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

The Prince and the Maiden

"The prince?" said the maiden in surprise. "Wasn't it a princess who was taken away as an infant?"

"Nay, my fair lady," said the woodcutter, and he told her that the infant princess stolen by the stranger had been in truth a peasant's daughter, and that the true royal child was actually a son who had been raised by peasants. So then the prince gently revealed that he, in fact, was the true prince, and that she was the daughter of peasants, and that he had journeyed into the cave with the sole intent of rescuing her.

Disappointed though she was that she had not been born a princess, the maiden was pleased to know that the prince's love for her was real, and that he had professed his love for her even though he knew that she was born a peasant. With the help of the magic ball, the maiden then managed that the prince become garbed in princely clothes so that he might greet his birth father, the king, in proper attire. She herself stayed behind so that the king and his son could meet in private.

But the king was in a sickbed, for the disappearance of his son had nearly killed him. When he set eyes on his son, the father's heart overflowed with joy, and for three days father and son rejoiced and shared all that had happened. Thereafter the king quickly regained his health. Learning that his son had taken it upon himself to rescue the unfortunate girl who had replaced him so many years before in the royal cradle, the king beamed with pride. He insisted that the maiden be brought forth. "She is your worthy bride," he cried, "the new princess of the land, and your liege lady."

So the prince and the maiden were married, and they lived happily ever after.

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