The Golden Lads
'Well,' said the fish, 'I see that I am evidently destined to fall into your hands. Now take me home, and cut me into six pieces. Give two bits to your wife to eat, two to your horse, and plant the remaining two in your garden, and they will bring you a blessing.'
The man carried the fish home, and did exactly as he had been told. After a time, it came to pass that from the two pieces he had planted in the garden two golden lilies grew up, and that his horse had two golden foals, whilst his wife gave birth to twin boys who were all golden.
The children grew up both tall and handsome, and the foals and the lilies grew with them.
One day the children came to their father and said, 'Father, we want to mount on golden steeds, and ride forth to see the world.'
Their father answered sadly, 'How can I bear it if, when you are far away, I know nothing about you?' and they said, 'The golden lilies will tell you all about us if you look at them. If they seem to droop, you will know we are ill, and if they fall down and fade away, it will be a sign we are dead.'
So off they rode, and came to an inn where were a number of people who, as soon as they saw the two golden lads, began to laugh and jeer at them. When one of them heard this, his heart failed him, and he thought he would go no further into the world, so he turned back and rode home to his father, but his brother rode on till he reached the outskirts of a huge forest. Here he was told, 'It will never do for you to ride through the forest, it is full of robbers, and you're sure to come to grief, especially when they see that you and your horse are golden. They will certainly fall on you and kill you.' However, he was not to be intimidated, but said, 'I must and will ride on.'
So he procured some bears' skins, and covered himself and his horse with them, so that not a particle of gold could be seen, and then rode bravely on into the heart of the forest.
When he had got some way he heard a rustling through the bushes and presently a sound of voices.