In the meantime the loving sister was terribly alarmed at finding the stag’s foot wounded and bleeding. She quickly washed off the blood, and, after bathing the wound, placed healing herbs on it, and said, “Lie down on your bed, dear fawn, and the wound will soon heal, if you rest your foot.”
In the morning the wound was so much better that the fawn felt the foot almost as strong as ever, and so, when he again heard the holloa of the hunters, he could not rest. “Oh, dear sister, I must go once more; it will be easy for me to avoid the hunters now, and my foot feels quite well; they will not hunt me unless they see me running, and I don’t mean to do that.”
But his sister wept, and begged him not to go: “If they kill you, dear fawn, I shall be here alone in the forest, forsaken by the whole world.”
“And I shall die of grief,” he said, “if I remain here listening to the hunter’s horn.”
So at length his sister, with a heavy heart, set him free, and he bounded away joyfully into the forest.
As soon as the king caught sight of him, he said to the huntsmen, “Follow that stag about, but don’t hurt him.” So they hunted him all day, but at the approach of sunset the king said to the hunter who had followed the fawn the day before, “Come and show me the little cottage.”
So they went together, and when the king saw it he sent his companion home, and went on alone so quickly that he arrived there before the fawn; and, going up to the little door, knocked and said softly, “Dear little sister, let me in.”
As the door opened, the king stepped in, and in great astonishment saw a maiden more beautiful than he had ever seen in his life standing before him. But how frightened she felt to see instead of her dear little fawn a noble gentleman walk in with a gold crown on his head.
However, he appeared very friendly, and after a little talk he held out his hand to her, and said, “Wilt thou go with me to my castle and be my dear wife?”
“Ah yes,” replied the maiden, “I would willingly; but I cannot leave my dear fawn: he must go with me wherever I am.”
“He shall remain with you as long as you live,” replied the king, “and I will never ask you to forsake him.”
While they were talking, the fawn came bounding in, looking quite well and happy. Then his sister fastened the string of rushes to his collar, took it in her hand, and led him away from the cottage in the wood to where the king’s beautiful horse waited for him.
The king placed the maiden before him on his horse and rode away to his castle, the fawn following by their side. Soon after, their marriage was celebrated with great splendour, and the fawn was taken the greatest care of, and played where he pleased, or roamed about the castle grounds in happiness and safety.
In the meantime the wicked stepmother, who had caused these two young people such misery, supposed that the sister had been devoured by wild beasts, and that the fawn had been hunted to death. Therefore when she heard of their happiness, such envy and malice arose in her heart that she could find no rest till she had tried to destroy it.