Lad asked the Emperor for her hand, an agreement was quickly come to, and he also became betrothed.
However, with the Youngest Lad, it somehow seemed that his heart was not drawing him towards marriage. But he could not refuse to set out upon a search for a bride, for his father kept on bothering him to go. So the Youngest Lad also took some clothes, but only for the sake of peace, for people would talk about him did he not attire himself fittingly. He hardly took any money with him, and so he went away, too, you know— just like that.
But where was he to go? You see, he did not know. He went on, moving his feet lazily one after the other, just to be able to say that he was walking ; then, turning into a path that he came across, he went on and on along it, without realising where he was going or anything. When, suddenly, what do you think ? The path he was following led him right to a big, big Pool. On his way he had come across a wand of hazel-nut, and he had picked it up, just like that, for the love of an apple-blossom, without knowing what he was going to do with it.
And now he set himself down by the Pool, looking dreamily at it, and just to say that he was doing something, he splashed the water with his wand, and made fun of the water-drops which sprang up as he beat them. Then he began to think. He had noticed that round each drop which fell back into the water there appeared a circle, which became wider and wider, until it lost itself in the Pool from whence it sprang, and so faded away, till no trace of it could be seen, — not even the spot where the drop had fallen, not even the circle that had been around it, — everything was as quiet as before, and the surface of the water was as smooth as glass.
He was far away with his thoughts, staring in front of him, but seeing nothing, still splashing the water, but realising nothing. He no longer knew whether he was, or whether he was not. When, suddenly, out upon the surface of the water, there popped a Tor- toise, who gazed at him sweetly.
Wherever he splashed with his wand, there where the circles began to close upon its tip — zusht ! — out she popped, and looked at him, and couldn't take her eyes off him !