The Girl in the Chest - The Story of the Third Sister Who was Brave and Good
Now it so happened that the King's son one morning went hunting in this very wood and caught a glimpse of the girl as she was gathering berries. He thought he had never seen such a beautiful creature and in stantly he fell in love with her. But when he reached the clump of bushes where he had seen her, she was gone. He called his huntsmen together and told them to search everywhere. They hunted for hours and all they could find was a chest. They tried to open the chest to see what was in it but couldn't.
"Waste no more time over it," the Prince said at last. "Carry it home to the palace as it is and have it placed in my chamber."
The huntsmen did this and a few hours later when the girl peeped out of her chest she found herself alone in the Prince's chamber. His supper was standing on a table in readiness for his coming. The girl ate the supper and was safely back in her chest before he arrived. When he did come the Prince was amazed to see empty plates and called the servants to know who had eaten his supper. The servants were as much surprised as the Prince and declared that no one had entered the chamber.
The same thing happened the next day and the following day the Prince had one of his servants hide behind the curtains and watch to find out if possible how the food disappeared.
The story the servant had to tell of what he saw was so thrilling that the Prince could scarcely wait for the next day when he himself hid behind the curtains and watched.
The serving people put the food on the table and retired and presently the lid of the chest opened and the Prince saw the beautiful maiden of the wood step out. When she sat down at the table the Prince slipped up behind her and caught her in his arms.
"You lovely creature!" he said, "I'm not going to let you escape me again!"
At first the girl was greatly frightened but the Prince reassured her, telling her that he loved her dearly and only wanted to make her his wife.
He led her at once to the King, his father, and the girl was so modest and lovely that the King soon agreed to the marriage.