A KING was as soon as searching in a large wooden, and pursued his recreation so hotly that none of his courtiers might comply with him. However when evening approached he stopped, and searching round him perceived that he had misplaced himself. He sought a path out of the forest, however couldn’t discover one, and presently he saw an previous lady with a nodding head, who got here up to him. “My good woman,” stated he to her, “can you not show me the way out of the forest?”
“Oh, yes, my lord King,” she replied; “I can do that very well, but upon one condition, which if you do not fulfil, you will never again get out of the wood, but will die of hunger.”
“What, then, is this condition?” requested the King.
“I have a daughter,” stated the previous lady, “who is as beautiful as any one you can find in the whole world, and well deserves to be your bride. Now, if you will make her your Queen, I will show you your way out of the wood.” In the nervousness of his coronary heart, the King consented, and the previous lady led him to her cottage, where the daughter was sitting by the hearth. She acquired the King as if she had expected him, and he noticed directly that she was very lovely, but but she didn’t quite please him, for he could not take a look at her and not using a secret shuddering. Nevertheless, in any case he took the maiden upon his horse, and the previous lady confirmed him the best way, and the King arrived safely at his palace, where the wedding was to be celebrated.
The King had been married once earlier than, and had seven youngsters by his first spouse, six boys and a woman, whom he beloved above every thing else on the earth. He turned afraid, soon, that the stepmother won’t treat them very properly, and may even do them some nice damage, so he took them away to a lonely citadel which stood in the midst of a forest. This fort was so hidden, and the best way to it so troublesome to find, that he himself could not have found it if a clever lady had not given him a ball of cotton which had the fantastic property, when he threw it earlier than him, of unrolling itself and displaying him the appropriate path. The King went, nevertheless, so typically to see his pricey youngsters, that the Queen observed his absence, turned inquisitive, and wished to know what he went to fetch out of the forest. So she gave his servants a terrific amount of cash, they usually disclosed to her the secret, and in addition advised her of the ball of cotton which alone might present her the best way. She had now no peace till she found the place this ball was concealed, and then she made some fantastic silken shirts, and, as she had learnt of her mom, she sewed within every one a allure. Someday soon after, when the King was gone out searching, she took the little shirts and went into the forest, and the cotton showed her the path. The youngsters, seeing some one coming in the distance, thought it was their pricey father, and ran out in the direction of her filled with joy. Then she threw over every of them a shirt, which, as it touched their bodies, modified them into swans, which flew away over the forest. The Queen then went house quite contented and thought she was freed from her stepchildren; but the little woman had not met her with the brothers, and the Queen didn’t know of her.
The following day the King went to go to his youngsters, but he discovered solely the maiden. “Where are your brothers?” asked he. “Ah, dear father,” she replied, “they are gone away and have left me alone”; and she or he informed him how she had appeared out of the window and seen them turned into swans, which had flown over the forest; and then she confirmed him the feathers which that they had dropped within the courtyard, and which she had collected collectively. The King was a lot grieved, however he didn’t assume that his wife might have carried out this wicked deed, and, as he feared the woman may additionally be stolen away, he took her with him. She was, nevertheless, a lot afraid of the stepmother, that she begged him to not stop multiple night time within the fort.
The poor maiden thought to herself, “This is no longer my place, I will go and seek my brothers”; and when night time came she escaped and went fairly deep into the wooden. She walked all night time lengthy and nice part of the subsequent day, until she might go no farther from weariness. Simply then she noticed a impolite hut, and strolling in she found a room with six little beds, however she dared not get into one, but crept beneath, and, laying herself upon the exhausting earth, ready to cross the night time there. Simply as the sun was setting, she heard a rustling, and saw six white swans come flying in at the window. They settled on the ground and commenced blowing one another until that they had blown all their feathers off, and their swan’s down stripped off like a shirt. Then the maiden knew them directly for her brothers, and gladly crept out from beneath the mattress, and the brothers weren’t much less glad to see their sister, however their pleasure was of brief period. “Here you must not stay,” stated they to her; “this is a robbers’ hiding-place; if they should return and find you here, they will murder you.” “Can you not protect me, then?” inquired the sister.
