Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/391

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Collectanea. 355

and the youngest maiden gives him a magic ring. They visit the stables, and there he sees three magnificent steeds in separate stalls ; one black, one red, and one white. He pulls out a hair from each, and puts them into his cap (for safe keeping). Then they go to the mouth of the cavern, and call to his brothers. He fastens the two older maidens and their two bundles to the rope, and shouts, — " Draw these up, brothers. The older one of the maidens is for the eldest of you, and the other for my second brother. They bring their dowry with them."

Then he sends up the youngest maiden's dowry, but, when her turn comes, she says, — " Go you first."

" No," replied the Prince, " you shall go first."

" But," says the maiden, " when they see me they will not draw you out. You will remain in the cavern to perish."

" What," cried the Prince, " are they not my brothers ? "

" You know best," the maiden replies, " but, if you do remain, on Friday night three rams will come hither ; one black, one red, and one white. You must leap upon the back of the black ram. He will leap upon the red one, and that upon the white one, which will leap with you into the Land of Light. Remember also that the ring which I gave you is a talisman. It will bring you whatever you ask or wish for. And if you cast the hair of any one of the steeds into the fire, that one will come to you. Now farewell."

Then the brothers draw up the youngest maiden, and they are filled with amazement at her beauty and loveliness. "Behold, behold, behold ! " they exclaim. " He keeps the most beautiful one for himself, and gives us the others ! " Their hearts are filled with envy. So they leave their poor brother in the cavern, and depart with the treasure and the maidens.

On Friday night the three rams come, and the Prince in his haste throws himself upon the white ram. This leaps upon the red one, and that upon the black one. And the black one leaps with him into the Land of Darkness. There the Prince gropes about till he finds a door. He knocks, and an old woman comes to open it, and asks, — " Who is it ? "

The Prince replies, — " I am a fatherless, motherless orphan, mother mine."