The maid with hair of gold
Early next morning the king summoned George to him and said, “My daughter, the Princess with the Golden Hair, dropped her gold ring into the sea while bathing. You must find the jewel and bring it me to-day.”
The young fellow walked thoughtfully up and down the beach. The water was pure and transparent, but he could not see beyond a certain distance into its depths, and therefore could not tell where the ring was lying beneath the water.
“Ah, my golden fishling, why are you not here now? You would surely be able to help me,” he said to himself, speaking aloud.
“Here I am,” answered the fish’s voice from the sea, “what can I do for you?”
“I have to find a gold ring which has been dropped in the sea, but as I cannot see to the bottom there is no use looking.”
The fish said, “Fortunately I have just met a pike, wearing a gold ring on his fin. Just wait a moment, will you?”
In a very short time he reappeared with the pike and the ring. The pike willingly gave up the jewel.
The king thanked George for his cleverness, and then told him the third task. “If you really wish me to give the hand of my daughter with the golden hair to the monarch who has sent you here, you must bring me two things that I want above everything: the Water of Death and the Water of Life.”
George had not the least idea where to find these waters, so he determined to trust to chance and “follow his nose,” as the saying is. He went first in one direction and then in another, until he reached a dark forest.
“Ah, if my little ravens were but here, perhaps they would help me,” he said aloud.
Suddenly there was heard a rushing noise, as of wings overhead, and then down came the ravens calling “Krâk, krâk, here we are, ready and willing to help you. What are you looking for?”
“I want some of the Water of Death and the Water of Life: it is impossible for me to find them, for I don’t know where to look.”
“Krâk, krâk, we know very well where to find some. Wait a moment.”
Off they went immediately, but soon returned, each with a small gourd in his beak.