The ruler of the besieged city would not at first believe that the enemy had really disappeared, and indeed went himself to see if it was true: of a truth there remained nothing of the enemy’s camp but a few deserted tents whitening on the plain. At that moment Niezguinek came up with his brothers, and said, “Sire, the enemy has fled, and we were unable to detain them, but here is their king whom we have made prisoner, and whom I deliver up to you.”
The ruler replied, “I see, indeed, that you are a brave man among brave men, and I will reward you. This royal prisoner is worth a large ransom to me; so speak,—what would you like me to do for you?”
“I should wish, sire, that my brothers and I might enter the service of your majesty.”
“I am quite willing,” answered the king. Then, having placed his prisoner in charge of his guards, he made Niezguinek general, and placed him at the head of a division of his army; the eleven brothers were given the rank of officers.
When Niezguinek appeared in uniform, and with sabre in hand mounted his splendid charger, he looked so handsome and conducted the manœuvres so well that he surpassed all the other chiefs in the country, thus causing much jealousy, even among his own brothers, for they were vexed that the youngest should outshine them, and so determined to ruin him.
In order to accomplish this they imitated his handwriting, and placed such a note before the king’s door while Niezguinek was engaged elsewhere. When the king went out he found the letter, and calling Niezguinek to him, said, “I should very much like to have the phonic guzla you mention in your letter.”
“But, sire, I have not written anything about a guzla,” said he.
“Read the note then. Is it not in your handwriting?”
“In a certain country, within the house of old Yaga, is a marvellous guzla: if the king wish I will fetch it for him.
“It is true,” said he, “that this writing resembles mine, but it is a forgery, for I never wrote it.