The princess of the brazen mountain
There was a young prince, who was not only most handsome and well-grown, but also most kind-hearted and good. Now sooner or later kindness always meets its reward, though it may not seem so at first.
One summer's evening the prince was walking on the banks of a lake, when he looked up, and saw to his great surprise, in the air, against the rosy clouds of the sunset, three beautiful beings with wings—not angels, nor birds—but three beautiful damsels.
And having alighted on the ground they dropped their wings and their garments, and left them lying on the shore and leaped into the cool water, and began splashing and playing about in it, like so many waterfowl.
As soon as the prince saw this he came out from his hiding-place in the bushes, picked up one pair of wings and hid himself again.
When they had been long enough in the water, the beautiful damsels came again to land, and dressed themselves quickly.
Two of them soon had on both their white dresses and their wings; but the youngest could not find hers.
They held a short consultation, and the result was, that the two elder flew away in the shape of birds, as fast as they could, to fetch another pair of wings for their younger sister.
They soon vanished in the blue sky; but she remained alone, wringing her hands, and crying.
"What are you crying for, you lovely maiden?" asked the prince, emerging from the bushes.
"Oh! I am so unhappy!" she replied. "I am a princess of the Brazen Mountain; my sisters and I came here to bathe in the lake; and somebody has stolen my wings; so I must wait here, until they bring me another pair."
"I am a prince," he replied; "this is my father's kingdom; be my wife, and I will give you back your wings."
"Very well," she said; "I consent, only you must give me back my wings at once."
"Let us first go to church, and get married," he answered, and taking the lovely princess by the hand, he brought her to his father and mother, and asked their permission to marry her.
The king and queen were delighted with their beautiful daughter-in-law, gave them their blessing, and all was got ready for the wedding.