Once upon a time, though it was not in my time or in your time, or in anybody else's time, there was a great King who had an only son, the Prince and Heir who was about to come of age. So the King sent round a herald who should blow his tr... Read more of The Cinder-maid at Children Stories.caInformational Site Network Informational
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The Flower Queen's Daughter

from The Yellow Fairy Book





From the Bukowinaer. Von Wliolocki.

A young Prince was riding one day through a meadow that stretched
for miles in front of him, when he came to a deep open ditch. He
was turning aside to avoid it, when he heard the sound of someone
crying in the ditch. He dismounted from his horse, and stepped
along in the direction the sound came from. To his astonishment
he found an old woman, who begged him to help her out of the
ditch. The Prince bent down and lifted her out of her living
grave, asking her at the same time how she had managed to get
there.

'My son,' answered the old woman, 'I am a very poor woman, and
soon after midnight I set out for the neighbouring town in order
to sell my eggs in the market on the following morning; but I
lost my way in the dark, and fell into this deep ditch, where I
might have remained for ever but for your kindness.'

Then the Prince said to her, 'You can hardly walk; I will put you
on my horse and lead you home. Where do you live?'

'Over there, at the edge of the forest in the little hut you see
in the distance,' replied the old woman.

The Prince lifted her on to his horse, and soon they reached the
hut, where the old woman got down, and turning to the Prince
said, 'Just wait a moment, and I will give you something.' And
she disappeared into her hut, but returned very soon and said,
'You are a mighty Prince, but at the same time you have a kind
heart, which deserves to be rewarded. Would you like to have the
most beautiful woman in the world for your wife?'

'Most certainly I would,' replied the Prince.

So the old woman continued, 'The most beautiful woman in the
whole world is the daughter of the Queen of the Flowers, who has
been captured by a dragon. If you wish to marry her, you must
first set her free, and this I will help you to do. I will give
you this little bell: if you ring it once, the King of the Eagles
will appear; if you ring it twice, the King of the Foxes will
come to you; and if you ring it three times, you will see the
King of the Fishes by your side. These will help you if you are
in any difficulty. Now farewell, and heaven prosper your
undertaking.' She handed him the little bell, and there
disappeared hut and all, as though the earth had swallowed her
up.

Then it dawned on the Prince that he had been speaking to a good
fairy, and putting the little bell carefully in his pocket, he
rode home and told his father that he meant to set the daughter
of the Flower Queen free, and intended setting out on the
following day into the wide world in search of the maid.

So the next morning the Prince mounted his fine horse and left
his home. He had roamed round the world for a whole year, and
his horse had died of exhaustion, while he himself had suffered
much from want and misery, but still he had come on no trace of
her he was in search of. At last one day he came to a hut, in
front of which sat a very old man. The Prince asked him, 'Do you
not know where the Dragon lives who keeps the daughter of the
Flower Queen prisoner?'

'No, I do not,' answered the old man. 'But if you go straight
along this road for a year, you will reach a hut where my father
lives, and possibly he may be able to tell you.'

The Prince thanked him for his information, and continued his
journey for a whole year along the same road, and at the end of
it came to the little hut, where he found a very old man. He
asked him the same question, and the old man answered, 'No, I do
not know where the Dragon lives. But go straight along this road
for another year, and you will come to a hut in which my father
lives. I know he can tell you.'

And so the Prince wandered on for another year, always on the
same road, and at last reached the hut where he found the third
old man. He put the same question to him as he had put to his
son and grandson; but this time the old man answered, 'The Dragon
lives up there on the mountain, and he has just begun his year of
sleep. For one whole year he is always awake, and the next he
sleeps. But if you wish to see the Flower Queen's daughter go up
the second mountain: the Dragon's old mother lives there, and she
has a ball every night, to which the Flower Queen's daughter goes
regularly.'

So the Prince went up the second mountain, where he found a
castle all made of gold with diamond windows. He opened the big
gate leading into the courtyard, and was just going to walk in,
when seven dragons rushed on him and asked him what he wanted?

The Prince replied, 'I have heard so much of the beauty and
kindness of the Dragon's Mother, and would like to enter her
service.'

This flattering speech pleased the dragons, and the eldest of
them said, 'Well, you may come with me, and I will take you to
the Mother Dragon.'

They entered the castle and walked through twelve splendid halls,
all made of gold and diamonds. In the twelfth room they found
the Mother Dragon seated on a diamond throne. She was the
ugliest woman under the sun, and, added to it all, she had three
heads. Her appearance was a great shock to the Prince, and so
was her voice, which was like the croaking of many ravens. She
asked him, 'Why have you come here?'

The Prince answered at once, 'I have heard so much of your beauty
and kindness, that I would very much like to enter your service.'

