Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/407

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Collectanea. 397

and so many others, that the thickest boots were worn through with so much fiery dancing.

They danced and danced until dawn, when the music suddenly stopped, and through the floor came a table, piled high with the best dishes in the world. They all sat at the table and eat and drank and rejoiced. The Lad's mouth watered, but he couldn't touch anything. Arabs handed round the dishes, and they were most beautifully dressed.

When they got up from table, the princesses went home the same way. The Lad followed them as close as the Devil follows the Monk,

When they came to the silver-leaved forest, what flashed into the Lad's mind but to break a tiny branch from a tree ! A shudder passed through the whole forest, and the trees roared as though a storm had burst upon their leaves; however, not a single leaf trembled, not even as if moved by the faintest breeze.

The twelve sisters started.

" What can this be ? "

"What should it be?" answered the eldest one, "Perhaps the bird that has its nest up on the tower of our father's church, has just flown through the leaves ; for that bird alone, can get through here."

So the princesses went on, and up through the floor, and so went back into the room they had been locked up in.

Next day, our Lad cleverly hid the little silver branch that he had broken off in the silver forest, in the Youngest Princesses flower-bunch.

The Young Princess looked thoughtfully at the Lad, and she began to wonder how that silver branch had come to be amongst her flowers.

On the second night, the same thing happened ; the Lad, unseen by anyone, followed them closely again, only this time, he broke a tiny branch from the golden forest. The shudder went through the forest again, but the eldest princess calmed her sisters with her words.

When, next morning, the Youngest Princess found the golden branch amongst her flowers, a red-hot iron went through her heart. During that day, pretending that she just wished to have a walk