and visit me again before
another year is ended '-he spoke very earnestly
-'promise, for I have a last message to give
you.'
'Oh, I promise !-I promise, dear master!' cried
his pupil; 'next year, and many years to come. I
have yet so much to learn from you.'
'No,' sighed the old man; once more, only once
more; and if you delay beyond the year it will be
too late.'
So the Red Prince searched the town for a
hundred yards of fine cambric; it was difficult to
find. Some he saw was coarse and some was yellow,
till at last he found an old woman, very, very poor
and bent, who told the Prince that she was starving,
and that she had taken years to spin and weave the
piece she showed; and so he bought all she had, and
gave her all the gold in his purse, and then with a
very sorrowful heart, parted from his old master
and set forth towards the sea.
The cambric he carried before him was quite a
thick packet, and he did not feel at all hopeful that
it would pass through the King's gold ring.
The old fisherman was sitting alone in his hut.
'Where is Else ?' asked the Prince.
'She is away with her godmother, who lives over







THE PRINCE IS BAFFLED BY THE MYSTERY 69

the hill,' said the fisherman. I do not know what
ailed the girl after you left, Sir Prince; she did
nothing but sit by the door of the hut and spin,
spin, spin all day, and all night too, I believe, for
she grew pale and tired. And then one day she
kissed me and went away to her godmother. From
time to time she comes back to see if there is aught
I want, and then she goes away again. I have been
terrible lonely, for she is a good girl, Else, though
she is not my own child, and can't speak.'
'But whose child is she ? You have never told
me,' asked the Prince, as they drew their chairs to
the table and sat down to their frugal meal.
The room was plain and bare, except for one
beautiful carved oak chest in the corner. He had
often noticed it before with surprise, and his eyes
were resting on it now as he spoke.
Some weeks of loneliness had made the fisherman
more ready to talk; for he began at once, and,
breaking through his usual reticence, told the Prince
the whole story of the finding of Else.
Seventeen years ago there had been a terrible
storm on that coast-just such an awful storm as
the Prince had witnessed; but that day it chanced
that, instead of a little boat, a big and beautiful ship
had struck on the rocks, and all had perished-all,
except one little girl.
It was the work of the wicked mermaid, the
fisherman believed, but she had saved the little girl.
The next morning, when the wind dropped and
the tide went down, the fisherman made his way to
the beach to see if he could save any fragments of







THE RED PRINCE


the wreck. The. poor souls on board were, alas !
long past help.
As he wandered on the sand, watching the sea,
now quite calm and rippling, he heard a strange
sound of singing, and, turning, saw a mermaid with
a little baby in her arms.
She beckoned to the fisher to come near, which
he did, trembling much, because of her wicked spells.
She laid the little baby in his arms, and as it looked
at him, with innocent eyes, he loved it at once, and
felt glad to save it from the wicked sea-maid.
'This is the only living thing saved from the great
wreck,' she said; and the man shivered as he heard
her strange voice. 'Take. care of the little maid,
and bring her up as your own daughter. The great
chest is buried safe in the sand beneath the sea; we
will bring it to land when the moon is shining.
Carry it up to the hut and keep it, for it holds
secrets of great consequence to the little child. But
it is fast closed, and you cannot open it; the same
spell will unclose the chest, revealing its secrets,
and unlock the lips of the little Else.'
'Then,' said the fisherman, 'she made me vow a
terrible vow that I would betray to none the spell
that should unclose the lips of my poor child, and
when she had discovered it to me, with one wild
laugh, she plunged under the white waves, and I
have never seen her since-nor do I want to see
her,' he added hurriedly; 'and I have taught my
little girl to fear her wicked spells, and fly from her
should she ever be seen on the beach. Sometimes I
forget Else is not my own child, and then I look at







THE PRINCE IS BAFFLED BY THE MYSTERY 7I1

the chest. I found it there on the yellow sands,
just where the mermaid said. Much ado I had to
drag it up here-and very useless work, as it cannot
be opened, and never will be.'
'How do you know that ?' asked his companion.
'No, no,' said the fisherman; 'the thing will
never happen. If only I might tell you, Prince !
But I dare not break my vow.'
The poor man looked so perplexed that the Prince
hastened to change the subject.
'Who is the godmother over the hill ?'
'A good old woman,' answered the fisherman.
'Some people say she is related to the fairies, and
knows more than she will tell; that may be as it
may be, but she is good to my girl. It was from
her Else got the little dog you took away to Court,
sir, and she gave Else all the fine flax she has been
spinning and bothering with lately-fairy flax, Else
told me it was. You know, sir, how wonderful
quick she is to speak with signs: her godmother
taught her that. Sometimes I think she hardly
misses the gift of her speech.'
But the Prince remembered her bitter weeping,
and sighed.
'When I am dead,' went on the old man,' Else
must go and live with her godmother over the hill.
Well, sir, my girl will be sorry, when she comes
home, to find she has missed your visit; but if you
must ride off betimes, you had better be resting.
Good-night.'
The Prince did not rest. Long he tossed and
thought of the old man's tale, and then he fell into a







