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Faithful and Unfaithful

Once upon a time there was a couple of humble cottagers who had no children until, at last, the man's wife was blessed with a boy, which made both of them very happy. They named him Faithful and when he was christened a huldra came to the hut, seated herself beside the child's cradle, and foretold that he would meet with good fortune. "What is more," she said, "when he is fifteen years of age, I will make him a present of a horse with many rare qualities, a horse that has the gift of speech!" And with that the huldra turned and went away.

The boy grew up and became strong and powerful. And when he had passed his fifteenth year, a strange old man came up to their hut one day, knocked, and said that the horse he was leading had been sent by his queen, and that henceforward it was to belong to Faithful, as she had promised. Then the ancient man departed; but the beautiful horse was admired by all, and Faithful learned to love it more with every passing day.

At length he grew weary of home. "I must away and try my fortune in the world," said he, and his parents did not like to object; for there was not much to wish for at home. So he led his dear horse from the stable, swung himself into the saddle, and rode hurriedly into the wood. He rode on and on, and had already covered a good bit of ground, when he saw two lions engaged in a struggle with a tiger, and they were well-nigh overcome. "Make haste to take your bow," said the horse, "shoot the tiger and deliver the two lions!" "Yes, that's what I will do," said the youth, fitted an arrow to the bow-string, and in a moment the tiger lay prone on the ground. The two lions drew nearer, nuzzled their preserver in a friendly and grateful manner, and then hastened back to their cave.

Faithful now rode along for a long time among the great trees until he suddenly spied two terrified white doves fleeing from a hawk who was on the point of catching them. "Make haste to take your bow," said the horse, "shoot the hawk and save the two doves!

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