Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/323

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Collectanea. 3 1 3

The news went all through the country, and filled the people's faithful hearts with joy.

However, before the time had come for the child to be born, it began to cry, and it cried and cried so bitterly that nobody and nothing could stop it. The Emperor then began to promise the child all the Beauties of the World, but the child still went on crying.

"Don't cry, My Son," said the Emperor, "for I will give you the most beautiful wife in the world." And so he went on, promising all and everything till at last, when he saw that nothing and nothing was of any use :

" Don't cry. My Son, " he said again, " for I will give you Youth free from Age, and Life free from Death."

Then the child stopped crying and came into the world.

The Child grew fast, and the more he grew, the bolder and the cleverer he became, and things that would have taken one year for another child to learn, only took him one month, so that the Emperor his father was dying and then coming to life again, from sheer joy. Also the whole of his Kingdom rejoiced greatly at the thought that their future Emperor would be as wise and clever as the Emperor Solomon. But as the boy grew older, he became more sad and more thoughtful, and one fine day he went to the Emperor and said :

" Father, the time has come for you to give me that which you promised to me before my birth."

The Emperor was greatly saddened at this.

" But, My Son," he said, " how can I give you a thing that was never heard of? If I promised it to you, it was only to pacify you."

"If you can't give it to me. Father," said the Boy, "I shall have to go myself in search of that for which I came into the World."

Then the Emperor and the people begged him not to leave them, for his father, being old, they would soon be without any Emperor at all ; and they promised to give him the most beautiful wife that ever lived under the sun, but nothing would induce him to stay, nothing would make him change his mind, and he was as steady and hard in his decision as a rock.