Long ago there lived a very rich man who had three sons. When he felt death was approaching, he divided his property between them, making them share alike, both in money and lands.
The king in the country they lived in, had a daughter. One he let his herolds proclaim through the country that whoever could build a ship that should float both on land and sea should have his daughter to wife. When the eldest brother heard it, he said to the other, "I think I will spend some of my money in trying to build that ship, for I should like to have that rich daughter for my wife." He called together all the shipbuilders in the land and gave them orders to begin the ship without delay.
Trees were cut down and great preparations made. In a few days everybody knew what it was all for and there was a crowd of old people pressing round the gates of the yard where the young man spent the most of his day.
"Will you give us work," they said, "so that we may earn our bread?"
But he only said roughly, "You are old and of little use to me?" With that he drove them away.
Then came some boys and asked him, "Please give us work so that we may help in supporting our families."
But he answered, "Of what use can you be, weak as you are! Begone!" He only wanted skilled workmen and would have none of others.
The last one to knock at the gate was a little old man with a long white beard. He asked, "Will you give me work, so that I may earn my bread?" But he was only driven away like the other old men at the place.
The ship took a long while to build and cost a great deal of money. But when it was launched a sudden squall rose, and it fell to pieces, and with it all the young man's hopes of winning the princess. By this time he had not a penny left, so he went back to his two brothers and told his tale.
The second brother said to himself as he listened, "Certainly he has managed very badly. I should like to see if I can do better and win the rich princess."
He called together all the shipbuilders throughout the country and gave them orders to build a ship which should float on the land as well as on the sea. He was just like his brother in that he wanted only skilled workmen and chased away with hard words the others who asked for a job, also the white-bearded man.
When the ship was finished the launch took place. Everything seemed going smoothly when a gale sprang up and the vessel was dashed to pieces on the rocks. The young man had spent his whole fortune on it. Now it was all swallowed up, and he was forced to beg for shelter from his youngest brother.
When the second brother told his story the youngest said to himself, "I am not rich enough to support us all three in the long run. But if I win the princess we can live on both her fortune and my own." So he called together all the shipbuilders in the kingdom and gave orders that a new ship should be built. When old people came and asked for work he answered, "Yes, there is plenty to do, and also for you." When boys begged to help he found something that they could do. When the old man with the long white beard stood before him, asking for work so he could earn his bread, the youngest son said, "I could not bear to let you work alot, but you can be an overseer and look after the rest."
Now the old man was a holy hermit. When he saw how kind-hearted the youth was he determined to do a lot to let him have his greatest wish.
Before long, when the ship was finished, the hermit said to his young friend, "Now you can go and claim the king's daughter, for the ship will float both by land and sea."
"Oh," cried the young man, "stay with me, please, and lead me to the king!"
"If you wish it, I will," said the hermit, "on condition that you will give me half of anything you get."
"Surely," said the youngest son. When this was settled they set out together on the ship.
After they had gone some distance they saw a man standing in a thick fog that he was trying to put into a sack.
"What are you doing, my fine fellow?" asked the youngest son.
"I am putting the fog into my sack. That is my business."
"Ask him if he will come with us," whispered the hermit.
And the man answered: "If you will give me a lot to eat and drink I will gladly stay with you."
They took him onboard, and the youth said as they started off again, "Before we were two onboard, and now we are three!"
After they had travelled a little further they met a man who had torn up half a forest and was carrying all the trees on his shoulders.
"Ask him why he has torn up all those trees," said the hermit.
And the man replied when the youth asked, "Why, I"ve merely been gathering brushwood."
"Ask him to come with us," whispered the hermit.
And the strong man answered: "Willingly, as long as you give me enough to eat and drink." And he came onboard too.
The youth said to the hermit, "And now we are four."
The ship travelled on again, and some miles further on they saw a man drinking outof a stream till he had nearly drunk it dry.
They youth said to the hermit: "Just look at that man! Did you ever see anybody drink like that?"
"Ask him why he does it," answered the hermit.
"There is nothing very odd in taking a mouthful of water!" answered the man, standing up.
"Ask him to come with us," said the hermit, and the youth invited him onboard.
"With pleasure, as long as you give me enough to eat and drink," said the thirsty one.
The youth whispered to the hermit, "Now we are five."
A little way along they noticed another man in the middle of a stream. He was shooting into the water.
"What are you shooting at?" the youth asked him.
"Hush, hush!" cried the man; "now you frightened it away. In the Underworld sits a quail on a tree, and I wanted to shoot it, for I hit everything I aim at."
