His son opened the horn, and instantly the fields and surrounding country were so filled with cattle that every body was bewildered.
"Do all these flocks and herds belong to you?" asked the old man.
"All, father. What shall we do with this multitude of beasts."
"Relieve the sorrows of the widows and the poor," he replied.
The youth followed his father's advice. There was no day the Lord bestowed on which he did not render some service to those who needed aid. So it happened that not a single pauper was left in the neighborhood. News of the wealth and benevolence of the old man's son reached the imperial court, and as the emperor had a very clever and beautiful daughter, he sent to ask the youth to become her suitor.
When the young man heard that the emperor wanted him for a son-in-law he was greatly astonished. But, on being summoned to the court, he went there and behaved with so much good sense and dignity that the sovereign was not at all sorry he had cast his eye upon him. The princess liked him because he was a handsome, proud, spirited Roumanian youth. Then, after having agreed among themselves, a wedding was celebrated whose fame spread through the whole country. The young man's father was there too.
After the dances and amusements of the marriage were over and every body had gone home, the old man, according to ancient custom, placed in the room where the emperor's son-in-law and his bride were to sleep a roll of snow-white bread. Then he, too, went to rest.
What happened during the night? The emperor's son-in-law suddenly saw the dragon, which, with one jaw on the upper cornice of the door and the other on the threshold beneath, told the young fellow it had come to settle their account and he must now give up to be devoured the bride sleeping beside him, whom he loved like the apple of his eye.
The old man's son, who had long since forgotten the settlement, did not know what to do. He dared not rush upon the dragon and kill it, because he knew that they had made this bargain; his father had often told him that, when a man has given his word, he has also pledged his soul.