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Main > Romanian folktales > Fairy tale "The poor boy"

The poor boy

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The Poor Boy took her in his arms and kissed her, because she was his sister, but the prince embraced and kissed her, too, because—because he was the Poor Boy's sworn brother.

Then they agreed to serve this dragon as they had served his brother, so they waited awhile, received the dragon as he deserved, conquered him, and after thanking God that they had overcome this peril too, journeyed on again to deliver the emperor's daughter.

But now came fresh trouble. The princess did not want to be rescued, and the prince had no token with him by which she might have recognized him as her brother. In vain the Poor Boy told her that if she did not come willingly, he would carry her off by force; she kept her hand on the dangerous nail and it was impossible to coax her.

I must mention that it would go hard with them if they waited for the dragon; for there were only two champions, and if one held up the palace by keeping the gates on their hinges and the other waited for the dragon in the middle of the court-yard, there was no one who could protect them from the nail.

"Let me attend to it," said the Poor Boy, who, since he had seen the princess, had grown fairly frantic. "Either his life or mine!"

As we perceive, he had determined to fight the dragon in the open ground, where he could not see him,—a thing never heard of since fairy princes first began to fight the dragon's brood; for if it is hard to conquer a dragon at all, it is doubly difficult to vanquish one when he is invisible, and no one had ever thought of such an exploit.

The prince and the Poor Boy's sister hid themselves in a ditch near the palace, that the dragon might not see them; but the Poor Boy stationed himself a little behind the gate and waited for the dragon to hurl his club, in order to get near him, for when he no longer had a club he would be obliged to fight either with his sword or with his fists.

Ere long, crash! the club struck the iron-barred gate, but the Poor Boy was not slow, he opened the other gate and ran out with it, leaving the palace to fall in ruins behind him.

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