Home Made Cookies.ca - 5000+ Recipes, 15+ Cookbooks. Ultimate Recipe Source. Visit Home Made Cookies.caInformational Site Network Informational
Privacy
Home - Stories - Categories - Books - Search

Featured Stories

The Little Robber Girl
The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Categories

A FAIRY-TALE

Aesop

ALPHABET RHYMES

AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES

AMUSING ALPHABETS

Animal Sketches And Stories

ANIMAL STORIES

ARBOR DAY

BIRD DAY

Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon

Bohemian Story

BRER RABBIT and HIS NEIGHBORS

CATS

CHINESE MOTHER-GOOSE RHYMES

CHRISTMAS DAY

COLUMBUS DAY

CUSTOM RHYMES

Didactic Stories

Everyday Verses

EVIL SPIRITS

FABLES

FABLES FOR CHILDREN

FABLES FROM INDIA

FATHER PLAYS AND MOTHER PLAYS

FIRST STORIES FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK

For Classes Ii. And Iii.

For Classes Iv. And V.

For Kindergarten And Class I.

FUN FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK

GERMAN

Good Little Henry

HALLOWEEN

Happy Days

INDEPENDENCE DAY

JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES]

Jean De La Fontaine

King Alexander's Adventures

KINGS AND WARRIORS

LABOR DAY

LAND AND WATER FAIRIES

Lessons From Nature

LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY

LITTLE STORIES that GROW BIG

Love Lyrics

Lyrics

MAY DAY

MEMORIAL DAY

Modern

MODERN FABLES

MODERN FAIRY TALES

MOTHER GOOSE CONTINUED

MOTHER GOOSE JINGLES

MOTHER GOOSE SONGS AND STORIES

MOTHERS' DAY

Myths And Legends

NATURE SONGS

NEGLECT THE FIRE

NUMBER RHYMES

NURSERY GAMES

NURSERY-SONGS.

NURSEY STORIES

OLD-FASHIONED STORIES

ON POPULAR EDUCATION

OURSON

Perseus

PLACES AND FAMILIES

Poems Of Nature

Polish Story

Popular

PROVERB RHYMES

RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)

RHYMES CONCERNING "MOTHER"

RIDDLE RHYMES

RIDING SONGS for FATHER'S KNEE

ROMANCES OF THE MIDDLE AGES

SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY

Selections From The Bible

Servian Story

SLEEPY-TIME SONGS AND STORIES

Some Children's Poets

Songs Of Life

STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS

STORIES FOR CHILDREN

STORIES for LITTLE BOYS

STORIES FROM BOTANY

STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN

STORIES FROM IRELAND

STORIES FROM PHYSICS

STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA

STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY

STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS

SUPERSITITIONS

THANKSGIVING DAY

The Argonauts

THE CANDLE

THE DAYS OF THE WEEK

THE DECEMBRISTS

The King Of The Golden River; Or, The Black Brothers

The Little Grey Mouse

THE OLD FAIRY TALES

The Princess Rosette

THE THREE HERMITS

THE TWO OLD MEN

Theseus

Traditional

UNCLES AND AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES

VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES

WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY

WHAT MEN LIVE BY

WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO

The Golden Mermaid

from The Green Fairy Book





A powerful king had, among many other treasures, a wonderful tree
in his garden, which bore every year beautiful golden apples. But
the King was never able to enjoy his treasure, for he might watch
and guard them as he liked, as soon as they began to get ripe they
were always stolen. At last, in despair, he sent for his three
sons, and said to the two eldest, 'Get yourselves ready for a
journey. Take gold and silver with you, and a large retinue of
servants, as beseems two noble princes, and go through the world
till you find out who it is that steals my golden apples, and, if
possible, bring the thief to me that I may punish him as he
deserves.' His sons were delighted at this proposal, for they had
long wished to see something of the world, so they got ready for
their journey with all haste, bade their father farewell, and left
the town.

The youngest Prince was much disappointed that he too was not sent
out on his travels; but his father wouldn't hear of his going, for
he had always been looked upon as the stupid one of the family,
and the King was afraid of something happening to him. But the
Prince begged and implored so long, that at last his father
consented to let him go, and furnished him with gold and silver as
he had done his brothers. But he gave him the most wretched horse
in his stable, because the foolish youth hadn't asked for a
better. So he too set out on his journey to secure the thief, amid
the jeers and laughter of the whole court and town.

His path led him first through a wood, and he hadn't gone very far
when he met a lean-looking wolf who stood still as he approached.
The Prince asked him if he were hungry, and when the wolf said he
was, he got down from his horse and said, 'If you are really as
you say and look, you may take my horse and eat it.'

