英语故事 救命水之二

After that they boarded a ship and sailed over the sea. During the voyage the two elder brothers said to each other:" Our youngest brother found the Water of Life and we didn’t, so our father will give him the kingdom that’s due to us and so he’ll sob us of our fortunes." And they sought revenge and plotted together to destroy him. They waited for a time when he was fast asleep, and then they took the Water of Life from him, emptying it out of his cup and pouring salt sea-water into it instead.

So when they arrived home the youngest son took his cup to the sick king for him to drink out of it and get well. But he had hardly tasted a mouthful of the salt sea-water when he fell even more ill than before. And as he was lamenting about this, his two elder sons came in and accused the youngest of having tried to poison him, but told him that they had brought the real Water of Life. So they gave it to him, and no sooner had he drunk some than he felt his sickness leave him and grew strong and healthy as he had been in his youth.

After this the two went to their youngest brother and mocked him:" Oh yes, you found the Water of Life," they said, "but you’ve had the trouble and we’ve got the reward! You should have been cleverer and kept you eyes open: we took it from you when you’d fallen asleep on the ship, and a year from now one of us will fetch that beautiful princess. But mind you say nothing about this; our father wouldn’t believe you anyway, and if you utter a single word you’ll lose your life as well, but if you hold your tongue we’ll spare it."

The old king was angry with his youngest son, believing he had tried to kill him. So he summoned all his courtiers and made them pass judgment, and it was decided that the prince should be secretly shot.

So one day when he was out hunting and suspected nothing, the king’s huntsman was ordered to accompany him. When they were out there in the forest quite alone and the huntsman was looking very sad, the prince said to him, "Dear huntsman, what’s the matter?" The huntsman said, "I can’t tell you, and yet I must." Then the prince said, "Tell me right out what it is, I’ll forgive you." "Oh, sir," said the huntsman, "I’m to shoot you dead, it’s the king’s order." The prince was startled and said, "Dear huntsman, let me live! Look, I’ll give you my royal clothes, give me your plain ones in exchange." The huntsman said: "I’ll gladly do so, I just couldn’t have brought myself to shoot at you." So they changed clothes, and the huntsman went home, but the prince went deeper into the forest.

Sometime later, the old king received three wagon-loads of gold and precious stones for his youngest son: they had been sent by the three kings w

 

ho had defeated their enemies with the prince’s sword and fed their people with his loaf of bread, and who wanted to show their gratitude. Then the old king thought: can it be that my son was innocent? And he said to his servants, "If only he were still alive! How sorry I am now that I had him killed." "Sir, he is still alive," said the huntsman, "for I didn’t have the heart to carry out your orders." And he told the king what had happened. At this a great weight fell from the king’s heart, and he had it proclaimed in every kingdom that his son might come home and that we would be graciously welcomed.

But the princess had a road made leading up to her castle, and it was of pure shining gold; and she told her servants that whoever came riding straight up the middle of it to visit her would be her rightful bridegroom and they were to let him in. But if anyone came riding alongside the road he would not be the right man, and they were not to let him in.

So when the year was nearly over, the eldest brother decided that he would hurry off to the princess and claim to be her rescuer, and then he would get her for his wife with her kingdom as well. So he rode off, and when he got near the castle and saw the beautiful golden road, he thought: it would be a crying shame to ride on a road like that. So he turned aside and rode up on the right of it. When he came to the gate, the servants told him he wasn’t the right man and that he must go away.

Soon afterwards the second prince set out, and when he came to the golden road and his horse took the first step on it, he thought: it would be a crying shame, his hooves might damage the surface. So he turned aside and rode up on the left of it. But when he came to the gate, the servants said he wasn’t the right man and he must go away.

Then when the year had fully passed, the third brother decided to leave the forest and ride to his beloved and forget his sorrows with her. So he set out and thought of nothing but her and wished he were there already, and didn’t even notice the golden road. So his horse went straight up the middle of it, and when he reached the gate it was opened to him and the princess received him with joy, telling him he was her rescuer and the lord of her kingdom.

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