At the end of an hour he had completed his task, and the old lady patted him on the shoulder, saying, “Well done; you are a very good young man. Now Industry will give you your breakfast, and help you on the way to a very nice place, where you will get all you desire.”
Thus saying, she led him into a great hall, where there was a vast number of people, all eating rich fruits, with a somewhat hard-favored dame, whom they called Labor, scattering sugar on the different dishes.
When the Prince heard her name, he asked one of the people near if that was really Labor, saying, “I passed through her land not long ago, and it seemed so poor and hard a country that I should have thought it produced nothing good.”
“That is a mistake,” said the other. “That is the land where grows the sugar-cane, and Labor always sweetens the food of Industry.”
As soon as his breakfast was over, the Prince was taken to another door, and shown a road which was very narrow at first, but seemed to grow wider and wider as it went on.
“You have nothing to do but to walk straight forward,” said Industry, “neither to turn to the right nor to the left. Keep yourself upright, so that you may have that distant mountain peak before your eyes, and don’t suffer yourself to grow faint or get tired. If you should have any doubt or difficulty, you will find some one on the road who will show you the way. But only remember always to keep straight forward, and don’t be tempted to turn aside.”
“What is the name of this road?” asked the Prince.
“It is called the ‘Right Path’” was the reply; and on he set upon his way with a stout heart. Nevertheless, he began to get somewhat tired before an hour was over, although the road was pleasant enough to walk in. There were beautiful green meadows on every side, and richly colored flowers, and what seemed very delicious fruit; and here and there, at a little distance, were pleasant groves, with a number of gay birds, singing very sweetly.
At the end of an hour and a half the Prince became hungry and thirsty again, as well as tired, and he said to himself, “There could be no great harm surely in going across that meadow and gathering some of that fruit, to eat under the shade of the trees, while the birds sing over my head. I do not know how far I have to go. I see no end to this long, straight road. I think I will try and rest for a little under those trees. I can easily find my way back again.”
But just at that moment, luckily for himself, the Prince spied a man trudging on before him, and he hurried after, saying to himself, “I will ask him how far I have to go, and whether I have time to stop.”
The man did not walk very fast, but he kept steadily on, with a great pikestaff in his hand; and though the Prince called after him as soon as he was within hearing, he did not halt for a moment, or even turn his head, but trudged onward, saying, “Come along, come along; one never gets to the end of one’s journey if one stops to chatter by the way.”