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The Golden Lads

Someone whispered on one side of him: 'There goes someone,' and was answered from the other side: 'Oh, let him pass. He's only a bear-keeper, and as poor as any church mouse.' So golden lad rode through the forest and no harm befell him.

One day he came to a village, where he saw a girl who struck him as being the loveliest creature in the whole world, and as he felt a great love for her, he went up to her and said: 'I love you with all my heart; will you be my wife?' And the girl liked him so much that she put her hand in his and replied: 'Yes, I will be your wife, and will be true to you as long as I live.'

So they were married, and in the middle of all the festivities and rejoicings the bride's father came home and was not a little surprised at finding his daughter celebrating her wedding. He enquired: 'And who is the bridegroom?'

Then someone pointed out to him the golden lad, who was still wrapped up in the bear's skin, and the father exclaimed angrily: 'Never shall a mere bear-keeper have my daughter,' and tried to rush at him and kill him. But the bride did all she could to pacify him, and begged hard, saying: 'After all he is my husband, and I love him with all my heart,' so that at length he gave in.

However, he could not dismiss the thought from his mind, and next morning he rose very early, for he felt he must go and look at his daughter's husband and see whether he really was nothing better than a mere ragged beggar. So he went to his son-in-law's room, and who should he see lying in the bed but a splendid golden man, and the rough bearskin thrown on the ground close by. Then he slipped quietly away, and thought to himself, 'How lucky that I managed to control my rage! I should certainly have committed a great crime.'

Meantime the golden lad dreamt that he was out hunting and was giving chase to a noble stag, and when he woke he said to his bride: 'I must go off and hunt.' She felt very anxious, and begged he would stay at home, adding: 'Some mishap might so easily befall you,' but he answered, 'I must and will go.

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