The Prince & His Three Fates
After that it dropped on the ground and slept heavily.
This was what the princess had been waiting for. Summoning her guards, she ordered the serpent to be captured into a large basket with a tight-fitting lid, having enough food to keep the creature for awhile, and ordered the basket to be sent to a very far distant land.
Soon after their arrival, the old king, sadly, died. They gave him a magnificent burial, and then the prince had to examine the new laws which had been made in his absence, and do a great deal of other business besides, till he grew quite ill from fatigue, and was obliged to go away to one of his palaces on the banks of the river in order to rest. Here he soon got better, and began to hunt, and wherever he went, his dog, now grown very old, went with him.
One morning the prince and his dog were out as usual, and in chasing their game they drew near the bank of the Nile River. The prince was running at full speed after his dog when he almost fell over something that looked like a log of wood, which was lying in his path. To his surprise a voice spoke to him, and he saw that the thing which he had taken for a branch was really a crocodile.
"You cannot escape from me," it was saying, when he had gathered his senses again. "I am your fate, and wherever you go, and whatever you do, you will always find me before you. There is only one means of shaking off my power. If you can dig a pit in dry sand which will remain full of water, my spell will be broken. If not death will come to you speedily. I give you this one chance. Now go."
The young man walked sadly away, and when he reached the palace he shut himself into his room, and for the rest of the day refused to see anyone, even his wife. By sunset, however, the princess grew quite frightened, and pleaded with him so compellingly that he let her come in.
"How pale you look," she cried, "has anything hurt you?