The Grateful Prince

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NARRATOR: Once upon a time the king of Kungla lost his way in a dense forest. Long did he wander in search of a path that might lead him out of it, but all in vain.  Suddenly, an old man appeared before him.

OLD MAN: What are you looking for in this dark forest, my brother?.  There is nothing here but wild beasts.

KING: I have lost my way and am trying to find the road to my house.

OLD MAN: I’ll be glad to help you, if you promise to give me in reward that which you set eyes on first when you get home.

KING: The first to meet me always is my dog, and he is the best hunting dog I have. But why should I give him up to you?.  I’ll get out of here without your help sooner or later.

NARRATOR: The old man heard him out in silence and vanished. The king wandered round in the forest for another three days and three nights till there was nothing left of the food he had brought with him.  On the fourth day the same old man appeared before him again.

OLD MAN: Now do you agree to give me that which you set eyes on first when you get home?.

KING: Of course not.  I don´t accept your help, because I can do it on my own.

NARRATOR: The old man vanished again, and the King wandered in the forest until he was so exhausted that he dropped down on the ground under a tree, feeling that his end had come.  Then the old man appeared, who was indeed an evil spirit,  came up to him for the third time.

OLD MAN: Don’t be a fool! . Is your dog so dear to you that you are unwilling to part with him even to save your own life?.  Promise to reward me as I ask, and you will get home safe and sound.

KING: My life is more precious to me than a thousand dogs!.  I have a whole kingdom on my shoulders. So be it, I’ll do as you say!. Take me home.

NARRATOR: As soon as he said the last word, he found himself on the edge of the forest with the palace in full view. He marched off home, and  the fist thing he saw was his little son. The boy was sitting in his nurse’s lap, smilingly stretching out his hands to his father.

KING: Nurse!. Take away the child.

NARRATOR: Just then his dog came running up, joyfully wagging his tail, but all he got in return for his faithfulness was a kick.  As day passed he said.

KING: Servant!.

SERVANT: Yes, your Majesty.

KING: Take my son to the village and exchanged  him for the baby daughter of that poor peasant, the widower who lives on the hill.

SERVANT: As you order, your Majesty.

NARRATOR: The prince was taken to the peasant’s humble hut and the peasant’s little girl to the palace where she slept in the prince’s cradle, under silken covers.  A year passed, and the Old Man came for his reward.

OLD MAN: I have come to take what belongs to me.

KING: I gave you my word, you can take my daughter.

NARRATOR: He suspected nothing, and, thinking the little girl to be the king’s daughter, carried her off with him. Time passed and the prince grew up and returned to his parents’ house to live there in honour and luxury.   One day the King decided to tell him the truth.

PRINCE: Father, I feel unhappy now that you have told me the truth. In order to save me, that little girl is suffering.  I have to do something to save her.

KING: But, what can you do?.

PRINCE: I´ll think of something.

NARRATOR: So one day he dressed himself in the clothes of a peasant youth, put a sack of peas that weighted all of two poods on his back and set off for the forest in which his father had lost his way eighteen years before. Once there, he began to wail and to cry very loudly.

PRINCE: Woe is me!.  Unhappy youth that I am!.  What wild place is this that I have come to and who is to lead me out of it?. Why, there is not a living soul here!.

NARRATOR: All of a sudden there stood before him a stranger, an old man with a long grey beard and a leather bag at his side.

OLD MAN: I know these parts well and will lead you out of the forest if you promise to pay me well for it.

PRINCE: What can I, a poor peasant, give you!.  I haven’t a copper to my name. Even this caftan I have on is not mine but my master’s for I’ve had to hire myself out as a labourer for just the food and the clothes.

OLD MAN: You’re not so poor as all that, it seems to me!. That sack you have on your back doesn’t look very light.

PRINCE: There’s nothing in it but peas!.  My old aunt who was the only close relation I had, passed away just the other night and she left not a copper. There wasn’t so much as a handful of peas in the house. And it’s the village custom, you see, to give the people who sit out the night by the beside of someone who has gone soaked peas to chew to keep them from going the sleep. So I got my master to give me half a sack of peas, promising to do an extra round of work for him return, and set out for the funeral. To get there faster I decided to cut across the forest, but lost my way.

