Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/313

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303
Collectanea.

"and if you don't drive her away from home, not even dust will stick to you."

The Emperor realised that the Star-reader's words were true, for only since his daughter's birth had things gone wrong with him. He did not know what to do to save his twelve sons from ruin!

It was painful for the poor Emperor, for, after all, this daughter was his child. You see, he would have liked to keep all his children and not lose any of them. But in the end, he followed the Star-reader's advice; for it was better to lose one child and save twelve, than to have all his children become the mockery of the world.

Poor Emperor and poor Empress! They struggled with themselves, for how could they do such a thing? At last, however, hastened by the many misfortunes which still poured unmercifully down upon them, they had to give way and follow the Star-reader's counsel; and so they decided to sacrifice one child instead of thirteen.

So the Emperor called for his Faithful Servant, and whispered to him to take the Princess into the woods hunting, for she said she liked hunting. Once in the midst of the woods he was to leave her there, but all this, of course, without rousing her suspicions.

The Emperor thought his kidneys would burst from the pain he felt at the idea of destroying his child; while the Empress felt bitter to the marrow of her soul as she filled a basket with food for her beloved daughter. So, as she filled the basket, she slipped her few remaining jewels into it.

When the cart was ready with the basket of food and a jug of water, they got into it,—I mean the Emperor's daughter and the Faithful Servant,—and they started, and soon they came to a big wood. Those they had left behind—that is to say the Emperor, the Empress and their twelve boys,—lamented and wept bitterly.

When the Girl and the Faithful Servant came to that big wood, they stopped, put the cart aside, and taking with them the basket and the jug of water, they went into the wood in search of game.

Then the Girl, while resting on a knoll, thought she would like to get herself some flowers, and so she went further into the wood to pick them; and so she wandered on, dreaming the day away. In the meantime, the Faithful Servant went through the wood in