The Enchanted Peafowl - The Story of the Golden Apples, the Wicked Dragon, and the Magic Horse
If I can't marry my own dear love I won't marry any one!"
"Very well!" said the old woman shortly.
When the Prince's back was turned she called the serving man aside and whispered:
"Will you do what I tell you if I pay you well?"
The serving man who was a mean greedy fellow nodded his head and the old woman handed him a small bellows.
"Hide this in your shirt," she told him, "and don't let your master see it. Then to-morrow morning when you go down to the lake with him to see the nine peafowl slip it out and blow it on the back of his neck. Do this and I'll give you a golden ducat."
The serving man took the bellows and did as the old woman directed. The next morning down at the lake just as the nine peafowl came flying into sight he crept up behind the Prince and blew the bellows on the back of his neck. Instantly sleep overcame the Prince. His eyes closed, his head drooped, and the reins fell from his hands.
Eight of the peafowl alighted on the water's edge, changed into lovely maidens and went bathing in the lake, but the ninth flew straight down to the Prince, fluttered her wings in his face and uttering sad cries tried hard to arouse him.
The eight finished their baths, changed back into birds, and calling their sister they all flew off together. Then and not till then did the Prince awaken.
"Ah!" he cried, "how could I have fallen asleep just when the peafowl appeared? Where are they now? Are they gone?"
"Yes," his man told him, "they're gone. Eight of them changed into lovely maidens and went bathing in the lake but the ninth fluttered about your head and tried in every way to arouse you. I tried to arouse you, too, but you kept on sleeping."
"Strange!" thought the Prince. "How could I have fallen asleep at such a time? I'll have to try again to-morrow morning."
The next morning the same thing happened. The treacherous serving man again blew the bellows on the back of the Prince's neck and instantly the Prince sank into a deep sleep from which the ninth peafowl was unable to arouse him.