OLD MAN: Oh, so you are all alone in the world!.  Would you like to work for me?. I’m in need of a good workman and I’ve taken a liking to you.

PRINCE: I don’t mind, if we can come to terms.  I’ve been a labourer ever since I can remember, another’s bread is always bitter, and it’s all the same to me what master to serve. How much will you pay me a year?.

OLD MAN: You will get fresh food every day, and meat twice a week. If you are sent out to work in the field far away from home I’ll let you have some oil and some fish in addition to the bread. You’ll have all the clothes you need and, on top of everything else, a plot of land big enough to plant four sacks of grain on.

PRINCE: Agreed!.  I’m coming with you.

OLD MAN: Good!.

NARRATOR: Then they went on their way, and the old man never noticed that every ten steps or so his companion would slip a pea out of his sack and drop it to the ground. Next morning they came to a large rock. The old man stopped, looked round carefully, whistled and struck the ground three times with the heel of his left foot. The rock moved aside, and a secret door to an underground passage was revealed.

OLD MAN: Follow me!.

NARRATOR: Everything was dark.  The prince looked up in alarm but there was no sun and no sky above him. The land and the water, the trees and the grasses, the animals and the birds were all quite different from those on earth. But what struck the prince most was the dead silence that reigned throughout. Even the sound of his own footsteps drowned in it. Here and there, birds sat in the trees and they craned their necks and thrust out their breasts as if in song, but not a single note could be heard. The dogs opened their jaws as if to bark, the bulls lifted their horned heads as if to low, but no sound came.

PRINCE: (thinking)  What´s happening here?.  I am trying to speak, but the sounds can´t come out from my throat.  I am scared!.

NARRATOR: Suddenly they heard a noise as of a large herd of horses making their way across a quagmire, the water squelching under their hoofs, and the old man said, licking his lips.

OLD MAN: I can hear the porridge cooking in my kitchen. This means they are expecting us.

NARRATOR: They went on, and the prince seemed to hear a sawmill with no less than a dozen saws at work nearby. But his new master said.

OLD MAN: That is the Old Dame, my grandmother, snoring in her sleep.

NARRATOR: They went on again and ascended a mountain, and the prince saw his master’s farm.  Soon they came to the gate beside which stood an empty dog-kennel.

OLD MAN: Into the kennel with you!. And mind you stay there while I talk about you to the Old Dame. She is hard to please, like many old people, and cannot bear to have strangers in the house.

PRINCE: I´ll wait for you.

NARRATOR: After a time the old man returned and ordered the prince to get out of the kennel.

OLD MAN: You’ve got to remember one thing, and that is that you must live here according to the laws and rules that abide in my house. You’ll fare badly if you don’t.  I must warn you!.  Listen carefully!.

You have ears and you have eyes;

Use them, lad, if you are wise.

Learn to listen and obey,

Do as I, your master, say.

To my questions make reply;

For the rest keep quiet.

NARRATOR: The prince came into the house  he saw a pretty dark-eyed young girl.

PRINCE: (thinking) If the old man has such beauties as that around him I wouldn’t mind marrying into his family.  I like that girl very much.

NARRATOR: The girl was busy setting the table, and when she had done this, silently served supper. Then she went to the hearth, sat down near it on a little stool and began knitting a stocking. The old man sat down at the table to eat alone, but he did not invite the girl or his new workman to join him. When he finished he said to the girl.

OLD MAN: And now scrape out the pots and pans, and then you can eat your fill, the two of you. Only don’t forget to leave the bones for the dog!.

NARRATOR: The prince frowned at this, not liking the thought of eating someone’s leavings, but his face brightened when he saw that there was enough there to make a good meal.  He wanted to talk to the girl, but he couldn´t.  When the girl and the prince finished eating, the old man said to the prince.

OLD MAN: You have two days in which to rest from your journey and take a look round the farm. But the day after tomorrow come to me and I’ll set you a task for the next day. I always distribute the work in the evening so that by the time I get up in the morning everyone might be at his job. And now to bed!. The girl will show you where your place is.

