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The Fountain of Giant Land

Long ago there lived a king who was blind. He had employed all the wise physicians in the kingdom, but all to no avail. Not one of them did a single thing to restore his lost eyesight.

One day a little old woman came to the door of the palace begging alms. She said to the servant at the door, “I wish to say a word to the king who is blind. I know a sure cure for his blindness.”

The servant led the little old woman into the king’s presence. He was sitting upon the royal throne with his royal crown upon his head, but his blind eyes were bandaged and his royal face was sad because he could no longer see the bright sunlight shining upon the deep blue sea from the window of the palace, nor the lords and ladies of the court before him in their gorgeous garments of purple and cloth of silver and cloth of gold, nor of the face of the queen.

“O royal majesty,” said the little old woman as she bowed low before him, “there is only one thing in the whole world which will restore your lost eyesight. It is the water of the fountain of Giantland. Bathe your eyes in that water and your lost eyesight will be restored at once.”

“How can I obtain this wonderful water?” asked the king. “Giantland is a long distance from my kingdom and I do not know the way there.” The king, the queen, and all the courtiers held their breaths to listen to the reply of the little old woman.

“Your Majesty will need to build a strong fleet to sail up the great river which leads to Giantland,” she said. “The expedition will need as its leader a prince with a brave heart, for there will be many perils on the way to test his mettle. The fountain of Giantland is at the summit of a long steep rocky mountain, and it can be reached only by a prince who ascends the mountain looking neither to the right nor to the left. All along the way stand huge giants ready to enslave one the moment he stops looking straight ahead. If one should succeed in climbing the mountain the fountain is there at the summit, but it is guarded by a dragon.

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