Now in the court-yard a great fire was kindled, and the king stood weeping at a window overlooking the court of the palace, for he still loved her dearly. He saw her brought forth and tied to the stake; the fire kindled, and the flames with their forked tongues were creeping towards her, when at the last moment the seven years were past, and suddenly a rustling noise of wings was heard in the air; twelve black ravens alighted on the earth and instantly assumed their own forms—they were the brothers of the queen.
They tore down the pile and extinguished the fire, set their sister free, and embraced her tenderly. The queen, who was now able to speak, told the king why she had been dumb and had never laughed.
The delight of the king was only equalled by his anger against the wicked witch, who was brought to justice and ordered to be thrown into a vat of oil full of poisonous snakes, where she died a dreadful death.
THE FAIR ONE WITH THE GOLDEN LOCKS
There was once a most beautiful and amiable princess who was called “The Fair One with Locks of Gold,” for her hair shone brighter than gold, and flowed in curls down to her feet, her head was always encircled by a wreath of beautiful flowers, and pearls and diamonds.
A handsome, rich, young prince, whose territories joined to hers, was deeply in love with the reports he heard of her, and sent to demand her in marriage. The ambassador sent with proposals was most sumptuously attired, and surrounded by lackeys on beautiful horses, as well as charged with every kind of compliment, from the anxious prince, who hoped he would bring the princess back with him; but whether it was that she was not that day in a good humour, or that she did not like the speeches made by the ambassador, I don’t know, but she returned thanks to his master for the honour he intended her, and said she had no inclination to marry. When the ambassador arrived at the king’s chief city, where he was expected with great impatience, the people were extremely afflicted to see him return without the Fair One with the Locks of Gold; and the king wept like a child. There was a youth at court whose beauty outshone the sun, the gracefulness of whose person was not to be equalled, and for his gracefulness and wit, he was called Avenant: the king loved him, and indeed every body except the envious. Avenant being one day in company with some persons, inconsiderately said, “If the king had sent me to the Fair One with Locks of Gold, I dare say I could have prevailed on her to return with me.” These enviers of Avenant’s prosperity immediately ran open mouthed to the king, saying, “Sir sir, what does your majesty think Avenant says? He boasts that if you had sent him to the Fair One with the Golden Hair, he could have brought her with him; which shows he is so vain as to think himself handsomer than your