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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "The three Daughters of the King of the East, and the Son of a King in Erin "

The three Daughters of the King of the East, and the Son of a King in Erin

Sit on my back now, and be sure you're a good rider, and you'll not be long on the road. This is my last word."

They went on, and were going always; and as he travelled, the prince met the wind that was before him, and the wind that blew behind could not come up with him. When he was hungry the pommel of the saddle opened, and he found the best of eating inside.

They went on sweeping over the world for two weeks, and when they were near the East the horse said: "Get down from my back now, for it's tired I am."

"How far are we from the castle?" asked the king's son.

"Five days' journey," answered the horse. "When you come to the castle, don't stop a moment till you ask where the young woman is lying; and tell them to be sure to give good stabling and food to the horse. Come and see me yourself every day. If you don't, there will be nothing for me but fasting; and that's what I don't like."

When the king's son came to the castle it was evening. The two younger sisters welcomed him. (These were two of the swans at the lake in Erin, and now at home by the enchantment of their stepmother. They were swans in the daytime, and women only at night, so as not to be under the eye of young men when these came to see the stepmother's own daughters.) They said: "Our sister is on an island, and we'll go to her." They got a boat for the young man, and went with him to where their sister was lying. They said to her: "The son of the king of Erin is here."

"Let him come in, that I may look at him," said she.

The king's son went in, and when she saw him she was glad. "Have you anything that belongs to me?" asked she.

"I have."

"Then throw it on my breast."

He threw the handkerchief on her breast and went away. Next day she rose from the bed as well as ever. On the third day after his arrival, the son of the king of Erin married the eldest daughter of the king of the East, and the stepmother's enchantment was destroyed; and there was the grandest wedding that ever was seen in that kingdom.

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