The Bronze Ring
And so that very day the gardener's son married the beautiful Princess.
Several months passed. The young couple were as happy as the day was long, and the King was more and more pleased with himself for having secured such a son- in-law.
But, presently, the captain of the golden ship found it necessary to take a long voyage, and after embracing his wife tenderly he embarked.
Now in the outskirts of the capital there lived an old man, who had spent his life in studying black arts-- alchemy, astrology, magic, and enchantment. This man found out that the gardener's son had only succeeded in marrying the Princess by the help of the genii who obeyed the bronze ring.
"I will have that ring," said he to himself. So he went down to the sea-shore and caught some little red fishes. Really, they were quite wonderfully pretty. Then he came back, and, passing before the Princess's window, he began to cry out:
"Who wants some pretty little red fishes?"
The Princess heard him, and sent out one of her slaves, who said to the old peddler:
"What will you take for your fish?"
"A bronze ring."
"A bronze ring, old simpleton! And where shall I find one?"
"Under the cushion in the Princess's room."
The slave went back to her mistress.
The old madman will take neither gold nor silver," said she.
"What does he want then?"
"A bronze ring that is hidden under a cushion."
Find the ring and give it to him," said the Princess.
And at last the slave found the bronze ring, which the captain of the golden ship had accidentally left behind and carried it to the man, who made off with it instantly.
Hardly had he reached his own house when, taking the ring, he said, "Bronze ring, obey thy master. I desire that the golden ship shall turn to black wood, and the crew to hideous negroes; that St. Nicholas shall leave the helm and that the only cargo shall be black cats."
And the genii of the bronze ring obeyed him.
Finding himself upon the sea in this miserable condition, the young captain understood that some one must have stolen the bronze ring from him, and he lamented his misfortune loudly; but that did him no good.