"Ask him if he will come with us."
And the man replied, "With all my heart, as long as I get enough to eat and drink."
So they took him into the ship, and the young man whispered, "Now we are six onboard."
Off they went again, and before they had gone far they met a man striding towards them. His steps were remarkably long.
"What are you doing?" asked the youth.
"Ask him why he does it," replied the hermit.
"I'm out on a little walk," answered he.
"Will you come with us?"
"Gladly, if you will give me as much as I want to eat and drink," said he, climbing up into the ship.
The young man whispered, "Now we are seven onboard - some strange people are gathered."
After many days they reached the town where the king and his daughter lived. They stopped the vessel right in front of the palace, and the young man went in and bowed handsomely.
'I give you the ship built that can travel over land and sea. You have said the reward is to have your daughter to wife."
But the king said to himself, "What! am I to wed my daughter to a man I know nothing of? What if he is a beggar?"
He said, "It is not enough that you have built the ship. You must find a runner who shall take this letter to the ruler of the Underworld, and bring me the answer back in an hour."
"That was not in the announcement," answered the young man.
"It is all the same; you will not get my daughter unless that is done too."
The young man went out sorely troubled, to tell his old friend what had happened.
The hermit said, "Accept his terms at once and send off the long-legged man with the letter. He can take it in almost no time at all."
The youth's heard leapt for joy and returned to the king. "Here is my messenger for the errand."
The king had no choice but to give the man the letter, and the man strode off. He soon found the ruler of the Underworl. The ruler looked at the letter and said, "Wait a little while i write the answer." But the messenger was so tired with his quick walk that he sat down while he waited, fell asleep and forgot all about his errand.
All this time the youth was anxiously waiting for him to come back. "What can be keeping him?" he said to the hermit when the hour was nearly up.
The hermit sent for the man who could hit everything he aimed at, and said to him, "Just see why the messenger stays so long."
"Oh, he's sound asleep in the palace of the Underworld. However, I can wake him."
Then he drew his bow, and shot an arrow straight into the sleeping messenger's overarm. He awoke with a start, and when he saw that the hour had almost run out he snatched up the answer and rushed back with such speed that the clock had not yet struck when he entered the palace.
Now the young man thought he was sure of his bride, but the king said, "Still you have not done enough. Before I give you my daughter you must find a man who can drink half the contents of my cellar in one day."
"That is not in the announcement either," said the youth.
"Do as you like, but only then you will get my daughter."
The young man went sadly out and asked the hermit what he was to do.
The hermit sent for the thirsty comrade them, and said, "Can you drink half the royal cellar in one day?"
"Dear me, yes, and much more if you want to," he answered. "I'm never satisfied."
The king was not pleased that someone would try to drink half his wine, but ordered the thirsty one to be taken downstairs. All day long he drank, drank, and drank till instead of half the cellar, he had drunk the whole, and there was not a cask but what stood empty.
When the king saw this he said to the youth, "I can no longer withhold my daughter. But for her dowry I shall only give so much as one man can carry away."
The young man was puzzled, but he went to the hermit and said to him, "The king will only give for her dowry as much as a man can carry. I have no money of my own left, and my brothers have none either."
The hermit said, "You have only got to ask the man who carried half the forest on his shoulders."
The youth lighted up, called the strong man and told him what the king had said. "Take everything you can. Never mind if you leave the palace bare."
The strong man piled all he could see on his back – chairs, tables, wardrobes, chests of gold and silver – till there was nothing left to pile. At last he took the king's crown and put it on the top. He carried his burden to the ship and stowed his treasures away, and the youth followed, leading the king's daughter.
But the king raged over his empty palace, called together his army, got ready his ships of war, so that he could go after the vessel and bring back what the formidable dowry.
The king's ships sailed very fast and soon caught up the little vessel. But the hermit saw them and said, "Call for the man with fog in his sack at once."
The man opened his sack and the fog flew out and hung right round the king's ships so that they could see nothing. They sailed back to the palace and told the king what strange things had happened. Meanwhile the young man's vessel reached home in safety.
"Here you are once moren" said the hermitn "and now you can fulfil the promise you made me to give me the half of all you had."
"Yes!" answered the youth, and began to divide all his treasures, putting part on one side for himself and setting aside the other for his friend. "Done!" said he at length.
"Why, you have forgotten the king's daughter," said the hermit.
