THE GOOSE-GIRL





There was once an old Queen who had a very beautiful daughter. The

time came when the maiden was to go into a distant country to be

married. The old Queen packed up everything suitable to a royal

outfit.



She also sent a Waiting-woman with her. When the hour of departure

came they bade each other a sorrowful farewell and set out for the

bridegroom's country.



When they had ridden for a time the Princess became very thirsty, and

said to the Waiting-woman, "Go down and fetch me some water in my cup

from the stream. I must have something to drink."



"If you are thirsty," said the Waiting-woman, "dismount yourself, lie

down by the water and drink. I don't choose to be your servant."



Being very thirsty, the Princess dismounted, and knelt by the flowing

water.



Now, when she was about to mount her horse again, the Waiting-woman

said, "By rights your horse belongs to me; this jade will do for you!"



The poor little Princess was obliged to give way. Then the

Waiting-woman, in a harsh voice, ordered her to take off her royal

robes, and to put on her own mean garments. Finally she forced her to

swear that she would not tell a person at the Court what had taken

place. Had she not taken the oath she would have been killed on the

spot.



There was great rejoicing when they arrived at the castle. The Prince

hurried towards them, and lifted the Waiting-woman from her horse,

thinking she was his bride. She was led upstairs, but the real

Princess had to stay below.



The old King looked out of the window and saw the delicate, pretty

little creature standing in the courtyard; so he asked the bride about

her companion.



"I picked her up on the way, and brought her with me for company. Give

the girl something to do to keep her from idling."



The old King said, "I have a little lad who looks after the geese; she

may help him."



The boy was called little Conrad, and the real bride was sent with him

to look after the geese. When they reached the meadow, the Princess

sat down on the grass and let down her hair, and when Conrad saw it he

was so delighted that he wanted to pluck some out; but she said--



"Blow, blow, little breeze,

And Conrad's hat seize.

Let him join in the chase

While away it is whirled,

Till my tresses are curled

And I rest in my place."



Then a strong wind sprang up, which blew away Conrad's hat right over

the fields, and he had to run after it. When he came back her hair was

all put up again.



When they got home Conrad went to the King and said, "I won't tend the

geese with that maiden again."



"Why not?" asked the King.



Then Conrad went on to tell the King all that had happened in the

field. The King ordered Conrad to go next day as usual and he followed

into the field and hid behind a bush. He saw it happen just as Conrad

had told him. Thereupon he went away unnoticed; and in the evening,

when the Goose-girl came home, he asked her why she did all these

things.



"That I may not tell you," she answered.



Then he said, "If you won't tell me, then tell the iron stove there;"

and he went away.



She crept up to the stove and unburdened her heart to it. The King

stood outside by the pipes of the stove and heard all she said. Then

he came back, and caused royal robes to be put upon her, and her

beauty was a marvel. Then he called his son and told him that he had a

false bride, but that the true bride was here.



The Prince was charmed with her beauty and a great banquet was

prepared. The bridegroom sat at the head of the table, with the

Princess on one side and the Waiting-woman at the other; but she did

not recognize the Princess.



When they had eaten, the King put a riddle to the Waiting-woman. "What

does a person deserve that deceives his master?" telling the whole

story.



The false bride answered, "He must be put into a barrel and dragged

along by two white horses till he is dead."



"That is your doom," said the King, "and the judgment shall be carried

out."



When the sentence was fulfilled, the young Prince married his true

bride, and they lived together in peace and happiness.





THE GOOD SHEPHERD. THE GORGON'S HEAD facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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