Upon these words, the Prince went on more cheerfully, especially when he saw a man come running down from the gate of the castle as they approached the drawbridge.
“Ay,” said his companion, stepping on without stopping a moment, “there comes my friend Courage to help us. He is a good, serviceable fellow.”
Just as he spoke, the two monsters sprang forward, and the one which was nearest to Perseverance growled terribly at him; but he struck him a blow with his pikestaff, which knocked him down and cowed him entirely; and there he lay, with all his hundred heads prostrated in a manner which the Prince could hardly have thought possible. The other brute sprang right at the Prince himself, as if to destroy him, so that he was inclined to draw back; but the man Courage, who had run down from the castle, put his foot upon the creature’s snaky neck, and crushed it into the earth.
“Go on, go on, young man!” he cried. “These are terrible monsters truly, but you see our friend Perseverance has vanquished Difficulty, and I have trampled upon Danger.”
As he spoke, the Prince passed on rapidly over the drawbridge; and when he stood under the gate of the castle, Perseverance took him by the hand with a smiling air, and led him in, saying: “Now I will conduct you to my lady, Success.”
At the very sound the poor Prince seemed quite refreshed, forgot all the weary way he had traveled, the dark forest of Adversity, the grim frown of Necessity, the faintness and the weariness, and hundred-headed Difficulty and Danger. But he was more rejoiced still when, on entering the building, he found himself suddenly, all at once, in the great hall of his own palace of Prosperity, with a beautiful lady, all smiles, standing ready to receive him with a crown in her hand.
“Come hither, Prince,” she said, “and receive this crown, which I never bestow on any but my greatest favorites. It is called the crown of Contentment. I reserve it for those who, led on by Perseverance, come to me by the Right Path, in spite of Difficulty and Danger. Those who arrive at my presence by any of the many other roads that are open to mankind I give over to the charge of some of my inferior attendants, such as Pride, Vanity, or Ambition, who amuse themselves by making them play all manner of strange tricks.”
Thus saying, she put the crown upon his head, and the Prince found the most delightful tranquil feeling spread through his whole body. Nevertheless, he could not help looking about almost instantly for the figure of the ugly little gray dwarf; and, as he could not see him anywhere, he said to the beautiful lady: “Where is that hideous, yawning Satiety? I hope he has left the palace.”
“He may be hanging about in some dark corners of the palace,” answered the lady, “or hiding among the roses in your garden of Pleasure; but he will never appear in your presence again, so long as you wear that crown upon your head; for there is a rich jewel called Moderation in the crown of Contentment which is too bright and pure to be looked upon by Satiety.”