At sea the young man had come to love her dearly. But he had sworn and would keep his word, so he drew his sword to cut her in half. Seeing the youth was true to his word too, he lifted his hand and cried, "Stop! She is yours, and all the treasures too. I gave you my help because you had pity on those in need. And when you are in need yourself, call on me, and I will come to you."
As he spoke he softly touched their heads and was gone.
The next day the wedding took place, and the two brothers came to the house for the celebrations, before the youngest brother and his wife bought them houses and farms somewhere else. All the men who had helped to win her also got their rewards. The dowry allowed for it; it was a proper thing to do.
The newly-weds lived happily together, and never forgot the hermit who had been such a good help and life-saver.
More than fifty years ago there lived a king who was very anxious to get married; but he was determined that his wife should be as beautiful as the sun, and no maiden came up to this standard. Then he commanded a trusty servant to search through the length and breadth of the land till he found a girl fair enough to be queen, and if he had the good luck to discover one he was to bring her back with him.
The servant set out at once on his journey, and sought high and low-in castles and cottages; but though pretty maidens were plentiful as blackberries, he felt sure that none of them would please the king.
One day he had wandered far and wide, and was feeling very tired and thirsty. By the roadside stood a tiny little house, and here he knocked and asked for a cup of water. Now in this house dwelt two sisters, and one was eighty and the other ninety years old. They were very poor, and earned their living by spinning. This had kept their hands very soft and white, like the hands of a girl, and when the water was passed through the lattice, and the servant saw the small, delicate fingers, he said to himself: "A maiden must indeed be lovely if she has a hand like that." And he made haste back, and told the king.
"Go back at once," said his majesty, "and try to get a sight of her."
The faithful servant departed on his errand without losing any time, and again he knocked at the door of the little house and begged for some water. As before, the old woman did not open the door, but passed the water through the lattice.
"Do you live here alone?" asked the man.
"No," replied she, "my sister lives with me. We are poor girls, and have to work for our bread."
"How old are you?"
"I am fifteen, and she is twenty."
Then the servant went back to the king, and told him all he knew. And his majesty answered: "I will have the fifteen-year-old one. Go and bring her here."
The servant returned a third time to the little house and knocked at the door. In reply to his knock the lattice window was pushed open, and a voice inquired what it was he wanted.
"The king has desired me to bring back the youngest of you to become his queen," he replied.
"Tell his majesty I am ready to do his bidding, but since my birth no ray of light has fallen on my face. If it should ever do so I shall instantly grow black. Therefore beg, I pray you, his most gracious majesty to send this evening a shut carriage, and I will return in it to the castle.
When the king heard this he ordered his great golden carriage to be prepared, and in it to be placed some magnificent robes; and the old woman wrapped herself in a thick veil, and was driven to the castle.
The king was eagerly awaiting her, and when she arrived he begged her politely to raise her veil and let him see her face.
But she answered: "Here the tapers are too bright and the light too strong. Would you have me turn black under your very eyes?"
And the king believed her words, and the marriage took place without the veil being once lifted. Afterwards, when they were alone, he raised the corner, and knew for the first time that he had wedded a wrinkled old woman. And, in a furious burst of anger, he dashed open the window and flung her out. But, luckily for her, her clothes caught on a nail in the wall, and kept her hanging between heaven and earth.
While she was thus suspended, expecting every moment to be dashed to the ground, four fairies happened to pass by.
"Look, sisters," cried one, "surely that is the old woman that the king sent for. Shall we wish that her clothes may give way, and that she should be dashed to the ground?"
"Oh no! no!" exclaimed another. "Let us wish her something good. I myself will wish her youth."
"And I beauty."
"And I wisdom."
"And I a tender heart."
So spake the fairies, and went their way, leaving the most beautiful maiden in the world behind them.
The next morning when the king looked from his window he saw this lovely creature hanging on the nail. "Ah! what have I done? Surely I must have been blind last night!"
And he ordered long ladders to be brought and the maiden to be rescued. Then he fell on his knees before her, and prayed her to forgive him, and a great feast was made in her honour.
Some days after came the ninety-year-old sister to the palace and asked for the queen.
"Who is that hideous old witch?" said the king.
"Oh, an old neighbour of mine, who is half silly," she replied.
But the old woman looked at her steadily, and knew her again, and said: "How have you managed to grow so young and beautiful? I should like to be young and beautiful too."
This question she repeated the whole day long, till at length the queen lost patience and said: "I had my old head cut off, and this new head grew in its place."
