Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 4/The story of the three wonderful companions
THE STORY OF THE THREE WONDERFUL COMPANIONS.
A BOHEMIAN FAIRY LEGEND.
There was once a king, who was very old and had only one son. One day he called his son, and said:
“My dear son, thou knowest that ripe fruit falls in order to make room for other. My head is growing riper day by day, and perhaps ere long the sun will shine on it no more; but before I die I would gladly behold my future daughter, thy wife. Take to thyself a wife, my son.”
And the prince answered:
“Gladly, O, my father! would I fulfil thy wish, but I have as yet no bride. I know not one.”
The king then thrust his hand into his pocket, and drew therefrom a golden key, which he gave to his son, saying:
“Go up into the highest room in the tower, and when thou art there cast thy eyes around thee and tell me which of the brides which thou shalt there see pleases thee most.”
The prince departed immediately. He had never before been in the tower, and knew not what was there to be seen.
When he had reached the highest chamber but one he beheld on the ceiling a small iron door like a lid, and it was locked; but he unlocked it with the golden key, lifted it up, and went in through it.
There was a large round room, the roof of which was as blue as the sky on a clear winter’s night, and silver stars glittered upon it. The floor was covered with a green silken carpet, and the room had twelve high windows in golden frame-work: in each window a virgin was painted on crystal glass in the loveliest rainbow colours, with a royal crown on her head, and in each window was also another upon a different ground, but each was more beautiful than the other, so that the prince was quite dazzled. And as he was gazing on them in full astonishment, not knowing which to choose, the lovely figures began to move like living beings, and looked towards him and smiled upon him as if they wished to speak.
Then the prince saw that one of the windows was concealed by a white curtain, which he drew aside in order to see what was behind it.
There stood a virgin dressed in white, with a silver girdle round her waist and a crown of pearls upon her head. She was the loveliest of all, but sad and pale as if she had risen from the grave. The prince stood long gazing on the figure, and seemed like one in a dream, and whilst he was thus looking at her his heart was sorely grieved, Page:Once a Week Dec 1860 to June 61.pdf/229 Page:Once a Week Dec 1860 to June 61.pdf/230 Page:Once a Week Dec 1860 to June 61.pdf/231 Page:Once a Week Dec 1860 to June 61.pdf/232