The dwarf with the long beard
By chance, a knight, one of her suitors, passed that way. Seeing Dobrotek asleep he drew his sword and stabbed him; then he lifted the princess on his horse and soon reached the king’s palace, where he addressed Pietnotka’s father in these words: “Here is your daughter, whom I now claim as my wife, for it is I who have restored her to you. She was carried off by a terrible sorcerer who fought with me three days and three nights. But I conquered him, and I have brought you the princess safely back.”
The king was overjoyed at seeing her again, but finding that his tenderest efforts were powerless to awake her, he wanted to know the reason of it.
“That I cannot tell you,” replied the impostor; “you see her as I found her myself.”
Meanwhile, poor Prince Dobrotek, seriously wounded, was slowly recovering consciousness, but he felt so weak that he could hardly utter these words:
“Come, Magic Horse with Mane of Gold,
Come, Dappled Horse, O come to me.
Fly like the birds as you did of old,
As flashes of lightning o’er land and sea.”
Instantly a bright cloud appeared, and from the midst thereof stepped the magic horse. As he already knew all that had happened, he dashed off immediately to the Mountain of Eternal Life. Thence he drew the three kinds of water: the Water that gives Life, the Water that Cures, and the Water that Strengthens. Returning to the prince, he sprinkled him first with the Life-giving Water, and instantly the body, which had become cold, was warm again and the blood began to circulate. The Water that Cures healed the wound, and the Strength-giving Water had such an effect upon him that he opened his eyes and cried out, “Oh, how well I have slept.”
“You were already sleeping the eternal sleep,” replied the dappled horse. “One of your rivals stabbed you mortally, and carried off Pietnotka, whom he pretends to have rescued. But do not worry yourself, she still sleeps, and none can arouse her but you, and this you must do by touching her with the dwarf’s beard.
The Election of the King Bird (the black-and-white Fishing Eagle)
Category: Nigerian folktales
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