The Bronze Ring
For your reward you must demand the bronze ring which has the power to grant you everything you desire. Go, my son, and do not forget any of my instructions."
The young man followed the old beggar-woman's directions. On going out of the town he found the white, red, and black dogs, and killed and burnt them, gathering the ashes in three bags. Then he ran to the palace and cried:
"A celebrated physician has just come from Janina in Albania. He alone can cure the King and give him back the strength of his youth."
The King's physicians at first laughed at the unknown wayfarer, but the Sultan ordered that the stranger should be admitted. They brought the cauldron and the loads of wood, and very soon the King was boiling away. Toward mid-day the gardener's son arranged the bones in their places, and he had hardly scattered the ashes over them before the old King revived, to find himself once more young and hearty.
"How can I reward you, my benefactor?" he cried. "Will you take half my treasures?"
"No," said the gardener's son.
"My daughter's hand?"
"Take half my kingdom."
"No. Give me only the bronze ring which can instantly grant me anything I wish for."
"Alas!" said the King, "I set great store by that marvelous ring; nevertheless, you shall have it." And he gave it to him.
The gardener's son went back to say good-by to the old beggar-woman; then he said to the bronze ring:
"Prepare a splendid ship in which I may continue my journey. Let the hull be of fine gold, the masts of silver, the sails of brocade; let the crew consist of twelve young men of noble appearance, dressed like kings. St. Nicholas will be at the helm. As to the cargo, let it be diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and carbuncles."
And immediately a ship appeared upon the sea which resembled in every particular THE DESCRIPTION GIVEN BY THE GARDENER'S SON, and, stepping on board, he continued his journey. Presently he arrived at a great town and established himself in a wonderful palace. After several days he met his rival, the minister's son, who had spent all his money and was reduced to the disagreeable employment of a carrier of dust and rubbish.