There was once awho great power and was very rich. One day a little old came to his court. This old clear blue eyes. People said that he had the power to read the lives of men in the stars.
The King said to him: “Tell me something about myself.”
The old man said: “When you die no one from your own family will beafter you. The man who will follow you is not yet born.”
The King was not pleased to hear this; he ordered the old man to leave his court and not come back.
The King often thought about what he had heard. After a time he married a beautiful lady and forgot the old man. Everyone was happy when the King married. They all hoped that he would have a son who would be a good king.
One day the King rode into the forest with some friends to shoot animals. They saw a fine large animal, and they all rode after it. The King had the best horse; so he rode faster than the others. He soon left the others behind him. When night came, the King found himself alone in the forest. He had not shot the animal. He did not know where he was or how to find a way out of the forest. He said to himself, “I am quite lost. I do not know where to go. It is now quite dark. I must sleep here in the forest. Tomorrow, when the sun rises, I shall find my way out of the for est.”
The King began to make a bed of grass and leaves. But before lying down to sleep, he looked this way and that way. Then he saw a little light: it was the light of a lamp in a window. He mounted his horse and rode to the light. When he came near he found that the light was in a poor man’s hut. He shouted. A big man, in poor clothes, opened the door.
You cannot come in here,” said the man. “My wife is very ill. I fear that she may die. Look, there is another hut. Go there to sleep. I will bring you something to eat and to drink.”
During the night a loud cry awoke the King. He went out of the hut and looked around, but could see nothing. Then he went back and slept again. In his sleep he saw the old man with the clear blue eyes standing in front of him.
The old man said to the King, “Remember the poor man’s child. He will become king in your place.”
The King awoke when morning came. He went out to the poor man’s hut. Inside the hut he found the man weeping. He was looking at the dead body of his wife who had died. At her side there was a little child that had been born in the night. The child was alive. The King looked at the poor man and he looked at the little child.
While the King was looking at this sad sight, he heard noises outside the hut. He heard-the voices of his friends. He went outside. The men were very pleased to see that their king was safe. They came riding up to the door of the hut.
The King said to them, ” This poor man has helped me, so we must help him. His wife has died. We must give him some gold and we must take the little child with us. Our ladies will take care of the child. He shall live with us.”
Then the poor man knew that this was the King.
“O King,” he said. “Do as you wish. I myself cannot take care of my son, because his mother is dead.”
The King said to one of his servants named William, “William, give the man this gold and bring the child with you.”
William gave the man the gold pieces. Then he found a small box and put some dried grass in it. He put the child in the box and put some more dried grass over him; this was the only covering which the child had.
The King mounted his horse. He said to William, “Ride near me and hear what I am going to say.
As they were riding away from the hut, the King told William what he had seen and heard in his sleep. He said, “The old man said that this child will be- come king after me. I do not want him to become king. I want you to throw the child in the river.”
William said, “If God wishes the child to become king, he will be saved even if we try to kill him.”
“Do not be foolish,” said the King. “Throw the box upside down into the river. Stay behind and do what I say.”
The King rode away, leaving William behind. William threw the box into the river. The King heard the box fall into the water. He looked behind. He saw the box on the top of the water. But it was not upside down. The child was crying. The water was carrying the box quickly away.
When the King reached his home, a servant met him with a happy face. He told the King what had happened while he was away in the forest. A child, a girl, had been born to the queen. The King was very glad. He gave the servant money and did not think about the poor man’s child.
Fourteen years passed. One morning the King went alone into the forest to shoot animals. There he saw a man and a boy cutting wood. The boy was fair and had blue eyes. The man was dark and had dark eyes.
“Who is that boy?” asked the King.
“O King, he is me son.”
“He is not like you at all,” said the King. “Go and bring your wife here. I want to see whether he is like her.”
“I will bring my wife, 0 King, if you wish. But he is not like her. We call him our son because he has always lived with us. But he is not really our son. We found him fourteen years ago. We saved his life. We do not know whether his father and mother are alive.”
The King looked carefully at the young man. Fear filled his heart. The man went away. When he came back his wife was with him. She was carrying a small box in her arms.
The man turned to his wife. “Speak, wife,” he said, “and tell the King your story.”
