King's son wins the heart of a king's daughter, who is able to solve all mysteries - including his. But he gets on her track. How?
Once upon a time there was a king's son who felt like wandering around the world and took no one with him but a faithful servant. One day he got into a large forest, and when evening came, he could not find an inn and did not know where to spend the night. Then he saw a girl walking towards a small cottage, and when he came closer, he saw that the girl was young and beautiful. He approached her and said "dear child, can I and my servant find lodging in that little house for the night?" "Oh yes," said the girl in a sad voice, "I suppose you can, but I do not advise you to do so; do not go in." "Why should I not?" asked the king's son. The girl sighed and said, "My stepmother is up to evil arts; she does not mean well to strangers." Then he realized that he had come to the house of a witch, but because it was getting dark and he could not go any further, nor was he afraid, he entered. The old woman was sitting on an armchair by the fire, looking at the strangers with her red eyes. "Good evening," she crooned, acting all friendly, "settle down and rest." She blew on the coals, by which she was cooking something in a small pot. The daughter warned them to be careful not to eat or drink anything, for the old woman was brewing evil drinks. They slept quietly until early morning. When they were getting ready to leave and the king's son was already on horseback, the old woman said "wait, just a moment, I will give you a farewell potion first." While she fetched it, the king's son rode away, and the servant, who had to fasten his saddle tightly, was alone still present when the wicked witch came with the potion. "Bring this to your master" she said, but at that moment the glass cracked and the poison splashed onto the horse, and was so violent that the animal immediately fell down dead. The servant ran after his master and told him what had happened, but did not want to abandon the saddle and ran back to get it. But when he came to the dead horse, a raven was already sitting on it and eating away. "Who knows if we will find something better today," said the servant, killing the raven and taking it with him. Now they went on in the forest all day, but could not get out. At nightfall they found an inn and went inside. The servant gave the raven to the innkeeper to prepare for dinner. But they had fallen into a pit of murderers, and in the darkness twelve murderers came to kill and rob the strangers. But before they set to work, they sat down at table, and the innkeeper and the witch sat down with them, and together they ate a bowl of soup into which the flesh of the raven had been chopped. But no sooner had they swallowed a few mouthfuls than they all fell down dead, for the poison from the horse's flesh had communicated itself to the raven. There was now no one left in the house but the innkeeper's daughter, who meant well and had taken no part in the ungodly things. She opened all the doors to the stranger and showed him the accumulated treasures. But the king's son said she wanted to keep everything, he wanted nothing of it and rode on with his servant.
After they had wandered around for a long time, they came to a town in which there was a beautiful but high-spirited king's daughter who had announced that whoever presented her with a riddle that she could not guess would become her husband: but if she guessed it, he would have to have his head cut off. She had three days to think it over, but she was so clever that she always guessed the riddles before the appointed time. Nine had already perished in this way, when the king's son arrived and, blinded by her great beauty, wanted to stake his life on it. Then he came before her and gave her his riddle, "what is this," he said, "one struck none and yet struck twelve." She did not know what it was, she pondered and pondered, but she could not figure it out: she opened her riddle books, but it was not in them: in short, her wisdom was at an end. Not knowing how to help herself, she ordered her maid to sneak into the master's bedchamber, where she was to listen to his dreams, thinking he might talk in his sleep and reveal the riddle. But the clever servant had gone to bed instead of the master, and when the maid approached, he tore off the cloak she had wrapped herself in and chased her out with rods. The second night the king's daughter sent her maid to see if she was better at listening, but the servant also took her cloak away and chased her out with ruths. Now the lord thought he was safe for the third night and lay down in his bed, when the king's daughter herself came, had put on a misty gray cloak and sat down next to him. And when she thought he was asleep and dreaming, she spoke to him, hoping he would answer in his dreams, as many do: but he was awake of mind, and heard all very well. Then she asked "one did not beat one, what is that?" He answered, "a raven that ate of a dead and poisoned horse and died of it." Further she asked "and yet struck twelve, what is that?" "That is twelve murderers who consumed the raven and died from it." When she knew the riddle, she wanted to sneak away, but he held her coat so that she had to leave it behind. The next morning the king's daughter announced that she had guessed the riddle and sent for the twelve judges and solved it before them. But the youth begged to be heard, and said "she crept up to me in the night and questioned me, for otherwise she would not have guessed it." The judges said "bring us a landmark." Then the three cloaks were brought by the servant, and when the judges saw the misty gray one that the king's daughter used to wear, they said "let the cloak be embroidered with gold and silver, so it will be your wedding cloak."