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Main > Egyptian folktales > Fairy tale "The Prince & His Three Fates"

The Prince & His Three Fates

"I was fated at birth to die in the hands of one of three creatures -- a crocodile, a serpent, or a dog. If you choose not to marry me, I understand."

"I love you, no matter what happens," said the princess. "But how rash you are! How can you have that horrid beast about you, knowing what you know? I will give orders to have him killed at once."

But the prince would not listen to her.

"Kill my dear little dog, who has been my playfellow since he was a puppy?" he cried. "Oh, never would I allow that." And all that the princess could get from him was that he would always wear a sword, and have someone with him at all times when he left the palace.

When the prince and princess had been married a few months, the prince heard that his mother had passed away, and that his father was old and ill, and that he longed to have his eldest son by his side again. The young man and his bride set out on a journey back to his native land.

That first night that they had arrived, while he was asleep, the princess noticed something strange in one of the corners of the room. It was a dark patch, and seemed, as she looked, to grow longer and longer, and to be moving slowly towards the cushions on which the prince was lying. She shrank in terror, but, slight as was the noise she had made, the thing heard it, and raised its head to listen. Then she saw it was the long flat head of a serpent, and the recollection of the prophecy rushed into her mind.

Without waking her husband, she glided out of bed, and taking up a heavy bowl of milk which stood on a table, laid it upon the floor in the path of the serpent -- for she knew that no serpent in the world can resist milk. She held her breath as the snake drew near, and watched it rear up its head again as if it was smelling something nice, while its forked tongue darted out greedily. At length its eyes fell upon the milk, and in an instant it was lapping it up so fast that it was a wonder the creature did not choke, for it never took its head from the bowl as long as a drop was left in it.

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