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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "The Golden Lads"

The Golden Lads


So he went off into the forest, and before long a fine stag, such as he had seen in his dream, stopped just in front of him. He took aim, and was about to fire when the stag bounded away. Then he started off in pursuit, making his way through bushes and briars, and never stopped all day; but in the evening the stag entirely disappeared, and when golden lad came to look about him he found himself just opposite a hut in which lived a witch. He knocked at the door, which was opened by a little old woman who asked, 'What do you want at this late hour in the midst of this great forest?'

He said, 'Haven't you seen a stag about here?'

'Yes,' said she, 'I know the stag well,' and as she spoke a little dog ran out of the house and began barking and snapping at the stranger.

'Be quiet, you little toad,' he cried, 'or I'll shoot you dead.'

Then the witch flew into a great rage, and screamed out, 'What! you'll kill my dog, will you?' and the next moment he was turned to stone and lay there immovable, whilst his bride waited for him in vain and thought to herself, 'Alas! no doubt the evil I feared, and which has made my heart so heavy, has befallen him.'

Meantime, the other brother was standing near the golden lilies at home, when suddenly one of them bent over and fell to the ground. 'Good heavens!' cried he, 'some great misfortune has befallen my brother. I must set off at once; perhaps I may still be in time to save him.'

His father entreated him, 'Stay at home. If I should lose you too, what would become of me?'

But his son replied, 'I must and will go.'

Then he mounted his golden horse, and rode off till he reached the forest where his brother lay transformed to stone. The old witch came out of her house and called to him, for she would gladly have cast her spells on him too, but he took care not to go near her, and called out: 'Restore my brother to life at once, or I'll shoot you down on the spot.'

Reluctantly she touched the stone with her finger, and in a moment it resumed its human shape.

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