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

King Kojata

Then it sped onwards like an arrow from a bow.

In the meantime the Magician was waiting impatiently for the Prince. Enraged by the delay, he sent his servants to fetch him, for the appointed time was past.

The servants came to the door, and finding it locked, they knocked; but the frozen breath on the window replied in Prince Milan's voice, 'I am coming directly.' With this answer they returned to the Magician. But when the Prince still did not appear, after a time he sent his servants a second time to bring him. The frozen breath always gave the same answer, but the Prince never came. At last the Magician lost all patience, and commanded the door to be burst open. But when his servants did so, they found the room empty, and the frozen breath laughed aloud. Out of his mind with rage, the Magician ordered the Prince to be pursued.

Then a wild chase began. 'I hear horses' hoofs behind us,' said Hyacinthia to the Prince. Milan sprang from the saddle, put his ear to the ground and listened. 'Yes,' he answered, 'they are pursuing us, and are quite close.' 'Then no time must be lost,' said Hyacinthia, and she immediately turned herself into a river, Prince Milan into an iron bridge, and the charger into a blackbird. Behind the bridge the road branched off into three ways.

The Magician's servants hurried after the fresh tracks, but when they came to the bridge, they stood, not knowing which road to take, as the footprints stopped suddenly, and there were three paths for them to choose from. In fear and trembling they returned to tell the Magician what had happened. He flew into a dreadful rage when he saw them, and screamed out, 'Oh, you fools! the river and bridge were they! Go back and bring them to me at once, or it will be the worse for you.'

Then the pursuit began afresh. 'I hear horses' hoofs,' sighed Hyacinthia. The Prince dismounted and put his ear to the ground. 'They are hurrying after us, and are already quite near.' In a moment the Princess Hyacinthia had changed herself, the Prince, and his charger into a thick wood where a thousand paths and roads crossed each other.

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