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Prince Lindworm

For he was really the eldest of her twins: and so he ought to have a wedding first.

There seemed nothing for it but to find a bride for the Lindworm, if his younger brother, the Prince, were to be married at all. So the King wrote to a distant country, and asked for a Princess to marry his son (but, of course, he didn’t say which son), and presently a Princess arrived. But she wasn’t allowed to see her bridegroom until he stood by her side in the great hall and was married to her, and then, of course, it was too late for her to say she wouldn’t have him. But next morning the Princess had disappeared. The Lindworm lay sleeping all alone: and it was quite plain that he had eaten her.

A little while after, the Prince decided that he might now go journeying again in search of a Princess. And off he drove in the Royal chariot with the six white horses. But at the first cross-ways, there lay the Lindworm, crying with his great wide open mouth, “A bride for me before a bride for you!” So the carriage tried another road, and the same thing happened, and they had to turn back again this time, just as formerly. And the King wrote to several foreign countries, to know if anyone would marry his son. At last another Princess arrived, this time from a very far distant land. And, of course, she was not allowed to see her future husband before the wedding took place,—and then, lo and behold! it was the Lindworm who stood at her side. And next morning the Princess had disappeared: and the Lindworm lay sleeping all alone; and it was quite clear that he had eaten her.

By and by the Prince started on his quest for the third time: and at the first cross-roads there lay the Lindworm with his great wide open mouth, demanding a bride as before. And the Prince went straight back to the castle, and told the King: “You must find another bride for my elder brother.”

“I don’t know where I am to find her,” said the King, “I have already made enemies of two great Kings who sent their daughters here as brides: and I have no notion how I can obtain a third lady.

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