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Cunning Ileane

"May no second one fall to your lot," said this royal maiden too. "Go back home by the way you came, may flowers spring up before you and flowers remain behind!"

The prince returned to his brothers, told them all that had happened, and—for the third time—a hero departed, the youngest son. When he reached the palace where the three sisters lived Ileane was standing at the window, and when she saw him, said merrily:

"You handsome champion with the royal face, where are you hurrying, that you urge on your steed so hotly?"

When the prince saw Ileane's face and heard Ileane's words, he stopped, gazed at her, and answered boldly:

"I'm hurrying to the sun to steal one of its rays, to give to its sister and take her home, where she shall become my bride. Now, little sister, I will stop on my way to look at you, gaze at the radiance of your face, say a word to you and steal a word in reply."

Ileane cleverly answered: "If your nature is like your words, if your soul is like your face, proud and beautiful, and mild and gentle, I will gladly call you into the house, seat you at a banquet, give you food and drink and kisses."

The prince sprang from his horse as he heard these words, and answered boldly:

"My nature will be like my speech, my heart like my face; let me in, seat me at the banquet, you shall never repent it from dawn till nightfall."

He had scarcely uttered the words when he leaped upon the window-sill, jumped through the window into the room, went through the room to the table, and took his place at the very top, where the emperor had sat when he was a bridegroom.

"Stop, stop!" said Ileane. "First let me see whether you are what you ought to be, and then we'll talk and begin our love-making. Can you make roses grow on burdocks?"

"No!" said the prince.

"Then the thistle is your flower," said clever Ileane. "Can you make the bat sing in a sweet voice?"

"No!" said the prince.

"Then night is your day," said clever Ileane. "Can you make apples grow on wolf's-bane?

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Category: Welsh folktales
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