The king showed her all the golden things, each separately-the dishes, the bowls, the birds, the wild animals, and the wonderful beasts. Many hours were passed in looking at them all, and in her pleasure the Princess never noticed that the ship was moving onwards. When she had examined the last,she thanked the merchant, and prepared to return home; but when she came to the ship’s side, she saw that they were on the high seas, far from land, and speeding on under full sail. “Ah!” cried she full of terror “Iam betrayed and carried off by this merchant. Oh that I had died rather than have fallen into his power.
The king took hold of her hand, and said,“No merchant amI, but a king, and no baser of birth than thyself; it is because of my over-mastering love for thee that I have carried thee off by cunning. Thefirst time I saw thy picture I fell fainting to the earth.” When the princess of the Golden Palace heard this she became more trustful, and her heart inclined favorably towards him, so that she willingly consented to became hiswife.
It happened, however, as they were still journeying on the open sea, that faithful John, as he sat in the forepart of the ship and made music, caught sight of three ravens in the air flying overhead. Then he stopped playing, and listened to what they said, one to another, for he understood them quite well. The first one cried, “Ay, there goes the Princess of the Golden Palace.” “Yes,” answered the second; “but he has not got her save yet.” And the third said, “ He has her, though; she sits beside him in the ship.” Then the first one spoke again, “What does that avail him? When they come on land a fox-red horse will spring towards them; then will the king try to ride him; and if he does, the horse will rise with him into the air, so that he will never see his bride again.” The second raven asked, “Is there no remedy.” “Oh yes; if another man mounts quickly, and takes the pistol out of the holster and shoots the horse dead with it, he will save the young king. But who knows it and does it will become stone from toe to knee.”
Then said the second, “ I know further,that if the horse should be killed, the young king will not even then be sure of his bride. When arrive at the castle there will lie a wrought bride-shirt in a dish, and it will seem all woven of gold and silver, but it is really of sulphtur and pitch, and if he puts it on it will burn him to the marrow of his bones.” The third raven said “Is there no remedy?” “Oh yes,” answered the second; “If another man with gloves on picks up the shirt, and throws it into the fire, so that it is consumed, then is the young king delivered. But what avails that? He who knows it and does it will be turned into stone from his heart to his knee.”
Then spoke the third, “I know yet more,that even when the bride shirt is burnt up the king is not sure of his bride; when at the wedding the dance begins, and the young queen dances, she will suddenly grow pale and fall to the earth as if she were dead, and unless someone lift her up and takes three drops of blood from her right breast, she will die. Bu the that knows this and does this will become stone from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot.” When the ravens had spoken thus among themselves they flew away.
We will continue later.