THERE was once a poor Prince, who had a kingdom. His kingdom was small, but still large enough to marry upon; and he wished to marry.
His name was renowned far and wide; and there were a hundred Princesses who would have answered "Yes!" and "Thank you kindly!" if he had asked them. But he wanted to marry the Emperor's daughter.
It happened that where thePrince's father lay buried there grew a rose-tree, -- a most beautiful rose-tree, which blossomed only once in every five years, and even then bore only one flower, but that was a rose! It was so sweet that whoever breathed its scent forgot all cares and sorrows.
And further, the Prince had a nightingale, who could sing in such a manner that it seemed as though all sweet melodies dwelt inher little throat. So he put the rose and the nightingale into large silver caskets, and sent them to the Princess.
The Emperor had them brought into a large hall, where the Princess was playing at "Visiting" with the ladies of the court; and when she saw the caskets with the presents, she clapped her hands for joy.
"Oh, I do hope it is a little pussy-cat!" said she but therose-tree with its beautiful rose came to view.
"Oh, how prettily it is made!" said ail the court ladies.
"It is more than pretty," said the Emperor; "it is charming!"
But the Princess touched it, and was almost ready to cry.
"Fie, Papa," said she, "it is not made at all, it is natural!"
"Let us see what is in the other casquet, before we get into a bad humour,"said the Emperor. So the nightingale came forth, and sang so delightfully that at first no one could say anything ill-humoured of her.
"Superbe! charmant!" exclaimed the ladies; for they all used to chatter French, each one worse than her neighbour.
"How much the bird reminds me of the musical box that belonged to our blessed Empress," said an old knight. "Oh yes! these are thesame tones, the same execution."
"Yes! yes!" said the Emperor, and he wept at the remembrance. "I will still hope that it is not a real bird," said the Princess. "Yes, it is a real bird," said those who had brought it. "Well, then, let it fly," said the Princess; and she refused to see the Prince.
However, he was not to be discouraged; he daubed his face over brown andblack, pulled his cap over his ears, and knocked at the door.
"Good-day to my lord the Emperor!" said he. "Can I have employment at the palace?"
"Why, yes," said the Emperor, "I want someone to take care of the pigs, for we have a great many of them."
So the Prince was appointed "Imperial Swine-herd". He had a dirty little room close by the pig-sty; and there he sat thewhole day, and worked. By the evening, he had made a pretty little kitchen-pot. Little bells were hung all round it; and when the pot was boiling, these bells tinkled in the most charming manner, and played the old melody:
"Ah! my dearest Augustine,
All is gone, gone, gone!"
But what was still more curious, whoever held his finger in the steam of the kitchen-pot immediatelysmelt all the dishes that were cooking on every hearth in the city.
Now the Princess happened to walk that way; and when she heard the tune, she stood quite still, and seemed pleased; for it was the only piece she knew, and she played it with one finger.
"Why, there is my piece!" said the Princess. "That swineherd must have been well educated! Go in and ask him the price of theinstrument."
So one of the ladies ran in; but she drew on wooden slippers first.
"What will you take for the kitchen-pot?" said the lady.
"Ten kisses from the Princess," said the swineherd.
"He is an impudent fellow!" said the Princess when she heard this, and she walked on. But when she had gone a little way, the bells tinkled so prettily that she had to...