“No,” they replied; “for we can only lay aside our swan’s feathers for a quarter of an hour each evening, and for that time we regain our human form, but afterwards we resume our changed appearance.”
Their sister then requested them with tears, “Can you not be restored again?”
“Oh, no,” replied they, “the conditions are too difficult. For six long years you must neither speak nor laugh, and during that time you must sew together for us six little shirts of star-flowers, and should there fall a single word from your lips, then all your labour will be vain.” Simply as the brother finished talking, the quarter of an hour elapsed, they usually all flew out of the window again like swans.
The little sister, nevertheless, made a solemn decision to rescue her brothers, or die in the attempt; and she or he left the cottage, and, penetrating deep into the forest, passed the night time amid the branches of a tree. The next morning she went out and picked up the star-flowers to sew collectively. She had nobody to converse with, and for laughing she had no spirits, so there up within the tree she sat, intent upon her work. After she had passed a while there it occurred that the King of that nation was searching within the forest, and his huntsmen came beneath the tree on which the maiden sat. They referred to as to her and asked, “Who art thou?” However she gave no answer. “Come down to us,” continued they: “we will do thee no harm.” She simply shook her head, and, once they pressed her further with questions, she threw right down to them her gold necklace, hoping therewith to satisfy them. They didn’t, nevertheless, depart her, and she or he threw down her girdle, however in useless; and even her wealthy gown didn’t make them desist. Finally the hunter himself climbed the tree and brought down the maiden, and took her earlier than the King. The King asked her, “Who art thou? What dost thou upon that tree?” However she didn’t answer; after which he requested her in all the languages that he knew, but she remained dumb to all as a fish. Since, nevertheless, she was so lovely, the King’s heart was touched, and he conceived for her a robust affection. Then he put around her his cloak, and, putting her earlier than him on his horse, took her to his citadel. There he ordered wealthy clothes to be made for her, and, although her magnificence shone as the sunbeams, not a phrase escaped her. The King positioned her by his aspect at desk, and there her dignified mien and manners so gained upon him, that he stated, “This maiden will I marry, and no other in the world”; and after some days he was united to her.
Now, the King had a depraved stepmother, who was discontented together with his marriage, and spoke evil of the younger Queen. “Who knows whence the wench comes?” stated she. “She who cannot speak is not worthy of a King.” A yr after, when the Queen brought her first-born into the world, the previous lady took him away. Then she went to the King and complained that the Queen was a murderess. The King, nevertheless, wouldn’t consider it, and suffered no one to do any damage to his spouse, who sat composedly stitching at her shirts and listening to nothing else. When a second baby was born, the false stepmother used the same deceit, however the King once more wouldn’t take heed to her phrases, but stated, “She is too pious and good to act so: could she but speak and defend herself, her innocence would come to light.” But when again, the third time, the previous lady stole away the kid, after which accused the Queen, who answered not a phrase to the accusation, the King was obliged to provide her up to be tried, and she or he was condemned to endure dying by hearth.
When the time had elapsed, and the sentence was to be carried out, it occurred that the very day had come spherical when her pricey brothers ought to be made free; the six shirts have been also prepared, all but the final, which but needed the left sleeve. As she was led to the scaffold, she positioned the shirts upon her arm, and simply as she had mounted it, and the hearth was about to be kindled, she seemed round, and noticed six swans come flying by way of the air. Her heart leapt for pleasure as she perceived her deliverers approaching, and soon the swans, flying in the direction of her, alighted so near that she was enabled to throw over them the shirts, and as quickly as she had so finished their feathers fell off and the brothers stood up alive and nicely; but the youngest needed his left arm, as an alternative of which he had a swan’s wing. They embraced and kissed each other, and the Queen, going to the King, who was thunderstruck, started to say, “Now may I speak, my dear husband, and prove to you that I am innocent and falsely accused”; after which she advised him how the wicked lady had stolen away and hidden her three youngsters. When she had concluded, the King was overcome with pleasure, and the wicked stepmother was led to the scaffold and sure to the stake and burnt to ashes.
The King and the Queen for ever after lived in peace and prosperity with their six brothers.