Then the lad again made answer:
"In my home I have that title."
"Come, young hero, and assist me,
And I'll be thy heart's belovèd."
Quickly kissed he then the maiden
Ere he loosed her from her fetters,
Then went homeward with his bride.
W. F. H.
Thus runs a Servian ballad, and innumerable analogues to it are to be found in the folk-lore of other countries, in ballads as well as tales. It is, you know, for a kiss from the princess's lovely mouth that the swine-herd sells his wonderful pan.
But women are aware, too, of the witchery that dwells on their lips, and the power that lies in their kiss. According to a remarkable saga which forms the subject of one of Heine's poems, King Harald Hårfager sits at the bottom of the sea in captivity to a mermaid. The king's head is reposing on her bosom; but, suddenly, a violent tremor thrills him, he hears the Viking shouts which reach him from above, he starts from his dream of love and groans and sighs:
And then the King from the depth of his heart
Begins sobbing, and wailing, and sighing,
When quickly the water-fay over him bends,
With loving kisses replying.