NARRATOR: The prince was about to ask him something, but the old man turned dark with rage.

OLD MAN: Hold your tongue, you dog!.  Just try and break a rule of mine, and I’ll make you shorter by a head. Off to bed with you!.

PRINCE: (thinking)  Surely this sweet young girl is not his daughter.  One can see that she has a warm heart. I wonder if she is the girl my father gave to the Old Bachelor instead of me and because of whom I am here?.

NARRATOR: The prince could not fall asleep for a long time, and when he did, he dreamt that he was in danger and that the girl appeared and came to his rescue.  Next morning he thought that since he could not speak to the girl, he would read her wishes in her eyes.  After dinner the prince went to the stable and saw a white horse and in the stockyard, a black cow with a white-headed calf.  On the following day the prince went to the old man for his orders.

OLD MAN: It’s easy work you’ll be doing tomorrow.  You will take a scythe and cut as much grass for the white horse as it will need for the day and then you’ll clean out the stable. But remember: if I look in and see that the feeding-rack is empty and there is dung on the floor, you will pay with your life for it!.

PRINCE: (thinking) That’s an easy task and one I can easily cope with.  Of course, I’ve seen the peasants cutting grass time and again. Very deftly they did it, too.

NARRATOR: He was about to go to bed when the girl tiptoed into his room.

GIRL: (whispering)  What task have you been set for tomorrow?.

PRINCE: An easy one.  I am to cut some grass for the white horse and clean out the stable, that’s all.

GIRL: Oh, you poor, unhappy youth!.  It’s a task beyond your strength. The white horse is none other than the Old Dame herself. So voracious is she that twenty mowers could not cut enough grass to satisfy her. And as for cleaning out the stable, why, it would take no fewer than ten men to do it! You cannot even hope to cope with it all by yourself. So listen to me and do what I tell you. Tomorrow, when you’ve brought the horse an armful or two of hay, take a thick willow switch and bend it into a hoop, and make sure the horse sees you do it. Then take a large block of wood and cut a plug out of it. When the horse asks you, as she is bound to, what you need the hoop and the plug for, this is what you must say: The hoop is to stop you from eating too much hay. If I see that you are being over greedy, I’ll slip it on your Muzzle and draw it tight around it, and I’ll use the plug if I see you piling up too much dung on the floor!.

NARRATOR: Then  the girl slipped out as quietly as she had come in, giving the prince no time even to thank her.  Next morning he took a scythe and began to cut the grass, and in a few moments he had cut enough to make up several large armfuls. Throwing one armful in the horse’s feeding-rack, he ran off for a second one. Then taking a willow switch, he began bending it into a hoop, and the white horse turned her head and asked.

HORSE: What are you going to do with that hoop, my lad?.

PRINCE: Nothing much, but if I see you eating too much hay, I’m going to slip it on your muzzle and draw it tight around it.

NARRATOR: The white horse heaved a deep sigh and at once stopped chewing.Then the prince cleaned out the stable and began cutting a wedge out of a block of wood.

HORSE: What are you going to do with that wedge?.

PRINCE: Nothing much, I’ll use it for a plug if I see that food passes through you too fast.

NARRATOR: The horse glanced at him again and sighed. That she had understood him became clear when half the day had passed and the hay in the rack remained untouched and the floor clean. Then the old man came into the stable, and, seeing that everything was in perfect order, asked in surprise.

OLD MAN: Is it you yourself who is so wise or is it that you have wise counselors?.

PRINCE: I have none to give me counsel but the foolish head on my shoulders.

NARRATOR: The old man curled his lip angrily, and, muttering something to himself, left the stable. That evening the old man said to him.

OLD MAN: I have nothing suitable for you to do tomorrow, and as the girl is going to be very busy around the house, you’ll have to milk the black cow. But mind that you milk her dry. If I squeeze even a drop out of her afterwards, you will pay with your life for it.

PRINCE: (thinking) That sounds like and easy job.  My fingers are strong and I ought to be able to cope with it, unless, of course, the old man hasn’t some trick up his sleeve again.

NARRATOR: He was about to go to bed when the girl came in.

GIRL: What task has the old man set you for tomorrow?.

