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Main > German folktales > Fairy tale "The Prince and the Maiden"

The Prince and the Maiden

Then he went straight to the stable, where the sight of the smashed barn wall told him all. Swearing loudly, he cried to his goblin servants to go chase the fugitives. "Bring them to me, however you may find them, for have them I must!" he cried. So spake the old man, and the servants fled like the wind.

The maiden and the prince ran on till they reached such a dark part of the forest that, if it had not been for the light shed by the red ball, they could not have made their way at all. Worn out and breathless, they came at length to a large stone, and here the ball began to move restlessly. The maiden, seeing this, exclaimed, "Listen to me, my ball. Please roll the stone quickly to one side that we may find the door." And in a moment the stone had rolled away, and they had passed through the door to the world of fresh air again. The stone closed shut to cover the opening behind them.

"Now we are safe!" cried she. "Here the old wizard has no more power over us, and we can guard ourselves from his spells. But my friend, now we must part! You will return to your parents, and I must go to the royal palace." For you see, the maiden still believed that she had been born a princess and was stolen from the royal crib.

The prince gazed at the maiden. He felt great satisfaction that she was now rescued and could resume her life in freedom. At the same time, he realized he had fallen hopelessly in love with her and did not want to part from her. "Stay with me!" he exclaimed. "Become my wife! I've loved you from the first, and I know that you love me, too. We've gone through so many troubles together; now we finally have the chance to share our joys." The maiden knew in her heart that she loved him, too. At last she took his hand in hers and they pledged their love to one another.

In the forest they met a woodcutter. The woodcutter told them that there was great sorrow in the palace, as well as in all the land, after the prince had disappeared, since the prince's secret identity as a peasant was in fact a poorly guarded castle secret.

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