The wolf didn't wait to have the offer repeated, but set to work,
and soon made an end of the poor beast. When the Prince saw how
different the wolf looked when he had finished his meal, he said
to him, 'Now, my friend, since you have eaten up my horse, and I
have such a long way to go, that, with the best will in the world,
I couldn't manage it on foot, the least you can do for me is to
act as my horse and to take me on your back.'

'Most certainly,' said the wolf, and, letting the Prince mount
him, he trotted gaily through the wood. After they had gone a
little way he turned round and asked his rider where he wanted to
go to, and the Prince proceeded to tell him the whole story of the
golden apples that had been stolen out of the King's garden, and
how his other two brothers had set forth with many followers to
find the thief. When he had finished his story, the wolf, who was
in reality no wolf but a mighty magician, said he thought he could
tell him who the thief was, and could help him to secure him.
'There lives,' he said, 'in a neighbouring country, a mighty
emperor who has a beautiful golden bird in a cage, and this is the
creature who steals the golden apples, but it flies so fast that
it is impossible to catch it at its theft. You must slip into the
Emperor's palace by night and steal the bird with the cage; but be
very careful not to touch the walls as you go out.'

The following night the Prince stole into the Emperor's palace,
and found the bird in its cage as the wolf had told him he would.
He took hold of it carefully, but in spite of all his caution he
touched the wall in trying to pass by some sleeping watchmen. They
awoke at once, and, seizing him, beat him and put him into chains.
Next day he was led before the Emperor, who at once condemned him
to death and to be thrown into a dark dungeon till the day of his
execution arrived.

The wolf, who, of course, knew by his magic arts all that had
happened to the Prince, turned himself at once into a mighty
monarch with a large train of followers, and proceeded to the
Court of the Emperor, where he was received with every show of
honour. The Emperor and he conversed on many subjects, and, among
other things, the stranger asked his host if he had many slaves.
The Emperor told him he had more than he knew what to do with, and
that a new one had been captured that very night for trying to
steal his magic bird, but that as he had already more than enough
to feed and support, he was going to have this last captive hanged
next morning.

'He must have been a most daring thief,' said the King, 'to try
and steal the magic bird, for depend upon it the creature must
have been well guarded. I would really like to see this bold
rascal.' 'By all means,' said the Emperor; and he himself led his
guest down to the dungeon where the unfortunate Prince was kept
prisoner. When the Emperor stepped out of the cell with the King,
the latter turned to him and said, 'Most mighty Emperor, I have
been much disappointed. I had thought to find a powerful robber,
and instead of that I have seen the most miserable creature I can
imagine. Hanging is far too good for him. If I had to sentence him
I should make him perform some very difficult task, under pain of
death. If he did it so much the better for you, and if he didn't,
matters would just be as they are now and he could still be
hanged.' 'Your counsel,' said the Emperor, 'is excellent, and, as
it happens, I've got the very thing for him to do. My nearest
neighbour, who is also a mighty Emperor, possesses a golden horse
which he guards most carefully. The prisoner shall be told to
steal this horse and bring it to me.'

The Prince was then let out of his dungeon, and told his life
would be spared if he succeeded in bringing the golden horse to
the Emperor. He did not feel very elated at this announcement, for
he did not know how in the world he was to set about the task, and
he started on his way weeping bitterly, and wondering what had
made him leave his father's house and kingdom. But before he had
gone far his friend the wolf stood before him and said, 'Dear
Prince, why are you so cast down? It is true you didn't succeed in
catching the bird; but don't let that discourage you, for this
time you will be all the more careful, and will doubtless catch
the horse.' With these and like words the wolf comforted the
Prince, and warned him specially not to touch the wall or let the
horse touch it as he led it out, or he would fail in the same way
as he had done with the bird.

After a somewhat lengthy journey the Prince and the wolf came to
the kingdom ruled over by the Emperor who possessed the golden
horse. One evening late they reached the capital, and the wolf
advised the Prince to set to work at once, before their presence
in the city had aroused the watchfulness of the guards. They
slipped unnoticed into the Emperor's stables and into the very
place where there were the most guards, for there the wolf rightly
surmised they would find the horse. When they came to a certain
inner door the wolf told the Prince to remain outside, while he
went in. In a short time he returned and said, 'My dear Prince,
the horse is most securely watched, but I have bewitched all the
guards, and if you will only be careful not to touch the wall
yourself, or let the horse touch it as you go out, there is no
danger and the game is yours. The Prince, who had made up his mind
to be more than cautious this time, went cheerfully to work. He
found all the guards fast asleep, and, slipping into the horse's
stall, he seized it by the bridle and led it out; but,
unfortunately, before they had got quite clear of the stables a
gadfly stung the horse and caused it to switch its tail, whereby
it touched the wall. In a moment all the guards awoke, seized the
Prince and beat him mercilessly with their horse-whips, after
which they bound him with chains, and flung him into a dungeon.
Next morning they brought him before the Emperor, who treated him
exactly as the King with the golden bird had done, and commanded
him to be beheaded on the following day.

