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The Three Dogs

Once upon a time there was a king who went forth into the world and fetched back a beautiful queen. And after they had been married a while God gave them a little daughter. Then there was great rejoicing in the city and throughout the country, for the people wished their king all that was good, since he was kind and just. While the child lay in its cradle, a strange-looking old woman entered the room, and no one knew who she was nor whence she came. The old woman spoke a verse over the child, and said that she must not be allowed out under the open sky until she were full fifteen years of age, since otherwise the mountain troll would fetch her. When the king heard this he took her words to heart, and posted guards to watch over the little princess so that she would not get out under the open sky.

Some time afterward God gave the royal pair another little daughter, and again the whole kingdom rejoiced. But the wise old woman once more put in an appearance, and warned the king not to let the princess out under the open sky until she were full fifteen years of age. And then, after a time, God gave the royal pair a third daughter. This time, too, the old woman appeared, and repeated what she had already twice said. Then the king was much grieved; for he loved his children above everything in the world. Therefore he gave strict orders that the three princesses were always to be kept beneath the roof of the castle, and that none were to dare transgress against this command.

Now a long time passed, and the king's daughters grew up and became the most beautiful maidens of whom one has ever heard tell. Then war broke out and the king, their father, had to leave them. One day, while he was away at war, the three princesses were sitting in the window and looking out, watching the sun shine on the little flowers in the garden. And they felt a great desire to play with the lovely flowers, and begged their guards to let them go into the garden for a little while. But this their guards would not allow, for they feared the king's anger.

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