The Six Friends
Now the water looked so very cool and refreshing that the maiden felt she must sit on the mossy bank and dabble her feet and her hands in it. Running her hands under the surface of the cool water, a ring slipped from her finger. Before she could rescue it, it was whisked downstream and out of sight. The poor girl cried out in dismay, then wept bitterly.
"Nay, now," her husband said, "truly a paltry ring is not worth so many tears. My dearest, when I go again to my father's kingdom I will buy you a dozen rings more beautiful than the one you lost! Dry your eyes and think no more about it."
"That ring," said the girl between her sobs, "is a magic one. Its loss will bring us both terrible trouble."
The ring was carried away for a long distance and finally washed ashore near the gardens of the Khan, the great ruler of the land. There some one found it. Seeing that it was a strange ring, perhaps from another land, he took it at once to the Khan himself. The monarch gazed long upon it. Then, calling his ministers about him, he said, "This trinket has magic power about it, of that I am sure. I believe that it belongs to a very beautiful woman, perhaps the daughter of a king. Take it, therefore, and wherever the ring leads you, follow. If its owner indeed proves to be a lovely damsel, as believe it does, take her prisoner and bring her at once to me, that she may be head over my household."
As soon as the Khan's advisor held the magic ring in his hand, he felt a strange power tugging at him. The ring seemed to draw him out of the palace gardens toward the bank of a stream, and then along the stream to the log hut in the woods. And so, in a very short time, the Khan's advisor and all his soldiers and servants were standing before the door of the little house where the prince's son and his new wife had been living so happily together, and were shouting at them to come out at once. The two dared not disobey, and so the damsel was quickly seized and taken away to the Khan's palace.