THE RED PRINCE


troubled sleep, and the dream of a year ago returned
to him, quite as strange and vivid as before. Once
more he saw the mermaid on the sand,.sitting raised
on the coils of her shining tail; he saw the little
waves ripple and dance.round her; he heard her
strange singing, and the same yellow light was over
all. Again he stood at the door of the hut and saw
the veiled bride coming down the little stairs, decked
in her jewels, but before she uncovered her face she
always vanished. This time she called to him first,
' Prince Prince !' and her voice, clear and low, was
the most beautiful he had ever heard. He triedto
answer, but she was gone. Three times he dreamt
this weird dream, and then awoke to the real yellow
light of the dawn.
He hurried downstairs, and found Else in her
accustomed place by the fire, looking at him with
smiling eyes, as if they had parted only last
night.
She placed the rough vessels on the table, and
waited on the Prince, and then made him a sign to
undo his packet of cambric. When she saw it her
eyes danced with mirth. The Prince told her about
the poor old woman, and they grew soft with pity,
but she would not fasten it up again; instead,
slipped into his pocket a small packet, sealed and
scented with lavender.
Else Else !' said the Prince, much moved, 'is it
for me you have been toiling, spinning night and
day ?'
But she would not listen, only making him a sign
not to open her parcel yet; she pointed to the sky,







THE PRINCE IS BAFFLED BY THE MYSTERY 73

where the sun was now fully risen, and the Prince,
hurriedly mounting, rode away, promising to return.

This time Prince Fortunate was very late at the
place of meeting, so the two first arrivals rode slowly
towards the town.
'Indeed,' said the Blue Prince, 'you don't look
more respectable than last year as to clothes, and
certainly not cheerful. I don't think you have had
a happy time.'
'Well, no,' returned the elder Prince, 'I am rather
sad. I believe my friend the Philosopher is going to
die; and then, I am troubled about a dumb girl
and a mermaid.'
'A dumb girl and a mermaid!" exclaimed his
brother. Well, that is a thousand times better
than a very noisy one and a dragon !'
'A dragon!' said the Red Prince, looking at him
in great surprise (for I told you the Blue Prince was
in no way renowned for courage; indeed, some
called him cowardly). 'A dragon! have you seen
a dragon ?'
'Oh, certainly not,' he replied in a great hurry,
'and I sincerely hope I never may.'
Just at that moment the youngest Prince came
galloping up, and the conversation was interrupted.
'What have you been doing, Fortunate, that's
wonderful?' continued the Blue Prince after a
moment. Here's the Red Prince talking about mer-
maids, as if you met them every day walking about
the streets. I forgot, though, they can't possibly
walk. How awkward it must be But what have







THE RED PRINCE


you been doing, Black Prince ? You look as if you
had just spent your time in pleasant dreams.'
But the Black Prince would not tell.
When the King received them next day they had
all beautiful cambric to show, fine and long.
The hundred yards that Else had spun with such
toil was white as snow, and fine as gauze. As the
Prince unwound it, he felt deeply touched at the
thought of her labour.
Of course, the youngest Prince, who cracked first
his walnut and then his filbert, down to the grain of
corn, could not be surpassed; but the King, who
still clung to the power he had promised to give
away, sent them forth on another quest-the final
one.
'Oh dear oh dear !' said the Blue Prince, leaning
his head thoughtfully on his hand as they rode back
through the gay streets, how I wish I could have the
kingdom; I am sure I want it most. I would have
such a gay Court, and you could both fight my battles
for me.'
The search this time was to be for the beautiful
Princess, that each Prince was to bring home as
bride. This was a serious matter, and so the 'three
young men were grave and thoughtful, and scarcely
heeded the greetings of the people as they passed,
being intent on their third quest.



















CHAPTER III.


THE PRINCE DISCOVERS THE SECRET.

