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The Goose-Girl

He went at once to the royal chamber, and asked the bride who it was she had brought with her and had left thus standing in the court below. "Oh!" replied the bride, "I brought her with me to keep me company on the journey; give the girl something to do, that she may not be idle." But the old King had no work for her, and couldn't think of anything; so he said, "I've a small boy who looks after the geese, she'd better help him." The youth's name was Curdken, and the real bride was made to assist him in herding geese.

Soon after this the false bride said to the Prince: "Dearest husband, I pray you grant me a favor." He answered: "That I will." "Then let the slaughterer cut off the head of the horse I rode here upon, because it behaved very badly on the journey." But the truth was she was afraid lest the horse should speak and tell how she had treated the Princess. She carried her point, and the faithful Falada was doomed to die. When the news came to the ears of the real Princess she went to the slaughterer, and secretly promised him a piece of gold if he would do something for her. There was in the town a large dark gate, through which she had to pass night and morning with the geese; would he "kindly hang up Falada's head there, that she might see it once again?" The slaughterer said he would do as she desired, chopped off the head, and nailed it firmly over the gateway.

Early next morning, as she and Curdken were driving their flock through the gate, she said as she passed under: "Oh! Falada, 'tis you hang there";

and the head replied:

" 'Tis you; pass under, Princess fair: If your mother only knew, Her heart would surely break in two."

Then she left the tower and drove the geese into a field. And when they had reached the common where the geese fed she sat down and unloosed her hair, which was of pure gold. Curdken loved to see it glitter in the sun, and wanted much to pull some hair out. Then she spoke:

"Wind, wind, gently sway, Blow Curdken's hat away; Let him chase o'er field and wold Till my locks of ruddy gold, Now astray and hanging down, Be combed and plaited in a crown.

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