The Prince Gracious
While Rosalie was thus quietly sleeping, the prince Gracious was engaged in a hunt through the forest by torch-light. The fawn, pursued fiercely by the dogs, came trembling with terror to crouch down near the brook by which Rosalie was sleeping. The dogs and gamekeepers sprang forward after the fawn. Suddenly the dogs ceased barking and grouped themselves silently around Rosalie. The prince dismounted from his horse to set the dogs again upon the trail of the deer but what was his surprise to see a lovely young girl asleep in this lonely forest! He looked carefully around but saw no one else. She was indeed alone—abandoned. On examining her more closely, he saw traces of tears upon her cheeks and indeed they were still escaping slowly from her closed eyelids.
Rosalie was simply clothed but the richness of her silk dress denoted wealth. Her fine white hands, her rosy nails, her beautiful chestnut locks, carefully and tastefully arranged with a gold comb, her elegant boots and necklace of pure pearls indicated elevated rank.
Rosalie did not awake, notwithstanding the stamping of the horses, the baying of the dogs and the noisy tumult made by a crowd of sportsmen.
The prince was stupefied and stood gazing steadily at Rosalie. No one present recognized her. Anxious and disquieted by this profound sleep, Prince Gracious took her hand softly. Rosalie still slept. The prince pressed her hand lightly in his but even this did not awaken her.
Turning to his officers, he said: "I cannot thus abandon this unfortunate child, who has perhaps been led astray by some design, the victim of some cruel wickedness."
"But how can she be removed while she is asleep, prince," said Hubert, his principal gamekeeper, "can we not make a litter of branches and thus remove her to some hostel in the neighborhood while your highness continues the chase?"
"Your idea is good, Hubert. Make the litter and we will immediately place her upon it, only you will not carry her to a hostel, but to my palace.