PRINCE: I’ll be free most of the day.  All I am to do is milk the black cow.

GIRL: You poor, unhappy youth!.  Why, even if you keep at it from morning till night, you’ll never get done, for the milk flows out of her in an endless stream. The old man wants to do away with you. But don’t worry, nothing will happen to you while I’m here to help you. Just listen to me carefully and do exactly as I say. When you go to the cow-house tomorrow morning take with you a pot of live coals and a pair of tongs, the kind blacksmiths use. As soon as you come in, blow at the coals to fan the flame and then put the tongs in the pot. When the black cow asks you, as she is bound to, what you are doing, tell her what I am now going to whisper in your ear.

NARRATOR: The girl whispered a few words in his ear and left the room, and the prince went to bed.  Next morning  the prince took a pot of live coals in one hand and a pair of tongs in the other and went to the cow-house where the proceeded to do just what the girl had told him to. The black cow kept glancing at him askance for a time and then she asked.

COW: What are you doing, my lad?.

PRINCE: Nothing much.  Just heating up the tongs a bit. They say that there are cows so wicked that they won’t let themselves be milked properly. Now, I know of an excellent remedy for that. You milk the cow and then you squeeze her teats with a pair of red-hot tongs. That keeps her from letting any milk run out afterwards and wasting it.

NARRATOR:Then the prince moved up a milk pail and milked her dry. In a little while the tried milking her again, but not a drop could he squeeze out.  After a time the old man came in, and found out that not a drop of milk could he get out of the cow either.

OLD MAN: Is it you yourself who is so wise or it is that you have wise counselors?.

PRINCE: I have none to give me counsel but the foolish head on my shoulders.

OLD MAN: I have a small stack of hay still standing in the open that has to be carted away before the rains start in. Bring it home tomorrow but mind that not a single blade is left in the field or you’ll pay with your life for it.

PRINCE: (thinking)  That sounds simple enough!.   All I have to do is load the wagon, and the horse will carry the hay home. I’m not going to spare the Old Dame whatever I do!.

NARRATOR: By and by the girl looked in on the prince again.  Then the prince said.

PRINCE: I think I’m going to learn to do everything the peasants do here. Tomorrow I am to bring home a stack of hay and see to it that not a single blade is left in the field.

GIRL: You poor, unlucky youth! .  You’ll never be able to do it, never! Even if you had the whole village to help you and a week to do it in, you wouldn’t be able to cart away that hay. Take a heap from the top of the stack, and the same amount and more will grow up on the bottom. Listen to me and do what I say. Get up before dawn tomorrow, lead the white horse out of the stable and take along some thick rope. Tie the rope round the stack, harness the horse to it and yourself climb up on top of the stack and begin counting out loud: one, two, three, four, five, and so on. When the horse asks you what you are counting, this is what you’ll say to her….

NARRATOR: And the girl whispered something in the prince’s ear and slipped out of the room.  Next morning the prince took a thick coil of rope, led the horse out of the stable, and, springing on her back, galloped off into the field. There he saw, contrary to what the old man had said, not a small but a huge stack of hay, as big as fifty ordinary stacks put together. He did just what the girl had told him to, and when he had climbed up on top of the stack, began counting out loud.

HORSE: What are you counting, my lad?.

PRINCE: Oh, nothing much.  Only the wolves that have just come running out of the wood. But there are so many in the pack that I’ve quite lost count of them.

HORSE: What!  Wolves did you say?.  I have to get the hay.

NARRATOR: So the white horse gave a jerk and a leap and started off at a gallop! Fast as the wind she went and was home in no time at all, bringing all of the hay with her. What was the old man’s amazement when he saw the stack of hay in the yard with his workman standing beside it before midday.

OLD MAN: Is it you who is so wise or is it that you have wise counselors?.

PRINCE:I have none to give me counsel but the foolish head on my shoulders.

NARRATOR: Shaking his head in anger and muttering curses, the old man left.  In the evening the prince came to the old man for his orders.

OLD MAN: Tomorrow you will drive the white-headed calf to pasture. But mind that he doesn’t run away from you or you’ll pay with your life for it.