Then the old woman went to a barber, and spoke to him, saying, "I will give you all you ask if you will only cut off my head, so that I may become young and lovely."
"But, my good woman, if I do that you will die!"
But the old woman would listen to nothing; and at last the barber took out his knife and struck the first blow at her neck.
"Ah!" she shrieked as she felt the pain.
"Il faut souffrir pour etre belle, (It is necessary to suffer to be beautiful)," said the barber, who had been to France.
And at the second blow her head rolled off, and the old woman was dead for good and all.
Long ago there lived two brothers, both of them very handsome, and both so very poor that they seldom had anything to eat but the fish which they caught. One day they had been out in their boat since sunrise without a single bite, and were just thinking of putting up their lines and going home to bed when they felt a little feeble tug, and, drawing in hastily, they found a tiny fish at the end of the hook.
"What a wretched little creature!" cried one brother. "However, it is better than nothing, and I will bake him with bread crumbs and have him for supper."
"Oh, do not kill me yet!" begged the fish; "I will bring you good luck–indeed I will!"
"You silly thing!" said the young man; "I"ve caught you, and I shall eat you."
But his brother was sorry for the fish, and put in a word for him.
"Let the poor little fellow live. He would hardly make one bite, and, after all, how do we know we are not throwing away our luck! Put him back into the sea. It will be much better."
"If you will let me live," said the fish, "you will find on the sands tomorrow morning two beautiful horses splendidly saddled and bridled, and on them you can go through the world as knights seeking adventures."
"Oh dear, what nonsense!" exclaimed the elder; "and, besides, what proof have we that you are speaking the truth?"
But again the younger brother interposed: "Oh, do let him live! You know if he is lying to us we can always catch him again. It is quite worth while trying."
At last the young man gave in, and threw the fish back into the sea; and both brothers went supperless to bed, and wondered what fortune the next day would bring.
At the first streaks of dawn they were both up, and in a very few minutes were running down to the shore. And there, just as the fish had said, stood two magnificent horses, saddled and bridled, and on their backs lay suits of armour and under-dresses, two swords, and two purses of gold.
"There!" said the younger brother. "Are you not thankful you did not eat that fish? He has brought us good luck, and there is no knowing how great we may become! Now, we will each seek our own adventures. If you will take one road I will go the other."
"Very well," replied the elder; "but how shall we let each other know if we are both living?"
"Do you see this fig-tree?" said the younger. "Well, whenever we want news of each other we have only to come here and make a slit with our swords in the back. If milk flows, it is a sign that we are well and prosperous; but if, instead of milk, there is blood, then we are either dead or in great danger."
Then the two brothers put on their armour, buckled their swords, and pocketed their purees; and, after taking a tender farewell of each other, they mounted their horses and went their various ways.
The elder brother rode straight on till he reached the borders of a strange kingdom. He crossed the frontier, and soon found himself on the banks of a river; and before him, in the middle of the stream, a beautiful girl sat chained to a rock and weeping bitterly. For in this river dwelt a serpent with seven heads, who threatened to lay waste the whole land by breathing fire and flame from his nostrils unless the king sent him every morning a man for his breakfast. This had gone on so long that now there were no men left, and he had been obliged to send his own daughter instead, and the poor girl was waiting till the monster got hungry and felt inclined to eat her.
When the young man saw the maiden weeping bitterly he said to her, "What is the matter, my poor girl?"
"Oh!" she answered, "I am chained here till a horrible serpent with seven heads comes to eat me. Oh, sir, do not linger here, or he will eat you too."
"I shall stay," replied the young man, "for I mean to set you free."
"That is impossible. You do not know what a fearful monster the serpent is; you can do nothing against him."
"That is my affair, beautiful captive," answered he; "only tell me, which way will the serpent come?"
"Well, if you are resolved to free me, listen to my advice. Stand a little on one side, and then, when the serpent rises to the surface, I will say to him, "O serpent, today you can eat two people. But you had better begin first with the young man, for I am chained and cannot run away." When he hears this most likely he will attack you."
So the young man stood carefully on one side, and by-and-bye he heard a great rushing in the water; and a horrible monster came up to the surface and looked out for the rock where the king's daughter was chained, for it was getting late and he was hungry.
But she cried out, "O serpent, today you can eat two people. And you had better begin with the young man, for I am chained and cannot run away."