“My story is quite short. One day, fourteen years ago, I was riding on my donkey along the bank of the river. I heard a cry. It was like the cry of a very young child. I looked down into the long grass growing by the bank. There, in the long grass, I saw a box. And in that box there was a little child crying. I got off my donkey, took up the box and carried him home. We were very glad, because we had no children. We gave him the name of Robert. This is the box in which I found him. We love him and he loves us.”
When the King saw the box, he knew that he had seen it before. It was the box which William had thrown into the river. And he also knew that the boy was the child whom he had tried to kill.
The King gave the man and his wife some money. Then he rode away with fear in his heart. When he reached home, he called for William, who was still one of his servants. He talked quietly to William for a long time. He sent William with a letter to the poor man. William mounted his horse and rode into the forest.
In the forest William found a boy who was trying to catch fish in the river. The boy looked up when he heard William coming. William said to himself, “I am sure this is the boy who is born to be king.” Then to the boy he said, “Where is the man whom the King met yesterday?”
“He is my father. Follow me, and I will lead you to him.”
When they came to the house, Robert called his father. His father looked at William and knew by his fine clothes that he had come from the King.
“Read this letter,” said William. “It is from the King.”
“I cannot read, but Robert can,” answered the man.
Robert read the letter. The letter ordered Robert to come to the King. The King wished to take care of him and send him to a good school.
“We must do as the King orders,” said the man sadly. “But Robert is happy enough here.”
“I am very happy here,” said Robert. “No one ever had such a kind father and mother. I do not want to go.”
William said, “You must come. Here you have the life of a poor man. Do you not want to become learned and a great man? Come with me.”
The poor man said, “Yes, you must go with him. But I know that you will always remember us. Perhaps you will come and visit us sometimes.”
“Yes,” said his wife; ‘try to visit us when you can.” She threw her arms around him and kissed him.
” You must come now,” said William. He led Robert to his horse, mounted it and told Robert to get up on the horse behind him. Then they rode away.
Robert was very sad to leave the kind people who had been like a father and mother to him all his life. For a time he felt very unhappy. But he was young, the sun was warm, and the birds were singing in the trees. He soon began to feel happy again.
After a time, William said to him, “Get off the horse. It is too tired to carry both of us.”
So Robert got off the horse and walked beside it. They went through the forest for a long time, and Robert became very tired. He wanted to rest.
William stopped the horse and got off. They both sat down under a tree. After a time Robert lay down and fell asleep. Then William took a large stone and hit him with it on the head. Then he heard a noise: some travellers were coming. Filled with fear, he stood up, jumped on the horse, and rode away, thinking that he had killed Robert.
When he reached the King, he said, “The boy is dead. He will never become king.”
Six years passed. The King hoped that a son would be born to the Queen. But no more children were born. His daughter grew into a beautiful young woman. She was as kind as she was beautiful, and all the people loved her.
When the Princess was eighteen years old, her mother, the Queen, died. The King and his daughter were very sad at this. The Princess was so sad that she became ill.
Her father said to her, “Dora, my daughter, you seem to be ill. I am going to send you to ‘The House of the Rose’ in the country, where the good air and the quiet life will make you better.”
The King said, ” Stay in ‘ The House of the Rose’ until I come. Perhaps I shall bring a prince for you to marry.”
Princess Dora went away to ‘The House of the Rose’ in the country with her servant Mary. She was happy to go, but she did not want to marry a man whom she had never seen. But she knew that she must do as her father wished. She hoped that her father would bring someone who would be young, kind, and good-looking. The king travelled to another country to look for someone to marry his daughter. The ruler of that country had a fine army. One of the officers of that army was a fine-looking young man with fair hair and blue eyes. When the King saw him, he thought that he knew him.
“Who are you, and where do you come from?” he asked the young man. “I think that I know your face.”
.My name is Robert,” said the young man. “And that is all I know about myself. Six years ago I was brought to this country. Some travellers brought me. They had found me in a forest, nearly dead. Someone had tried to kill me. He had hurt my head very badly. That is why I do not remember anything about myself. I only know my name.”
The King was then sure that the young man was the boy whom he had ordered William to kill. He asked the ruler of the country for the young man. When he went away to his own country he took Robert with him.
One day the King sent for Robert.
“Go to ‘The House of the Rose’,” he said, “and take this letter. Give it to the Captain of my soldiers who are there. Be careful! Give it only to the Captain. Then do what he tells you to do.”
