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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "Trusty John"

Trusty John

But if anyone who knows this betrays it, he will be turned into stone from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet." When the ravens had thus conversed they fled onward, but Trusty John had taken it all in, and was sad and depressed from that time forward; for if he were silent to his master concerning what he had heard, he would involve him in misfortune; but if he took him into his confidence, then he himself would forfeit his life. At last he said: "I will stand by my master, though it should be my ruin."

Now when they drew near the land it came to pass just as the ravens had predicted, and a splendid chestnut horse bounded forward. "Capital!" said the King; "this animal shall carry me to my palace," and was about to mount, but Trusty John was too sharp for him, and, springing up quickly, seized the pistol out of the holster and shot the horse dead. Then the other servants of the King, who at no time looked favorably on Trusty John, cried out: "What a sin to kill the beautiful beast that was to bear the King to his palace!" But the King spake: "Silence! let him alone; he is ever my most trusty John. Who knows for what good end he may have done this thing?" So they went on their way and entered the palace, and there in the hall stood a cupboard in which lay the ready-made bridal shirt, looking for all the world as though it were made of gold and silver. The young King went toward it and was about to take hold of it, but Trusty John, pushing him aside, seized it with his gloved hands, threw it hastily into the fire, and let it burn The other servants commenced grumbling again, and said: "See, he's actually burning the King's bridal shirt." But the young King spoke: "Who knows for what good purpose he does it? Let him alone, he is my most trusty John." Then the wedding was celebrated, the dance began, and the bride joined in, but Trusty John watched her countenance carefully. Of a sudden she grew deadly white, and fell to the ground as if she were dead. He at once sprang hastily toward her, lifted her up, and bore her to a room, where he laid her down, and kneeling beside her he drew three drops of blood from her right side, and spat them out.

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