Then the serpent made a rush at the youth with wide open jaws to swallow him at one gulp, but the young man leaped aside and drew his sword, and fought till he had cut off all the seven heads. And when the great serpent lay dead at his feet he loosed the bonds of the king's daughter, and she flung herself into his arms and said, "You have saved me from that monster, and now you shall be my husband, for my father has made a proclamation that whoever could slay the serpent should have his daughter to wife."
But he answered, "I cannot become your husband yet, for I have still far to travel. But wait for me seven years and seven months. Then, if I do not return, you are free to marry whom you will. And in case you should have forgotten, I will take these seven tongues with me so that when I bring them forth you may know that I am really he who slew the serpent."
So saying he cut out the seven tongues, and the princess gave him a thick cloth to wrap them in; and he mounted his horse and rode away.
Not long after he had gone there arrived at the river a slave who had been sent by the king to learn the fate of his beloved daughter. And when the slave saw the princess standing free and safe before him, with the body of the monster lying at her feet, a wicked plan came into his head, and he said, "Unless you promise to tell your father it was I who slew the serpent, I will kill you and bury you in this place, and no one will ever know what befell."
What could the poor girl do? This time there was no knight to come to her aid. So she promised to do as the slave wished, and he took up the seven heads and brought the princess to her father.
Oh, how enchanted the king was to see her again, and the whole town shared his joy!
And the slave was called on to tell how he had slain the monster, and when he had ended the king declared that he should have the princess to wife.
But she flung herself at her father's feet, and prayed him to delay. "You have passed your royal word, and cannot go back from it Yet grant me this grace, and let seven years and seven months go by before you wed me. When they are over, then I will marry the slave." And the king listened to her, and seven years and seven months she looked for her bridegroom, and wept for him night and day.
All this time the young man was riding through the world, and when the seven years and seven months were over he came back to the town where the princess lived–only a few days before the wedding. And he stood before the king, and said to him: "Give me your daughter, O king, for I slew the seven-headed serpent. And as a sign that my words are true, look on these seven tongues, which I cut from his seven heads, and on this embroidered cloth, which was given me by your daughter."
Then the princess lifted up her voice and said, "Yes, dear father, he has spoken the truth, and it is he who is my real bridegroom. Yet pardon the slave, for he was sorely tempted."
But the king answered, "Such treachery can no man pardon. Quick, away with him, and off with his head!"
So the false slave was put to death, that none might follow in his footsteps, and the wedding feast was held, and the hearts of all rejoiced that the true bridegroom had come at last.
These two lived happy and contentedly for a long while, when one evening, as the young man was looking from the window, he saw on a mountain that lay out beyond the town a great bright light.
"What can it be?" he said to his wife.
"Ah! do not look at it," she answered, "for it comes from the house of a wicked witch whom no man can manage to kill." But the princess had better have kept silence, for her words made her husband's heart burn within him, and he longed to try his strength against the witch's cunning. And all day long the feeling grew stronger, till the next morning he mounted his horse, and in spite of his wife's tears, he rode off to the mountain.
The distance was greater than he thought, and it was dark before he reached the foot of the mountain; indeed, he could not have found the road at all had it not been for the bright light, which shone like the moon on his path. At length he came to the door of a fine castle, which had a blaze streaming from every window. He mounted a flight of steps and entered a hall where a hideous old woman was sitting on a golden chair.
She scowled at the young man and said, "With a single one of the hairs of my head I can turn you into stone."
"Oh, what nonsense!" cried he. "Be quiet, old woman. What could you do with one hair?" But the witch pulled out a hair and laid it on his shoulder, and his limbs grew cold and heavy, and he could not stir.
Now at this very moment the younger brother was thinking of him, and wondering how he had got on during all the years since they had parted. "I will go to the fig-tree," he said to himself, "to see whether he is alive or dead." So he rode through the forest till he came where the fig-tree stood, and cut a slit in the bark, and waited. In a moment a little gurgling noise was heard, and out came a stream of blood, running fast. "Ah, woe is me!" he cried bitterly. "My brother is dead or dying! Shall I ever reach him in time to save his life?" Then, leaping on his horse, he shouted, "Now, my steed, fly like the wind!" and they rode right through the world, till one day they came to the town where the young man and his wife lived. Here the princess had been sitting every day since the morning that her husband had left her, weeping bitter tears, and listening for his footsteps. And when she saw his brother ride under the balcony she mistook him for her own husband, for they were so alike that no man might tell the difference, and her heart bounded, and, leaning down, she called to him, "At last! at last! how long have I waited for thee!" When the younger brother heard these words he said to himself, "so it was here that my brother lived, and this beautiful woman is my sister-in-law," but he kept silence, and let her believe he was indeed her husband. Full of joy, the princess led him to the old king, who welcomed him as his own son, and ordered a feast to be made for him. And the princess was beside herself with gladness, but when she would have put her arms round him and kissed him he held up his hand to stop her, saying, "Touch me not," at which she marvelled greatly.
