Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/310

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300 Collectanea.

On the following day, all Three Lads went flying each to his betrothed. But when the Youngest Lad parted from his father :

" You see. Father," he said, " till my Bride comes — wait ! And then you shall know how beautiful she is ! "

So the Emperor gave a holiday to his people, and had the castle and the city beautifully decorated to receive his future daughters-in-law. The people were walking about in their best clothes, the soldiers were wearing their parade uniforms, — why, even the children were rejoicing over the Old Emperor's happiness !

Then the Emperor's two Eldest Lads came home with their future brides. Quite true, the two Girls were very beautiful, and their dresses seemed to be moulded upon their lovely figures. Each of them brought a valuable dowry, and many slaves, horses and carriages ; and the Emperor welcomed them as Emperors' daughters should be welcomed.

As they were all assembled there, they went back to the subject of their youngest brother's Tortoise, and they all began to talk about him, rather jestfuUy and so-so, I should say.

The Emperor could not hide his grief, for the Youngest Lad was his son, as much as the others, and his heart ached that he should be made a joke of.

In the meantime, the Youngest Lad had gone off to fetch his Bride from the Pool. When he reached the Pool, the Tortoise came out of it, tumbled three times head over heels, and there she was — a Maiden again. They talked for some time, and then the Lad asked her to get herself ready to come to his father's castle. So then she said :

" My Sweetheart, I want you to know that I also am the daughter of a mighty and wealthy Emperor, one more mighty than you know. But some accursed witches buried our castle under this Pool, our Kingdom was stolen by enemies, whilst I was made as you have seen me."

Her words were sweet as honey, and her voice so bewitching that it softened your heart ; somehow, she made the Lad quite believe her. However, he said quickly :

" Leave all this alone now, My Love. I have chosen you, and you are mine, let the World say what it may ! Come, they are waiting for us."