Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/78

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must marry the negro, for he had brought the heads of the snake as a proof that he had killed the beast.

Preparations for the marriage were accordingly begun and proceeded without interruption, though the king was sorely troubled, and the princess was in tears; and the man that had really destroyed the snake wandered through the hills with other huntsmen, ignorant of what was passing in the Court.

At last some huntsmen joined a party, who began talking of the news how the king's daughter was about to marry the negro.

"What a pity," said they, "that such a lovely girl should have to marry that fellow."

"Why, what marriage is this?" asked the man with the dogs.

"Do you not know that the negro that killed the snake with the seven heads has claimed the princess's hand as his reward, according to the king's promise? The poor girl maintains that the negro is a cheat, and is not the man that killed the snake; and she is praying all day to Saint Antony that the right man may be found."

On hearing this, the man who had the three dogs made no reply, but went the next morning to the palace. He asked to see the king; but his majesty, with his thoughts full of his daughter's unfortunate marriage, refused to see anybody. The man, however, repeated his request, begging that if the king still