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The Princess and the Glass Mountain

Yet he did not ride quite up to the top; but when he had come to its crest, he greeted the princess with great courtesy, flung about his steed, and rode down the mountain again till the sparks flew about his horse's hoofs. Then he disappeared into the wood as the storm flies. As one may imagine, the people's excitement was even greater than the first time, and there was not one who did not admire the strange knight. And all were agreed that a more splendid steed or a handsomer youth were nowhere to be found.

Time passed, and the king set a day when his daughter's suitors were to make a third trial. The princess was now once more led to the Glass Mountain, and seated herself on its highest peak, with the golden crown and the golden apple, as she had before. At the foot of the mountain gathered the whole swarm of suitors, with splendid horses and polished armor, handsome beyond anything seen thus far, and round about the people flocked together to watch the contest. When all was ready the suitors, one after another, darted up the mountain with all their might. The mountain was as smooth as ice, and besides, it was steep beyond all measure; so that not one rode up more than a little way, before tumbling down again, head over heels. This made a great noise, the horses neighed, the people shouted, and the armor clashed, till the tumult and the shouting echoed far into the wood.

While this was all taking place the king's son was busy tending his oxen as usual. And when he once more heard the noise and the clash of arms, he sat down on a stone, leaned his cheek on his hand, and wept bitterly. Then he thought of the lovely princess, and would gladly have ventured his life to win her. That very moment the wild man was standing before him: "Good-day!" said the wild man, "And why do you sit here so lonely and full of sorrow?" "I have no choice but to be sad and joyless," said the prince. "Because of you I am a fugitive from the land of my father, and now I have not even a sword and armor to ride up the mountain and fight for the princess!

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Chief Croton
Category: United States folktales
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