'Love is enough-'

WHEN for the last time the Princes set forth
together, Fortunate, you remember, dropped and
broke his sword, and then as they neared the part-
ing of the ways the Blue Prince began nervously
to address his eldest brother.
'I feel very much inclined,' he said, 'to ride
straight to the coast and see the mermaid. There
is a dragon that lives in that direction,' pointing over
the moorland, 'which is much more in your line.'
'Oh, nonsense!' began the other, and then he
remembered that his brother had tried last time to
avoid the moorland road. He knew the Blue Prince
did not love adventures, and detected a quiver of fear
in his voice, and then the mention of the dragon set
his own blood on fire, for the Red Prince, on the con-
trary, loved chivalrous and dangerous encounters of
every sort-he scarcely knew the meaning of fear.
Therefore, once roused from his day-dreams, he
might prove a formidable foe, even for a dragon.







THE RED PRINCE


He drew rein and hesitated, but then remembered
he had solemnly promised Else to return, and had
made an equally solemn vow to himself that no other
adventure should engage his attention till the secret
of her sorrow was revealed. Her beautiful face
rose before him now with its pleading eyes, and
he reluctantly abandoned the thought of the moor-
land road.
No; we decided this last time,' he answered, and
as his comrade's face fell, he laid his hand kindly on
his arm. 'I cannot, I am held by a vow I dare not
break. Avoid the dragon! Don't undertake a rash
adventure But,' he added, as he turned away, 'if
duty calls you to danger, don't forget that the blood
of a hundred brave kings flows in your veins, and
you can but die facing the foe.' With which con-
solatory piece of philosophy they parted, the Blue
Prince making a wry face, and leaving the Red Prince
somewhat perplexed and troubled by the possibility
that danger he could not share might await his
brother.
Prince Fortunate had long ago disappeared into
the forest.
Else was waiting at the door when the Red Prince
rode up. He kissed the hands that had worked so
hard for him, and then told her they were sent on
another quest, and what it was.
Her face grew very sad as she listened.
The Prince stayed with her through the summer
days, and the cold, damp autumn, and on into the
stormy winter, and until the fair springtime came
again.







THE PRINCE DISCOVERS THE SECRET


He was more dreamy and silent than before, for
he was bent on fulfilling his vow and unravelling the
mysterious secret.
Sometimes he would start from the table before
the meal was touched, and pace moodily for hours
on the shore, oftenest in the cold dawn, or by the
pale moonlight, but he never saw the mermaid.
Unearthly singing echoed in his ears, and he felt
as if her eyes were gazing at him, but he searched
the waves and rocks in vain for a sight of her face.
Else was always full of fear and grief when she
saw him thus alone on the seashore, and often he
found her in tears.
In the summer weather they would sail together
over dancing seas, or row round the green promon-
tories of the bay, or sit on the beach while the
Prince drew letters on the sand, teaching Else to
write. These lessons were continued patiently by
the fireside, for he reasoned, If she can write,
perhaps in time she may cease to long for her voice.'
Else was an apt pupil, and soon she and her
master could hold long conversations by means of
these wonderful signs, which meant a new life to
her. With the old fisherman they helped her not at
all, for he, good man, was totally ignorant of letters,
and looked upon them with rather fear, as some of
the magic in which he knew the Prince dabbled.
So the sadness went out of Else's face, and the
Prince answered all her many questions, and told
her stories of other lands; and then on the cliff at
night they watched the stars, and he explained to
her their names and signs. One night, as they stood







THE RED PRINCE


thus together, the Red Prince started, uttering a loud
accusing cry. Low down on the horizon before him
the familiar belt and sword of Orion were fast dis-
appearing into the sea.
How fast! how fast the year had fled and he
had quite forgotten till then the promise made to his
old friend the Philosopher.
Was it already too late ? He ran in hot haste to
fetch his horse, cursing his folly and his day-dreams.
Else, too, ran to the hut, and came out in a moment
bringing his saddle-bags, and carrying a paper she
had just written : 'Are you going in search of the
beautiful Princess ?'
The Prince ground his teeth in a rage, and crushed
the paper in his hand. He had wholly forgotten the
Princess.
After all, he did not gain much by starting at
night, for he lost his way in the dark, had to ford
two rivers, and reached the town as night again
fell.
Hastily leaving the horse at its usual stable, he
made his way to the narrow street, and up the dark
stair; he pushed open the little door with a sinking
heart. Was he too late?
The fire burnt low, and all the curious contents
of the room were as usual piled here and there; in
the midst of this confusion, on a low couch, lay his
old friend. The Prince fell on his knees beside him
with a torrent of reproaches for himself. The old
man smiled feebly, and stroked his favourite's bent
head.
'Never mind,' he said gently. 'I think your day-







