The King's Son Who Feared Nothing
The king's son fetches the apple from the tree of life for a giant. Thereby he finds a lion and a ring - these become still important for him
Once upon a time there was a king's son who didn't like being at home in his father's house anymore, and because he wasn't afraid of anything, he thought, "I want to go out into the wide world, then I'll have time and It won't be long, and I'll see wondrous things enough." So he said goodbye to his parents and went away, always closer, from morning to evening, and it didn't matter to him where the path led him. It so happened that He came to a giant's house, and because he was tired, he sat down in front of the door and rested, and as he let his eyes wander to and fro, he saw a toy lying in the giant's yard: it was a couple of mighty balls and pins as big as a man. After a while he got excited, set up the pins and pushed the balls at them, shouted and shouted when the pins fell, and was in good spirits. The giant heard the noise, stretched his head to the window out and saw a man not taller than others, and played with his skittles. "Worm," he cried, "why are you bowling with my skittles? Who gave you the strength to do this?” The king's son looked up, looked at the giant and said, “o you block, you think you alone have strong arms? I can do anything I feel like doing." The giant came down, looked at the bowling in amazement and said, "Oh my gosh, if you're like that, go and get me an apple from the tree of life." "What do you want with it?” said the king's son. 'I don't want the apple for myself,' answered the giant, 'but I have a bride who desires it; I have traveled far and wide in the world and cannot find the tree." "I want to find it," said the king's son, "and I don't know what is to stop me from getting the apple down." The giant said, "You do you think it would be that easy? the garden in which the tree stands is surrounded by an iron fence, and in front of the fence lie wild animals, one after the other, keeping watch and not letting anyone in.” “They'll let me in,” said the king's son. "Yes, even if you get into the garden and see the apple hanging on the tree, it's not yours yet: there's a ring hanging in front of it, through which someone has to put his hand if he wants to reach the apple and break it off, and that no one has ever succeeded." "I shall succeed," said the king's son.
Then he said goodbye to the giant, walked away over mountains and valleys, through fields and forests, until he finally found the miracle garden. The animals lay about, but they had bowed their heads and were asleep. Nor did they wake up when he approached, but he stepped over them, climbed over the trellis and came happily into the garden. There stood the tree of life in the middle, and the red apples shone on the branches. He climbed up the trunk, and as he was about to reach for an apple, he saw a ring hanging in front of it, but he easily put his hand through it and snapped the apple. The ring closed tightly on his arm and he suddenly felt a tremendous power rush through his veins. When he had climbed back down from the tree with the apple, he didn't want to climb over the trellis, but grabbed the big door and only had to shake it once, and it sprang open with a crash. So he went out, and the lion that had been lying in front of him woke up and sprang after him, but not in anger and ferocity, but followed him humbly as his lord.
The king's son brought the promised apple to the giant and said, "You see, I got it without any trouble." The giant was glad that his wish was fulfilled so soon, hurried to his bride and gave her the apple she had asked for. It was a beautiful and clever maiden, and as she did not see the ring on his arm, she said, "I do not believe that you have fetched the apple until I see the ring on your arm." The giant said, "I need just go home and get him" and said it would be easy to take away from the weak person by force what he did not want to give willingly. So he demanded the ring from him, but the king's son refused. "Where the apple is, the ring must also be," said the giant, "if you do not give it willingly, you must fight with me for it."
They wrestled with each other for a long time, but the giant could not harm the king's son, who was strengthened by the magical power of the ring. Then the giant thought of a trick and said, "I got warm from the fight, and you too, let's bathe in the river and cool off before we start again." The king's son, who knew nothing of falsehood, went with him the water, took off his ring with his clothes and jumped into the river. Immediately the giant grabbed the ring and ran away with it, but the lion, noticing the theft, pursued the giant, snatched the ring from his hand, and brought it back to its master. Then the giant stood behind an oak tree, and when the king's son was busy putting his clothes back on, he attacked him and put out both his eyes.
