Dark as it all was, it at length began to grow darker, and he perceived that night was coming, so that the poor Prince began to give up all hope, and to think that there would be nothing for him but to lie down and die in despair, when suddenly he caught a sort of twinkling light through the thick bushes, which seemed to lie in the way he was going, and on he went, slowly enough, poor man! But still the light was before him, till suddenly he came to a great rock, overgrown in many places with briers and brambles. In the midst of it, however, was the mouth of a large cave, with great masses of stone hanging over, as if ready to fall on a traveler’s head. It was a very stern and gloomy looking place indeed, with clefts and crevices and ragged crags all around. But a few steps in the cave some one seemed to have built himself a house; for it was blocked up with large, unhewn boards of wood, and in this partition there was a door and a window, through which came the light he had seen. The Prince dismounted from his horse, and though he did not know who might be within, he thought it best to knock at the door, and ask for food and shelter.
The moment he knocked a loud, hoarse voice cried: “Come in!” and tying his horse to a tree, he opened the door.
Now, whatever the poor Prince had expected to find, he was certainly disappointed; for that thicket of Adversity is full of disappointments, as every one knows who has traveled through it. He had thought he should see some poor woodman or honest peasant, who would welcome him to his homely hut in the rock with kindness and benevolence; but instead of that he beheld, seated at the table, carving away at a piece of stick by the light of a very small twinkling candle, one of the most tremendous monsters ever man’s eyes lighted upon. In shape he was like a man, but he was a great deal stronger than any man. His face looked as if it were cast in iron, so hard and rigid were all the features; and there was an ever-lasting frown planted on his brow. His hands were long and sinewy, with terrible sharp claws upon them; and his feet were so large and heavy that they seemed as if they would crush anything they would set upon to pieces.
The poor Prince, though he was a very brave young man, stopped and hesitated at the sight of this giant; but the monster, without ever turning his head, cried out again: “Come in! Why do you pause? All men must obey me, and I am the only one that all men do obey.”
“You must be a mighty monarch, then,” said the young Prince, taking courage, “Pray, what is your name?”
“My name is Necessity,” answered the other in his thundering voice; “and some people give me bad names, and call me ‘Hard Necessity’ and ‘Dire Necessity;’ but, nevertheless, I often lead men to great things and teach them useful arts if they do but struggle with me valiantly.”
“Then I wish you would lead me to where I can get some rest,” said the Prince, “and teach me how I can procure food for myself and my poor famishing horse.”