THE PRINCE DISCOVERS THE SECRET 79

dream this time was a good one. Only I am glad
you did not quite forget.'
After the Prince came the old Philosopher revived
a little, and at last was able to climb, leaning heavily
on his pupil's strong young arm, to the high terrace,
to gaze once more on the mystery of his beloved
stars.
Then, seating himself on a low, rough bench, he
began to talk.
I have taught you many things, dear pupil,' he
said; 'some of them wise, and some I know now to
be foolish. You have learned well, and I love you.
When I die all that I have is yours : the little furnace
where we have worked together, and the big books
we have read, and even the house with this little
terrace, where we have looked at the stars; lock all
up, and come here sometimes for my sake. But
you must go now, and learn your lessons in the
world, and do not dream so much. I have taught
you of my best, but I can teach you no more.'
'Alas alas, my dear master I' moaned the Prince;
'all my little wisdom I owe to you.'
'Wisdom is a great thing,' continued the Philo-
sopher, but not all. The lessons of true wisdom
are, first humility, then obedience. Remember never
to break a promise, never to forget a friend, never to
slight the weak.' He looked long and lovingly at
the tall, brave young man before him. Have you
anything to ask me, dear pupil ? You must be quick.'
Then, hurriedly and passionately, the Prince told
the whole story of Else and the mermaid, and all that
had happened to him-his vows and dreams.







THE RED PRINCE


The master smiled. I think I can guess the
secret, but I may not tell you. You must find it out
for yourself.'
Oh, tell me tell me, kind master!' he cried. 'I
will go far to find it; I will bring it through many
dangers. Can it be bought with rubies or gold ?'
The master looked at him, still smiling; and then
the Prince thought it very strange, for the wise old
Philosopher, learned with years of deep research,
made answer to him almost in the same words used
by the rough fisherman :
'No, my son, no; it will need a better thing than
gold to unlock the silence of Else's lips.'
For a time they were silent, gazing at the stars,
and the old man rose from his seat.
'How beautiful they are!' he murmured. 'You
may learn much from them-much, too, from the
other friends of my solitude, my books; but re-
member, my dear pupil, that the best thing-better
far than riches and wisdom-is love--true and
beautiful love!'
Then he shivered a little as he walked, and leaned
heavily on the Prince, who, fearing they had lingered
too long, carried him back to the dim chamber, and
laid him on the couch.
After a little while the old man slept, and the
Prince, watching long by the dim firelight, fell asleep,
too, his head resting on a pile of worn, brown
volumes.
When he awoke, at dawn, with a start (he had been
dreaming of the mermaid, and her song mingled
with the words he heard last night), he looked to-








THE PRINCE DISCOVERS THE SECRET


wards the couch. The master lay dead, smiling like
a little child.
The Prince grieved long and bitterly; but after a
time he piled away the big books and the curious
instruments, locked up the little house, and rode
sadly out of the town. He did not stop to re-
member that the year was drawing to a close; he
only knew he was very sad, and that with Else would
be found sympathy and comfort.
When he neared the fisherman's hut the door
stood open, and the place had a desolate look; he
could see no sign of Else or her father. Presently
an old woman passed slowly along.
'Ay,' she answered his question, 'the place was
deserted. The fisherman ? Oh, he had died some
weeks back-drowned in a great storm-and the girl
had gone away over the hill. No, she did not know
where; but nearly every day Else came back in the
early dawn, and would sit on the cliff and weep for
hours. She could not speak did the traveller
know that ?-so no one could tell what she wanted.'
The Prince went into the hut and looked round,
and as night came on he lay on the settle, but a sad
unrestful feeling drove sleep from his eyes, so all
night long he paced before the hut, keeping watch
for the dawn.
When the first faint streak showed in the east
he began to walk along the cliff. By the clear, low
light he saw Else coming towards him, her head
bent, weeping silently and bitterly. When she saw
the Prince she stopped, and a great joy came into her
face. He ran towards her, and took her hands. He