PRINCE: (thinking) Many is the time that I’ve seen a village boy of ten or thereabouts pasturing a whole herd.  Surely I can cope with one calf!.

NARRATOR: He was about to go to bed when the girl came in to find out what task had been set him for the following day.

PRINCE: A trifling one!  I am to take the white-headed calf to posture.

GIRL: You poor, unlucky youth!. You’ll never be able to do it, never!. Why, that calf rushes about like mad and can run round the little toe of your left foot. Then you can be sure that the calf will always stay beside you, whether you are awake or asleep.

NARRATOR: On the following morning the prince did just what the girl had told him to.

PRINCE: Very well, I will do as the girl told me.  I´ll take the calf out to pasture and will tie it to myself with the silken thread.

NARRATOR: And the calf stayed by his side like a faithful dog and never moved away a step. After sunset, as he was taking the calf home, the prince met the old man.

OLD MAN: Is it you who is so wise or is it that you have wise counselors?.

PRINCE: I have none to give me counsel but the foolish head on my shoulders.

NARRATOR: Muttering angrily to himself, the old man went away.  In the evening he gave the prince a small bag of barely.

OLD MAN: Tomorrow you are free. You can sleep the whole day long if you want. But you’ll have to work hard this coming night!. Sow this barely now, at once. It will come up and ripen fast. When it does, reap it and then thresh and window it. After that wait till the grains put forth shoots, for that will make for a better malt, and then grind them into flour and brew beer out of it. Go about it nimbly, with an eye on the clock, so that when I get up in the morning you can bring me a glass of fresh beer. If you don’t, you’ll pay with your life for it.

NARRATOR: Then he left.  The prince closed the door and burst into tears.

PRINCE: This night will be the last in my life.  No mortal can do what I’ve been ordered to do. No one can help me, not even the girl with all her wise counsels. Was there ever anyone so unlucky as I! What made me behave so rashly?. Why did I leave the king’s palace and hurl myself straight in the arms of death?. I cannot even send up a lament to the stars, since there is no sky overhead!

NARRATOR: Then the girl came up to him and asked why he was so sad.

PRINCE: You and I are to be parted for ever, for my final hour has struck. Before I die there is something I want to confess to you. I am the only son of a king and might have become king myself one day. But now this is not to be. Goodbye, life! Goodbye, hope and happiness!

NARRATOR: And the the prince told the girl what the old man had ordered him to do.

GIRL: Calm yourself, my dear prince!. Sleep peacefully tonight and spend your time as gaily as you wish tomorrow. But now listen to me and do as I say, even though I am no princess but a girl of humble birth. Take this little key. It is the key to the door of the third poultry-house where evil spirits over which the old man is master are kept. Throw your bag of barley over the threshold and repeat the old man’s orders word for word, adding at the end: ‘If you fail to do what I have ordered in the smallest particular, you will all vanish. But, since the task is no easy one, know that there are those who will help you. Tonight, the doors to the seventh barn where your master’s most powerful spirits are kept will stand ajar.

NARRATOR: The prince did what the girl had told him to and went to bed. In the morning he hastened to the brewery where the beer was already fermenting in the vats and the froth rising and dripping to the ground. The prince sampled the beer, strained some into a large jug and brought it to the old man to try just as he was getting up.

OLD MAN: You could not have thought all this up by yourself, someone has been helping you. Well, you just wait, I’ll talk to you in the evening!.

NARRATOR: Evening came, and he said to the prince.

OLD MAN: You needn’t work tomorrow. But when I wake up in the morning, you must come up to my bed and shake my hand.

NARRATOR: The prince laughed as he told the girl about it. But the girl looked troubled.

GIRL: Now you must beware!.  The old man wants to eat you up tomorrow. Only one thing can save you. In the morning you must take an iron spade, heat it till it is red-hot and hold ‘it out for the old man to shake instead of your hand.

NARRATOR: The prince did as the girl said, and the spade was red-hot long before the old man had wakened. After a time they heard him calling angrily from his bed-chamber.

OLD MAN: Hey, there, you, where are you hiding yourself?. Why don’t you come to say good morning?.

PRINCE: I am coming.

NARRATOR: The prince at once came in and held out the red-hot spade. Seeing it, the old man brought out in whining tones.