In this manner several days went by. And one evening, as the young man leaned from the balcony, he saw a bright light shining on the mountain.
"What can that be?" he said to the princess.
"Oh, come away," she cried; "has not that light already proved your bane? Do you wish to fight a second time with that old witch?"
He marked her words, though she knew it not, and they taught him where his brother was, and what had befallen him. So before sunrise he stole out early, saddled his horse, and rode off to the mountain. But the way was further than he thought, and on the road he met a little old man who asked him whither he was going.
Then the young man told him his story, and added. "somehow or other I must free my brother, who has fallen into the power of an old witch."
"I will tell you what you must do," said the old man. "The witch's power lies in her hair; so when you see her spring on her and seize her by the hair, and then she cannot harm you. Be very careful never to let her hair go, bid her lead you to your brother, and force her to bring him back to life. For she has an ointment that will heal all wounds, and even wake the dead. And when your brother stands safe and well before you, then cut off her head, for she is a wicked woman."
The young man was grateful for these words, and promised to obey them. Then he rode on, and soon reached the castle. He walked boldly up the steps and entered the hall, where the hideous old witch came to meet him. She grinned horribly at him, and cried out, "With one hair of my head I can change you into stone."
"Can you, indeed?" said the young man, seizing her by the hair. "You old wretch! tell me what you have done with my brother, or I will cut your head off this very instant." Now the witch's strength was all gone from her, and she had to obey.
"I will take you to your brother," she said, hoping to get the better of him by cunning, "but leave me alone. You hold me so tight that I cannot walk."
"You must manage somehow," he answered, and held her tighter than ever. She led him into a large hall filled with stone statues, which once had been men, and, pointing out one, she said, "There is your brother."
The young man looked at them all and shook his head. "My brother is not here. Take me to him, or it will be the worse for you." But she tried to put him off with other statues, though it was no good, and it was not until they had reached the last hall of all that he saw his brother lying on the ground.
"That is my brother," said he. "Now give me the ointment that will restore him to life."
Very unwillingly the old witch opened a cupboard close by filled with bottles and jars, and took down one and held it out to the young man. But he was on the watch for trickery, and examined it carefully, and saw that it had no power to heal. This happened many times, till at length she found it was no use, and gave him the one he wanted. And when he had it safe he made her stoop down and smear it over his brother's face, taking care all the while never to loose her hair, and when the dead man opened his eyes the youth drew his sword and cut off her head with a single blow. Then the elder brother got up and stretched himself, and said, "Oh, how long I have slept! And where am I?"
"The old witch had enchanted you, but now she is dead and you are free. We will wake up the other knights that she laid under her spells, and then we will go."
This they did, and, after sharing amongst them the jewels and gold they found in the castle, each man went his way. The two brothers remained together, the elder tightly grasping the ointment which had brought him back to life.
They had much to tell each other as they rode along, and at last the younger man exclaimed, "O fool, to leave such a beautiful wife to go and fight a witch! She took me for her husband, and I did not say her nay."
When the elder brother heard this a great rage filled his heart, and, without saying one word, he drew his sword and slew his brother, and his body rolled in the dust. Then he rode on till he reached his home, where his wife was still sitting, weeping bitterly. When she saw him she sprang up with a cry, and threw herself into his arms. "Oh, how long have I waited for thee! Never, never must you leave me any more!"
When the old king heard the news he welcomed him as a son, and made ready a feast, and all the court sat down. And in the evening, when the young man was alone with his wife, she said to him, "Why would you not let me touch you when you came back, but always thrust me away when I tried to put my arms round you or kiss you?"
Then the young man understood how true his brother had been to him, and he sat down and wept and wrung his hands because of the wicked murder that he had done. Suddenly he sprang to his feet, for he remembered the ointment which lay hidden in his garments, and he rushed to the place where his brother still lay. He fell on his knees beside the body, and, taking out the salve, he rubbed it over the neck where the wound was gaping wide, and the skin healed and the sinews grew strong, and the dead man sat up and looked round him. And the two brothers embraced each other, and the elder asked forgiveness for his wicked blow; and they went back to the palace together, and were never parted any more.