Robert mounted his horse and rode through the fields to ‘The House of the Rose’. There was a big garden in front of the house. By the door of the gar- den a soldier was standing.
When he saw Robert he said, “Who are you and what do you want?”
“I have a letter from the King,” said Robert. “I must give it to the Captain.”
“The Captain is eating now, and you must wait,” said the soldier. ” But you look tired. Leave your horse here. You may go into the garden and sit down. I will call you when the Captain comes.”
Robert went into the garden. It was a quiet, beautiful place, full of flowers and fine trees. There were some red fishes swimming in some water. Robert looked at them for a time. Then, feeling tired, he sat down under a tree. He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
A short time later, Princess Dora and Mary came into the garden. They walked on the soft, green grass for a time. Then the Princess sat down to rest while Mary walked about by herself She came near to the place where Robert was sleeping. When she saw him, she stopped and looked at him carefully. She had never seen such a fine-looking young man.
“This is the man whom the Princess should marry,” she said. She then went quickly back to where the Princess was standing.
“I think that your Prince has come,” she said.
“What do you mean?” said Princess Dora.
“Come and see for yourself,” said Mary. “A Fine young man, asleep. If he is not a prince, he looks as fine as any prince in the world.”
Mary then led the Princess to where Robert lay sleeping. When Dora saw him, love came to her heart. The Princess thought, ” I shall never love any other man.” She stood looking at him for some time, and then she turned her eyes to Mary. She saw that Mary was reading a letter. It was a letter that had fallen from the young man’s hand. As she was reading the letter, Mary’s face became white with fear.
“What is that letter you are reading?” asked the Princess.
” Take it and read it for yourself. It is sad for such a thing to happen to so fine a young man.”
The Princess took the letter and read it. This is what she read: “To my Captain, at ‘The House of the Rose’. 1, the King, order you to put to death the one who carries this letter. All such bad men should die.”
Princess Dora was very afraid. She looked at Mary for a time. Then she said, “Wait near him till I come back. If he wakes up, hide him. Do not let anyone see him.”
Then she ran quickly to her room and took a pen and a clean piece of paper. She sat down and began to write.
This is what Princess Dora wrote on the paper: “To my Captain at ‘The House of the Rose’. I send you my best wishes. I want my daughter to marry the man who carries this letter. Do not wait. Let her marry. him quickly. When I come I want to find them married. These are the orders of your King.”
She went back to the garden and showed the letter to Mary. Then they put the letter near the hand of the young man and went away.
They sat waiting in another part of the garden. Both were very afraid.
Mary said, “Let us not be afraid. We must finish what we have begun. I feel in my heart that you will be very happy.”
After a time they heard the sound of voices. The Captain and the young man were coming.
” Princess,” said the Captain, ” this is a letter from your father the King. Please read it for yourself.”
When Robert looked at the Princess, his heart was filled with love. He had never seen such a beautiful young woman. She read the letter and then looked at him. .
” I shall be pleased to do as my father orders. Something tells me that we shall find happiness together. Let us be married tomorrow.”
Robert was very surprised when he heard what was in the letter. He said, “I am ready to give my life for the King and to serve him till I die. The King wishes us to be married; I know that I shall always love you, so…”
The Princess took his hand. “Tomorrow,” she said.
The King waited for one day after Robert had gone, and then mounted his horse and set out for ‘The House of the Rose’.
When he came near he heard bells ringing and saw many people dancing in the garden. He was very surprised, and did not know what to think. He rode into the garden and saw his daughter walking hand in hand with Robert. Behind them was the Captain of the soldiers. Seeing the King, Dora and Robert stopped. The Captain came forward to help the King get off his horse.
” 0 King,” he said, ” I have done as you ordered. Your daughter the Princess and Prince Robert are married.”
All the people shouted with happiness and threw their hats into the air. The King stood still looking at his daughter and Robert. Then a look of happiness came to his face.
“It is the wish of God,” he said. “This man was born to be king.”
Then the King took his daughter’s hand and kissed her. He also took the hand of Robert. Then he turned to the people. “This is your new Prince,” he said. ” I know that it is the wish of God that he should become your King. This is the happiest day of my life. Sing, dance, and be happy.”
The people shouted loudly and began to dance again. The King took the hand of his daughter and Robert and passed through the happy people into ‘The House of the Rose’.