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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "King Kojata"

King Kojata

The Magician sat on a throne, a sparkling crown on his head; his eyes blazed like a green fire, and instead of hands he had claws. As soon as Prince Milan entered he flung himself on his knees. The Magician stamped loudly with his feet, glared frightfully out of his green eyes, and cursed so loudly that the whole underworld shook. But the Prince, mindful of the counsel he had been given, wasn't the least afraid, and approached the throne still on his knees. At last the Magician laughed aloud and said, 'You rogue, you have been well advised to make me laugh; I won't be your enemy any more. Welcome to the underworld! All the same, for your delay in coming here, we must demand three services from you. For to-day you may go, but to-morrow I shall have something more to say to you.'

Then two servants led Prince Milan to a beautiful apartment, and he lay down fearlessly on the soft bed that had been prepared for him, and was soon fast asleep.

Early the next morning the Magician sent for him, and said, 'Let's see now what you've learnt. In the first place you must build me a palace to-night, the roof of purest gold, the walls of marble, and the windows of crystal; all round you must lay out a beautiful garden, with fish-ponds and artistic waterfalls. If you do all this, I will reward you richly; but if you don't, you shall lose your head.'

'Oh, you wicked monster!' thought Prince Milan, 'you might as well have put me to death at once.' Sadly he returned to his room, and with bent head sat brooding over his cruel fate till evening. When it grew dark, a little bee flew by, and knocking at the window, it said, 'Open, and let me in.'

Milan opened the window quickly, and as soon as the bee had entered, it changed into the beautiful Hyacinthia.

'Good evening, Prince Milan. Why are you so sad?'

'How can I help being sad? Your father threatens me with death, and I see myself already without a head.'

'And what have you made up your mind to do?'

'There's nothing to be done, and after all I suppose one can only die once.

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