When the wolf-magician saw that the Prince had failed this time
too, he transformed himself again into a mighty king, and
proceeded with an even more gorgeous retinue than the first time
to the Court of the Emperor. He was courteously received and
entertained, and once more after dinner he led the conversation on
to the subject of slaves, and in the course of it again requested
to be allowed to see the bold robber who had dared to break into
the Emperor's stable to steal his most valuable possession. The
Emperor consented, and all happened exactly as it had done at the
court of the Emperor with the golden bird; the prisoner's life was
to be spared only on condition that within three days he should
obtain possession of the golden mermaid, whom hitherto no mortal
had ever approached.

Very depressed by his dangerous and difficult task, the Prince
left his gloomy prison; but, to his great joy, he met his friend
the wolf before he had gone many miles on his journey. The cunning
creature pretended he knew nothing of what had happened to the
Prince, and asked him how he had fared with the horse. The Prince
told him all about his misadventure, and the condition on which
the Emperor had promised to spare his life. Then the wolf reminded
him that he had twice got him out of prison, and that if he would
only trust in him, and do exactly as he told him, he would
certainly succeed in this last undertaking. Thereupon they bent
their steps towards the sea, which stretched out before them, as
far as their eyes could see, all the waves dancing and glittering
in the bright sunshine. 'Now,' continued the wolf, 'I am going to
turn myself into a boat full of the most beautiful silken
merchandise, and you must jump boldly into the boat, and steer
with my tail in your hand right out into the open sea. You will
soon come upon the golden mermaid. Whatever you do, don't follow
her if she calls you, but on the contrary say to her, "The buyer
comes to the seller, not the seller to the buyer." After which you
must steer towards the land, and she will follow you, for she
won't be able to resist the beautiful wares you have on board your
ship.'

The Prince promised faithfully to do all he had been told,
whereupon the wolf changed himself into a ship full of most
exquisite silks, of every shade and colour imaginable. The
astonished Prince stepped into the boat, and, holding the wolf's
tail in his hand, he steered boldly out into the open sea, where
the sun was gilding the blue waves with its golden rays. Soon he
saw the golden mermaid swimming near the ship, beckoning and
calling to him to follow her; but, mindful of the wolf's warning,
he told her in a loud voice that if she wished to buy anything she
must come to him. With these words he turned his magic ship round
and steered back towards the land. The mermaid called out to him
to stand still, but he refused to listen to her and never paused
till he reached the sand of the shore. Here he stopped and waited
for the mermaid, who had swum after him. When she drew near the
boat he saw that she was far more beautiful than any mortal he had
ever beheld. She swam round the ship for some time, and then swung
herself gracefully on board, in order to examine the beautiful
silken stuffs more closely. Then the Prince seized her in his
arms, and kissing her tenderly on the cheeks and lips, he told her
she was his for ever; at the same moment the boat turned into a
wolf again, which so terrified the mermaid that she clung to the
Prince for protection.

So the golden mermaid was successfully caught, and she soon felt
quite happy in her new life when she saw she had nothing to fear
either from the Prince or the wolf--she rode on the back of the
latter, and the Prince rode behind her. When they reached the
country ruled over by the Emperor with the golden horse, the
Prince jumped down, and, helping the mermaid to alight, he led her
before the Emperor. At the sight of the beautiful mermaid and of
the grim wolf, who stuck close to the Prince this time, the guards
all made respectful obeisance, and soon the three stood before his
Imperial Majesty. When the Emperor heard from the Prince how he
had gained possession of his fair prize, he at once recognized
that he had been helped by some magic art, and on the spot gave up
all claim to the beautiful mermaid. 'Dear youth,' he said,
'forgive me for my shameful conduct to you, and, as a sign that
you pardon me, accept the golden horse as a present. I acknowledge
your power to be greater even than I can understand, for you have
succeeded in gaining possession of the golden mermaid, whom
hitherto no mortal has ever been able to approach.' Then they all
sat down to a huge feast, and the Prince had to relate his
adventures all over again, to the wonder and astonishment of the
whole company.

