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The Twelve Huntsmen

When they pass through you'll see how pleased they will be, quite unlike any man.'

The King was pleased with the advice, and desired twelve spinning- wheels to be placed in his ante-chamber.

But the good-natured servant went to the huntsmen and told them all about this fresh plot. Then, as soon as the King's daughter was alone with her maidens, she exclaimed: 'Now, pray make a great effort and don't even _look_ at those spinning-wheels.'

When the King sent for his twelve huntsmen next morning they walked through the ante-room without even casting a glance at the spinning-wheels.

Then the King said once more to the Lion: 'You have deceived me again; they _are_ men, for they never once looked at the spinning-wheels.'

The Lion replied: 'They knew they were being tried, and they did violence to their feelings.' But the King declined to believe in the Lion any longer.

So the twelve huntsmen continued to follow the King, and he grew daily fonder of them. One day whilst they were all out hunting it so happened that news was brought that the King's intended bride was on her way and might soon be expected. When the true bride heard of this she felt as though a knife had pierced her heart, and she fell fainting to the ground. The King, fearing something had happened to his dear huntsman, ran up to help, and began drawing off his gloves. Then he saw the ring which he had given to his first love, and as he gazed into her face he knew her again, and his heart was so touched that he kissed her, and as she opened her eyes, he cried: 'I am thine and thou art mine, and no power on earth can alter that.'

To the other Princess he despatched a messenger to beg her to return to her own kingdom with all speed. 'For,' said he, 'I have got a wife, and he who finds an old key again does not require a new one.'

Thereupon the wedding was celebrated with great pomp, and the Lion was restored to the royal favour, for after all he had told the truth.

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