81o







THE RED PRINCE


was coming to her to be comforted, but now he
said:
'Else, my poor Else! how you have suffered since
I left you Do not grieve, my beloved; I have come
back, and I will never leave you again. You shall be
my bride, and we will live together in the little hut,
and we shall be so happy you will forget your
sorrow,' for he knew by the light in her eyes that she
loved him, and he stooped and kissed her tenderly.
Suddenly she broke from him, and, covering her
face with her hands, fled away, weeping bitterly.
Her lover would have followed, but a strange power
first held him immovable, and then drew him, re-
luctantly, step by step, to the seashore, and then his
dream came true.
The strange clear light was over sea and land.
There was the mermaid, with the coils of her shining
tail gleaming in the shallow water, the light shining
on her masses of yellow hair, gazing at the Prince
with her great pale green eyes. He could not resist
-nearer and nearer he drew till the ripple washed
his feet.
'He who seeks me beneath the tide
Must take from me a destined bride;
But should he hear the mystic song,
My words may haunt his dreams for long;
And fatal spells three years will hold
The mortal these cold arms enfold.'
Thus again sang the mermaid, and she stretched out
her long white arms.
'Come !' she cried. Come! it is beautiful under
the waves.' Then suddenly she dropped her face
in her hands and wept, wept bitterly and silently as








THE PRINCE DISCOVERS THE SECRET 83

Else had. 'No,' she moaned, 'I love you, Prince;
you have no fear, but I will not draw you under
the waves; it is cold and desolate, and terrible.
I hate them! I hate them, with their ceaseless
thunder and roar! I hate them in sunshine and
in storm! I am very desolate! I sing to warn the
mariners in danger; I carry them in my arms to
save them from drowning; I drag their treasures
from the deep sea, where the waves bury them. But
yet all men call me wicked, and shudder when I am
named. Only you, Prince, have no fear. When
first I saw you in the storm, walking along my palace
floor, you had no fear, and since, when I have come
to you in dreams, you have looked at me with kind
and fearless eyes. I shall never forget you. But
now go away Go away !' she shrieked, as the Prince,
moved by compassion, made one step nearer. 'Go
away!' she waved her white arms in wild gestures,
'or else I may drag you down into the sea. Go
back to the hut; the beautiful Princess is waiting
there whom I have chosen for your bride. No,
Prince, you cannot resist. The three years are not
quite ended; you are yet under my spell; you cannot
resist; you must go and claim your destined bride.'
Then, with a low, unearthly wail, she plunged under
the sea, and was never seen again.
For a moment the Prince stood rooted to the
beach, then turned to mount the cliff. He meant to
search for Else, but was drawn, against his will,
towards the hut. As he came near he saw the
windows shining with the same yellow light that
had now faded from the sea, and through the open







84 THE RED PRINCE
door, coming down the stair, the Princess of his
dream, in her dress of silver and gold, with the
coronet on her head, wearing the sparkling jewels,
and the veil drawn over her face.
He stood amazed, then, summoning all his strength
to resist the spell, he turned to go in search of Else.
He was recalled by a beautiful voice calling to him,
'Prince, Prince!' the clear, beautiful voice of his
dream, and as he looked again the mysterious Princess,
now standing in the doorway, lifted the veil, and
revealed the lovely face of Else. And the Prince,
kneeling before her, knew that, for him, she was the
most beautiful Princess in the world.
'Why did you fly from me, dear Else, when I
claimed you as my bride ?'
'Oh, my dear Prince, I remembered that I was
nought but a poor dumb peasant girl, and that you
had been sent to search for a rich Princess, and I
knew I should shame you as a bride. I thought only
to run away, but as I ran I recalled clearly a con-
versation I must have heard when I was quite a little
child between my father and my godmother. Never
had I thought of it again, but it must have lain
asleep in my heart, and the memory of it suddenly
awoke, strong and clear. I know," said my god-
mother, I know the secret, so it is not breaking
your vow to tell me, but repeat the exact words, that
we may remember them for the little maid." The
mermaid said," answered my father, this is the
only spell that can open Else's lips : When a brave
Prince comes and loves her for herself, and chooses
her for his bride, a poor dumb peasant girl, then







THE PRINCE DISCOVERS THE SECRET


will she recover her speech, and the lid of the great
chest will unclose and reveal all the secret of her
birth." The words had faded utterly from my mind,
for I did not understand their meaning; but, sud-
denly recalling them, I ran straight here, and found
the great chest standing wide, and at the very top
these beautiful clothes. Then I felt certain I must
be a Princess, and in my delight I called aloud to
you, and knew that I possessed my long-lost voice.
I think, Prince, I think you gave it back to me with
your kiss. There are many other things in the chest,
jewels and parchments.'
So they went in and examined the old box, and
turned out its corners, and the Prince found that his
beautiful Else was heiress to a great kingdom, but
that it was a long way off over the sea.
I can claim it without fear,' she said, 'now that
it will have such a wise ruler in you, Prince.'
Then in the evening they went together to the
beach, and Else showed him where the poor fisher-
man's body had been washed on shore, and they
both mourned for the good old man.
'Perhaps the poor mermaid carried him here,' sug-
gested the Prince, but Else would not let him speak
of the mermaid, and could not pity her.
When they came up from the beach Else's god-
mother was standing at the door.
'I have come to see you once more, godchild,' she
said, and to look on your brave Prince, and to hear
your voice.'
So together they sat down to a frugal supper in
the little hut. To the Prince it was an ever new







