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The princess and the fisherman

As soon as she saw him she went up and spoke to him, but he pretended not to know her, turned his head away, made no answer, and went about his business.

The princess followed him everywhere, begging him to say just one word to her, but in vain. When the landlord saw that the stranger was to blame for the interruption in the work, he said: "Why don't you let my servant finish his work in peace? Don't you see he is dumb? Be kind enough to go away from here, if you are a respectable woman."

"He isn't dumb," she cried, "this is my husband, who deserted and fled from me on account of a fault of mine."

All the people in the tavern stood still in astonishment when they heard her words, for she was not joking; but the landlord could not believe it, he thought it would be impossible for a man who could speak to live a whole week without saying even one word, and every body really knew him as a dumb man, made him understand by signs, and liked him for his industry.

The princess then entered into an agreement with them all, that she would induce him to speak within three days if they would only allow her to stay with him, but if she did not succeed she would be hung. This agreement was put in writing and shown to the magistrates for their sanction. When the contract was concluded, the three days' trial was arranged to begin the next morning.

The fisherman at first knew nothing about this agreement, though he heard of it afterward, but the emperor's daughter never left his side.

"My beloved husband," she said, "you know I am to blame. I chose you because I loved you; I swear that I will never commit such a blunder again; have pity on me, speak one word to me, save me from the disgrace that is killing me. I know you have a right to be angry, but for the sake of my love, forgive me."

The fisherman turned his head toward her, shrugged his shoulders, and pretended that he did not know her, and did not understand what she was talking about. One day, two days passed, and he did not even say boo.

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