'Very well,' said the Mother Dragon; 'but if you wish to enter my
service, you must first lead my mare out to the meadow and look
after her for three days; but if you don't bring her home safely
every evening, we will eat you up.'

The Prince undertook the task and led the mare out to the meadow.

But no sooner had they reached the grass than she vanished. The
Prince sought for her in vain, and at last in despair sat down on
a big stone and contemplated his sad fate. As he sat thus lost
in thought, he noticed an eagle flying over his head. Then he
suddenly bethought him of his little bell, and taking it out of
his pocket he rang it once. In a moment he heard a rustling
sound in the air beside him, and the King of the Eagles sank at
his feet.

'I know what you want of me,' the bird said. 'You are looking
for the Mother Dragon's mare who is galloping about among the
clouds. I will summon all the eagles of the air together, and
order them to catch the mare and bring her to you.' And with
these words the King of the Eagles flew away. Towards evening
the Prince heard a mighty rushing sound in the air, and when he
looked up he saw thousands of eagles driving the mare before
them. They sank at his feet on to the ground and gave the mare
over to him. Then the Prince rode home to the old Mother Dragon,
who was full of wonder when she saw him, and said, 'You have
succeeded to-day in looking after my mare, and as a reward you
shall come to my ball to-night.' She gave him at the same time a
cloak made of copper, and led him to a big room where several
young he-dragons and she-dragons were dancing together. Here,
too, was the Flower Queen's beautiful daughter. Her dress was
woven out of the most lovely flowers in the world, and her
complexion was like lilies and roses. As the Prince was dancing
with her he managed to whisper in her ear, 'I have come to set
you free!'

Then the beautiful girl said to him, 'If you succeed in bringing
the mare back safely the third day, ask the Mother Dragon to give
you a foal of the mare as a reward.'

The ball came to an end at midnight, and early next morning the
Prince again led the Mother Dragon's mare out into the meadow.
But again she vanished before his eyes. Then he took out his
little bell and rang it twice.

In a moment the King of the Foxes stood before him and said: 'I
know already what you want, and will summon all the foxes of the
world together to find the mare who has hidden herself in a
hill.'

With these words the King of the Foxes disappeared, and in the
evening many thousand foxes brought the mare to the Prince.

Then he rode home to the Mother-Dragon, from whom he received
this time a cloak made of silver, and again she led him to the
ball-room.

The Flower Queen's daughter was delighted to see him safe and
sound, and when they were dancing together she whispered in his
ear: 'If you succeed again to-morrow, wait for me with the foal
in the meadow. After the ball we will fly away together.'

On the third day the Prince led the mare to the meadow again; but
once more she vanished before his eyes. Then the Prince took out
his little bell and rang it three times.

In a moment the King of the Fishes appeared, and said to him: 'I
know quite well what you want me to do, and I will summon all the
fishes of the sea together, and tell them to bring you back the
mare, who is hiding herself in a river.'

Towards evening the mare was returned to him, and when he led her
home to the Mother Dragon she said to him:

'You are a brave youth, and I will make you my body-servant. But
what shall I give you as a reward to begin with?'

The Prince begged for a foal of the mare, which the Mother Dragon
at once gave him, and over and above, a cloak made of gold, for
she had fallen in love with him because he had praised her
beauty.

So in the evening he appeared at the ball in his golden cloak;
but before the entertainment was over he slipped away, and went
straight to the stables, where he mounted his foal and rode out
into the meadow to wait for the Flower Queen's daughter. Towards
midnight the beautiful girl appeared, and placing her in front of
him on his horse, the Prince and she flew like the wind till they
reached the Flower Queen's dwelling. But the dragons had noticed
their flight, and woke their brother out of his year's sleep. He
flew into a terrible rage when he heard what had happened, and
determined to lay siege to the Flower Queen's palace; but the
Queen caused a forest of flowers as high as the sky to grow up
round her dwelling, through which no one could force a way.

When the Flower Queen heard that her daughter wanted to marry the
Prince, she said to him: 'I will give my consent to your marriage
gladly, but my daughter can only stay with you in summer. In
winter, when everything is dead and the ground covered with snow,
she must come and live with me in my palace underground.' The
Prince consented to this, and led his beautiful bride home, where
the wedding was held with great pomp and magnificence. The young
couple lived happily together till winter came, when the Flower
Queen's daughter departed and went home to her mother. In summer
she returned to her husband, and their life of joy and happiness
began again, and lasted till the approach of winter, when the
Flower Queen's daughter went back again to her mother. This
coming and going continued all her life long, and in spite of it
they always lived happily together.





Next: The Flying Ship

Previous: The Magic Ring



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