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Main > Sweden folktales > Fairy tale "Faithful and Unfaithful"

Faithful and Unfaithful

" "Yes, that's what I'll do," said the youth. He fitted an arrow to the bow-string, and in a moment the hawk lay prone on the ground. But the two doves flew nearer, fluttered about their deliverer in a tame and grateful manner, and then hurried back to their nest.

The youth pressed on through the wood and by now was far, far from home. But his horse did not tire easily, and ran on with him until they came to a great lake. There he saw a gull rise up from the water, holding a pike in its claws. "Make haste to take your bow," said the horse, "shoot the gull and save the pike!" "Yes, that's what I'll do," answered the youth, fitted an arrow to his bow-string, and in a moment the gull was threshing the ground with its wings, mortally wounded. But the pike who had been saved swam nearer, gave his deliverer a friendly, grateful glance, and then dove down to join his fellows beneath the waves.

Faithful rode on again, and before evening came to a great castle. He at once had himself announced to the king, and begged that the latter would take him into his service. "What kind of a place do you want?" asked the king, who was inclined to look with favor on the bold horseman.

"I should like to be a groom," was Faithful's answer, "but first of all I must have stable-room and fodder for my horse." "That you shall have," said the king, and the youth was taken on as a groom, and served so long and so well, that every one in the castle liked him, and the king in particular praised him highly.

But among the other servitors was one named Unfaithful who was jealous of Faithful, and did what he could to harm him; for he thought to himself:

"Then I would be rid of him, and need not see him continue to rise in my lord's favor." Now it happened that the king was very sad, for he had lost his queen, whom a troll had stolen from the castle. It is true that the queen had not taken pleasure in the king's society, and that she did not love him. Still the king longed for her greatly, and often spoke of it to Unfaithful his servant.

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