But the Prince was wearying now to return to his own kingdom, so
as soon as the feast was over he took farewell of the Emperor, and
set out on his homeward way. He lifted the mermaid on to the
golden horse, and swung himself up behind her--and so they rode on
merrily, with the wolf trotting behind, till they came to the
country of the Emperor with the golden bird. The renown of the
Prince and his adventure had gone before him, and the Emperor sat
on his throne awaiting the arrival of the Prince and his
companions. When the three rode into the courtyard of the palace,
they were surprised and delighted to find everything festively
illuminated and decorated for their reception. When the Prince and
the golden mermaid, with the wolf behind them, mounted the steps
of the palace, the Emperor came forward to meet them, and led them
to the throne room. At the same moment a servant appeared with the
golden bird in its golden cage, and the Emperor begged the Prince
to accept it with his love, and to forgive him the indignity he
had suffered at his hands. Then the Emperor bent low before the
beautiful mermaid, and, offering her his arm, he led her into
dinner, closely followed by the Prince and her friend the wolf;
the latter seating himself at table, not the least embarrassed
that no one had invited him to do so.

As soon as the sumptuous meal was over, the Prince and his mermaid
took leave of the Emperor, and, seating themselves on the golden
horse, continued their homeward journey. On the way the wolf
turned to the Prince and said, 'Dear friends, I must now bid you
farewell, but I leave you under such happy circumstances that I
cannot feel our parting to be a sad one.' The Prince was very
unhappy when he heard these words, and begged the wolf to stay
with them always; but this the good creature refused to do, though
he thanked the Prince kindly for his invitation, and called out as
he disappeared into the thicket, 'Should any evil befall you, dear
Prince, at any time, you may rely on my friendship and gratitude.'
These were the wolf's parting words, and the Prince could not
restrain his tears when he saw his friend vanishing in the
distance; but one glance at his beloved mermaid soon cheered him
up again, and they continued on their journey merrily.

The news of his son's adventures had already reached his father's
Court, and everyone was more than astonished at the success of the
once despised Prince. His elder brothers, who had in vain gone in
pursuit of the thief of the golden apples, were furious over their
younger brother's good fortune, and plotted and planned how they
were to kill him. They hid themselves in the wood through which
the Prince had to pass on his way to the palace, and there fell on
him, and, having beaten him to death, they carried off the golden
horse and the golden bird. But nothing they could do would
persuade the golden mermaid to go with them or move from the spot,
for ever since she had left the sea, she had so attached herself
to her Prince that she asked nothing else than to live or die with
him.

For many weeks the poor mermaid sat and watched over the dead body
of her lover, weeping salt tears over his loss, when suddenly one
day their old friend the wolf appeared and said, 'Cover the
Prince's body with all the leaves and flowers you can find in the
wood.' The maiden did as he told her, and then the wolf breathed
over the flowery grave, and, lo and behold! the Prince lay there
sleeping as peacefully as a child. 'Now you may wake him if you
like,' said the wolf, and the mermaid bent over him and gently
kissed the wounds his brothers had made on his forehead, and the
Prince awoke, and you may imagine how delighted he was to find his
beautiful mermaid beside him, though he felt a little depressed
when he thought of the loss of the golden bird and the golden
horse. After a time the wolf, who had likewise fallen on the
Prince's neck, advised them to continue their journey, and once
more the Prince and his lovely bride mounted on the faithful
beast's back.

The King's joy was great when he embraced his youngest son, for he
had long since despaired of his return. He received the wolf and
the beautiful golden mermaid most cordially too, and the Prince
was made to tell his adventures all over from the beginning. The
poor old father grew very sad when he heard of the shameful
conduct of his elder sons, and had them called before him. They
turned as white as death when they saw their brother, whom they
thought they had murdered, standing beside them alive and well,
and so startled were they that when the King asked them why they
had behaved so wickedly to their brother they could think of no
lie, but confessed at once that they had slain the young Prince in
order to obtain possession of the golden horse and the golden
bird. Their father's wrath knew no bounds, and he ordered them
both to be banished, but he could not do enough to honour his
youngest son, and his marriage with the beautiful mermaid was
celebrated with much pomp and magnificence. When the festivities
were over, the wolf bade them all farewell, and returned once more
to his life in the woods, much to the regret of the old King and
the young Prince and his bride.

And so ended the adventures of the Prince with his friend the
wolf.





Next: The War Of The Wolf And The Fox

Previous: The Story Of A Clever Tailor



Add to del.icio.us Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Del.icio.us Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
SHAREADD TO EBOOK



Viewed: 1146