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The Traveling Companion

That evening the entire town was illuminated. The soldiers fired their cannon, and the boys set off firecrackers. At the palace there was eating and drinking, dancing and the clinking of glasses. All the lordly gentlemen and all the lovely ladies danced together. For a long way off you could hear them sing:

"Here are many pretty girls, and don't they love to dance!

See them hop and swing around whenever they've a chance.

Dance! my pretty maid, anew, till the sole flies of your shoe.

But the Princess was still a witch, and she had no love for John at all. His comrade kept this in mind, and gave him three feathers from the swan's wings, and a little bottle with a few drops of liquid in it. He said that John must put a large tub of water beside the Princess's bed, and just as she was about to get in bed he must give her a little push, so that she would tumble into the tub. There he must dip her three times, after he had thrown the feathers and the drops of liquid into the water. That would free her from the spell of sorcery, and make her love him dearly.

John did everything his companion had advised him to do, though the Princess shrieked as he dipped her into the water, and struggled as he held her in the shape of a large black swan with flashing eyes. The second time, she came out of the water as a swan entirely white except for a black ring around its neck. John prayed hard, and as he forced the bird under the water once more it changed into the beautiful Princess. She was fairer than ever, and she thanked him with tears in her beautiful eyes for having set her free from the sorcerer's spell.

In the morning the old King came with all his court, and congratulations lasted all through the day. Last of all came John's traveling companion; he had his stick in his hand and the knapsack on his back. John embraced him time and again, and said that he must not leave-them. He must stay here with John, who owed all his happiness to him. But the traveling companion shook his head.

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Michael Scott
Category: Scotland folktales
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