how very soundly I have slept.”
Niezguinek released the young raven and said to his horse, “For sure, you would have slept to all eternity, and have never seen the sun again, if I had not revived you as you taught me.”
While speaking he saw the marvellous ship sparkling white in the sun. She was made entirely of pure silver, with golden masts. The rigging was of silk, the sails of velvet, and the whole was enclosed in a casing of inpenetrable steel network. Niezguinek sprang down to the water’s edge armed with his club, and rubbing his forehead with the diamond key, said:
“Riding on the ocean waves a magic ship I see;
Stop and change thy course, O ship, here I hold the key.
Obey the signal known to thee,
And come at once direct to me.”
The vessel turned right round and came at full speed towards land, and right on to the bank, where it remained motionless.
Niezguinek smashed in the steel network with his club; and opening the doors with the diamond key, there found Princess Sudolisu. He made her unconscious with the herb Sleep, and lifting her before him on his horse, said:
“Marvel of strength and of beauty so white,
Horse of my heart, while I sing,
Swift as an arrow through space take thy flight
Straight to the court of my king.”
Then the horse, as if he saw some strange thing in the clouds, lifted himself in the air and began to fly through space so rapidly that in about two hours he had crossed rivers, mountains, and forests, and had reached his journey’s end.
Although Niezguinek had fallen violently in love with the princess himself, he took her straight to the royal palace and introduced her to the king.
Now she was so exquisitely beautiful that the monarch was quite dazzled by looking at her, and being thus carried away by his admiration, he put his arm round her as if to caress her: but she rebuked him severely.
“What have I done to offend you, princess? Why do you treat me so harshly?”
“Because in spite of your rank you are ill-bred. You neither ask my name nor that of my parents, and you think to take possession of me as if I were but a dog or a falcon.