Now the poor king's son stood there, blind and unable to help himself. Then the giant came again, took him by the hand like someone who wanted to guide him, and led him to the top of a high rock. Then he left him and thought, "Just a few more steps and he'll fall dead and I can take his ring off." But the faithful lion had not left his master, held him by the dress and gradually pulled him back return. When the giant came and wanted to rob the dead man, he saw that his ruse had been in vain. "Is such a weak human child not to be destroyed?" he said angrily to himself, seized the king's son and led him another way to the abyss: but the lion, noticing the bad intentions, helped his master here too the danger. When they came near the edge, the giant let go of the blind man's hand and was about to leave him alone, but the lion pushed the giant so that he fell down and fell to the ground, broken in pieces.
The faithful beast drew his master back from the abyss and led him to a tree by which a clear stream flowed. The king's son sat down there, but the lion lay down and splashed water on his face with his paw. Scarcely had a few droplets wet the eye sockets when he was able to see something again and noticed a little bird that flew very close by, but struck a tree trunk: it then lowered itself into the water and bathed in it, then it flew up, walked between the trees without bumping into each other, as if it had regained its face. Then the king's son recognized God's sign, bent down to the water and washed and bathed his face in it. And when he straightened up, his eyes were bright and clear again as they had never been.
The king's son thanked God for the great grace and continued to roam the world with his lion. Now it so happened that he came before a castle that was cursed. In the gate stood a beautiful maiden with a delicate face, but she was all black. She spoke to him and said, "Oh, could you redeem me from the evil magic that has been cast over me." "What should I do?" said the king's son. The maiden replied, "You must spend three nights in the great hall of the cursed castle, but no fear must come into your heart. If they torment you the worst and you endure it without making a sound, then I am saved; they must not take your life.” Then the king's son said, “I am not afraid, I will try God's help.” So he went happily into the castle, and when it got dark he sat down in the great hall and waited. But it was quiet until midnight, when suddenly there was a great noise, and little devils came from every nook and cranny. They pretended not to see him, sat down in the middle of the room, lit a fire, and began to play. If someone lost, he said, "It's not right, there's someone there who doesn't belong to us, it's his fault that I'm losing." "Wait, I'm coming, you behind the stove," said another. The screaming grew louder and louder, so that no one could have listened to it without fear. The king's son sat quietly and was not afraid, but finally the devils sprang up from the ground and fell on him, and there were so many that he could not resist them. They dragged him around on the floor, pinching, stabbing, hitting and tormenting him, but he made no sound. Toward morning they disappeared, and he was so exhausted that he could scarcely move his limbs; but when day broke, the black maiden came in to him. She carried in her hand a small bottle containing the water of life, with which she washed him, and immediately he felt all pain disappear and fresh strength enter his veins. She said, "You lasted one night happily, but you have two more to come." Then she went away again, and as he was leaving he noticed that her feet had turned white. The following night the devils came and began their game again: they fell on the king's son and hit him much harder than the night before, so that his body was full of wounds. But since he endured everything quietly, they had to let him go, and when dawn broke, the maiden appeared and healed him with the water of life. And when she went away, he was pleased to see that she was already white to the tips of her fingers. Now he only had one more night to endure, but it was the worst. The devil's spook came again: "Are you still there?" they cried, "You shall be tormented until you catch your breath." They stabbed and hit him, threw him back and forth and pulled his arms and legs as if they wanted to tear him apart: but he endured everything and did not utter a sound. At last the devils disappeared, but he lay there unconscious and did not move: neither could he lift his eyes to see the Virgin coming in and showering and dousing him with the water of life. But suddenly he was relieved of all pain and felt fresh and healthy, as if he had awakened from a sleep, and when he opened his eyes he saw the maiden standing next to him, she was snow-white and beautiful as broad daylight. "Get up," she said, "and swing your sword three times over the stairs, and all is redeemed." And when he had done this, the whole castle was freed from the spell, and the maiden was a rich king's daughter. The servants came and said the table in the great hall had already been prepared and the dishes served. So they sat down, ate and drank together, and in the evening the wedding was celebrated with great joy.