OLD MAN: I am very ill today and too weak to shake your hand. Come in the evening, I’ll give you my orders then.

NARRATOR: The evening came and the prince went for his orders.

OLD MAN: I am very pleased with you. Come here tomorrow morning together with the girl. I know that you love one another and will help you to marry.

NARRATOR: That night the prince shared his happiness with the girl, but to his surprise, the girl turned speechless with fear.

GIRL: The old man has guessed that it was I who helped you and he wants to destroy us both. We must run away this very night. And now take an axe, go to the cow-house, cut off the calf’s head with one blow and then split it into with a second blow. In it you’ll find a sparkling red ball which you must bring to me. I will do the rest.

PRINCE: (thinking) It is better to kill an innocent calf than to see one’s loved on die and to die oneself. If we escape I will return to my home and family. The peas I scattered about must have sprouted by now and will help us find our way.

NARRATOR: When the prince came into the cow-house the calf and the cow were lying side by side and sleeping so soundly that they never heard him. With the first blow of his axe he cut off the calf’s head and with the second blow he split it in two, and out of the calf’s head rolled a little red ball that shone as brightly as the sun. The prince picked it up, put it in his handkerchief and went to see the girl. The girl was waiting at the gate, a small bundle in her hand.

GIRL: Where is the ball?.

PRINCE: Here it is!.

GIRL: And now we must run!.

NARRATOR: She turned back a corner of the handkerchief in which the magic ball was wrapped and it lighted the way for them like a lantern. As the prince had foreseen, the peas had sprouted and there was no danger that he and the girl might lose their way.

GIRL: I heard when the old man was telling the Old Dame that she was the daughter of a king and that he had taken her away from her parents by cunning when she was still a child.

NARRATOR: The prince said nothing but he was happy to think that he had succeeded in rescuing her. Next morning when the old man woke up he was glad because he would soon eat up his two captives.

OLD MAN: I wonder what is taking them so long?.  Oh well, maybe they are  busy dressing up for their wedding.

NARRATOR: After a while he called them.

OLD MAN: Hey, there, my lass!. Hey, there, my lad! Where have you got to?.

NARRATOR: There was no reply, so he got out of bed and went in search of them.

OLD MAN: Where are they?.  They are not in the house and their beds had not been slept in.

NARRATOR: Then he ran to the cow-house and only then, seeing the calf lying there with his head split in two and no magic ball in sight, understood what had happened.  He rushed to the door of the third barn in which the evil spirits were kept and broke it down with one blow.

OLD MAN: After them!. After them!. Bring them back here at once!.

NARRATOR: And the evil spirits swept away, flying as fast as the wind.The two runaways had just come out on to a broad plain when the girl stopped all of a sudden.

GIRL: Something is wrong, for the ball has rolled round in my hand. They must be after us.

NARRATOR: Glancing behind her, she saw what looked like a black cloud that was fast gaining on them. So she rolled the ball three times over her palm and said:

“Hear me, hear me, magic ball,

For to you for help I call.

Do not let my poor heart break,

Turn me fast into a lake,

And this youth, for so I wish,

Turn, o ball, into a fish.”

NARRATOR: And no sooner were the words out of her mouth than she became a lake and the prince, a fish. The evil spirits swept over them like a whirlwind and turned back and flew home. As soon as they had vanished from sight, the lake changed into the girl again and the fish into the prince, and they ran on without stopping. The evil spirits came back to the old man, empty-handed.

OLD MAN: Did you see anything out of the ordinary on your way?.

THIRD BARN EVIL SPIRITS: No. We saw nothing but a lake with one fish in it.

OLD MAN: You blockheads!. They were the ones!. You should have known they were.

NARRATOR: And he broke down the door of the fifth barn and let out the evil spirits that were kept in it.

OLD MAN: Drink up the lake, and then seize the fish and bring it to me.

NARRATOR: And the evil spirits swept away, flying as fast as the wind.  Meanwhile the girl stopped and said in troubled tones.

GIRL: Something must be wrong, for the magic ball has rolled round in my hand.

NARRATOR: Glancing behind her, she saw a cloud in the sky but one that was darker than before and had blood-red edges.