THE RED PRINCE


delight to hear Else's beautiful voice, and yet in all
his after-life he vowed that he could ever read her
meaning in her eyes.
I have a surprise for you, too,' said the god-
mother. 'Prince, how are you to carry my
god-daughter and her great chest back to the
Court ?' And the Prince hung his head, for he had
not thought of this.
Never mind; wait and see,' said the godmother.
The next morning-they were to start at sunrise
-while the Prince was saddling his horse, he heard
a great noise of wheels, and saw a magnificent carriage
and pair drive up. The servants were in red velvet
liveries, and the carriage was cushioned within and
gilded without.
Is not this a worthy coach for a beautiful bride ?'
said the godmother.
The big carved chest was fastened behind, the
Prince mounted his horse and rode beside the
window of the carriage, the coachman cracked his
whip, and away they sped. But as the sea vanished
from view the Red Prince rose in his stirrups and
looked back. Was it a gleam of the poor mermaid's
tail that he saw, or only the sun glittering on the
water ?
As usual, two of the brothers arrived first at the
meeting-place.
The Black Prince was accompanied by a lady
riding on a snow-white horse. She was closely
veiled, and Prince Fortunate, who seemed very
happy, never took his eyes off her.
The Red Prince, after greeting his brother, made a






THE PRINCE DISCOVERS THE SECRET


sweeping bow to the lady and kissed her hand; it was
a very soft, velvety hand he thought, and her voice
when she spoke had a purring sound, and the eyes,
which he could see behind the veil, gleamed very
brightly.
The young Prince whispered that he had won the
most beautiful Princess in the world (which his
brother felt inclined to deny), and that he would
have the most marvellous tale to recount. Then
they both waited, looking across the moorland road
for the laggard.
At last they saw an old carriage lumbering towards
them, very shabby, drawn by two thin old horses,
and driven by a shabby coachman; behind, a groom
of the same type led a horse. Evidently there
had been here no godmother even distantly related
to the fairies. The Red Prince had forgotten the
parting with his brother, but now a strange dread
awoke in his heart, and he watched eagerly.
Very slowly the old vehicle lumbered up; the man
with the horse rode on and waited by the firs.
When at last the carriage drew quite close it stopped,
the door opened, his brother got out, and with a
gasp of relief the Red Prince realized how great his
fears had been.
The new arrival, with a sign of greeting to the
others, made his way slowly towards his horse.
He moved very languidly, like a man recently re-
covered from severe illness, but that was not all.
The two brothers looked at each other in consterna-
tion. Not only did he walk slowly and very lamely,
but he carried his arm in a sling, and as he lifted his







88 THE RED PRINCE

face they saw it was horribly scarred and sealed
with more than one scarcely healed wound; He
paused uncertainly beside the horse, and his servant
helped him to mount. Then, before moving, he
dropped the reins for a moment, and waved his hat
towards the old carriage. He was answered by the
flutter of a handkerchief from the window-someone
was evidently watching for this signal that all was
well with him.
The two brothers, as I said, looked at each other
in dismay.
'Good gracious what has happened to the Blue
Prince ?' exclaimed the youngest. He has evidently
been through some most perilous adventure.'
The Blue Prince in such a plight! The Blue
Prince, who would never hunt anything more dan-
gerous than a hare, who utterly refused 'to appear,
even as a spectator, at a tournament! While they
had been happily idling their time, this brother
whom they were wont to despise, and protect from
everything disagreeable, had been passing through
some deadly peril !
The Red Prince's heart smote him.
What has happened ?' they exclaimed together;
'and surely you are not fit to ride !'
'Rubbish!' said the Blue Prince. 'You are as
foolish as my bride. Would you have me carried
into the city in a carriage like a lady or an infirm old
man? No! I am alive, as you see, and have won
the most beautiful Princess in the world, and surely
that is all that is needed.'
His manner was so natural, and his laugh so gay,




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