GIRL: They’re after us!.

NARRATOR: And, rolling the magic ball three times over her palm, said:

“Hear me, hear me, magic ball,

For to you for help I call.

Make you haste and don’t delay,

Let me be a rose-bush, pray,

And to shield us from our foes,

Turn this youth into a rose.”


NARRATOR: And to and behold! -where the girl and the prince had stood a rose-bush sprang up with one rose on it. The evil spirits swept noisily past but did not found the lake or the fish. As soon as they had vanished, the rose-bush and the rose turned back into the girl and the prince.

OLD MAN: What?. You didn’t find them?.

OLDEST SPIRIT: No, we saw neither lake nor fish.

OLD MAN: And you noticed nothing out of the ordinary on the way?.

OLDEST SPIRIT: No. We only saw a rose-bush with one rose on it on the edge of the forest.

OLD MAN: Fools!. Blockheads!. They were the ones!. You should have known they were.

NARRATOR: And he ran to the seventh barn and sent the most powerful of his evil spirits after the runaways.

OLD MAN: Drag them here, no matter what shape they take! Tear out the rose-bush by the roots!. .Seize anything you see on the way!.

NARRATOR: And the evil spirits swept off, flying as fast as a whirlwind. The prince and the girl had only just sat down to rest when the girl said.

GIRL: Something is wrong again!. The magic ball has nearly jumped out of my hand. They must be after us and getting close. It’s just that we can’t see them behind the trees.

NARRATOR: Then she rolled the ball three times over her palm and said:

“Hear me, hear me, magic ball,

For to you for help I call.

Make you haste and don’t delay,

Let me be a wind, I pray,

And Turn this youth into a fly!”

NARRATOR: And that same instant the girl turned into a light wind and the prince into a tiny fly. The evil spirits swept over them like a thundercloud, but, not finding the rose-bush or the rose, flew home.  Then the wind  turned back into the girl again and the fly into the prince.

GIRL: Now we must run as fast as we can!  The old man might go after us himself and he will know us no matter what shape we take.

NARRATOR: And off they went, running on and till they reached a dark underground passage. They crawled inside, and, the magic ball lighting the way for them, ran up the passage which climbed higher and higher. Sore of foot and breathless, they got to a large rock, and the girl rolled the magic ball over her palm again three times and said:

“Hear me, hear me, magic ball,

For to you for help I call.

Push the rock aside that we

Can at last feel safe and free!”

NARRATOR: The same instant the rock moved aside, and the prince and the girl found themselves safely on earth again.

GIRL: We’re saved!. No one has us in his power here and none will get the better of us by cunning. But now, my dear friend, we must part. You will go to your parents and I will go in search of mine.

PRINCE: No!  I don’t want to part with you. Let us get married so that we can share joy and happiness as we have shared grief and sorrow.

GIRL: No, that can´t be.

PRINCE: I beg you, please do not refuse and come with me.

GIRL: Very well. I will.

NARRATOR: In the forest they met a woodcutter who told them that the palace and, indeed, the whole land was in mourning and had been for several years, over since the king’s son had vanished without trace.

GIRL: Magic ball, please help me again, and give the prince handsome clothes.  Now, go to your father, prince, I will wait for you in a peasant’s hut.

NARRATOR: But grief at the loss of his only child had so undermined the old king’s strength that he passed away without knowing of the prince’s return.  The prince was so sad that he did not eat or drink for three days.   But  and on the fourth day appeared before the people and was proclaimed king.  He then got together with the councelors.

PRINCE: I have to tell you of the  wonderful adventures I had in the underground kingdom and of the girl who by her wisdom  saved my life.

COUNCELORS: This girl must become your wife and our queen!.

PRINCE: Yes, I love her, and she will be your queen.

NARRATOR: When the young king came for his bride he was amazed to see her dressed as richly as any princess. So splendid were her clothes which she had got with the help of the magic ball that everyone took her to be the daughter of a king from some distant land. They were married soon after, and the wedding was celebrated in great style, the festivities lasting for four whole weeks.


Author:  Estonian Fairy Tale

Adapted by: K I D S I N C O

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