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THE KING'S SON GOES SEEKING
ND that is how the King's son came to hear of the
beauty of the maiden who had no name.
His Muime—that is, his ancient foster-mother—had a
dormer-room above the goose-fold. She wakened up
before the skriek of day and she heard the geese tell
of the beauty of the maiden who had on a gleaming
dress, with a glittering veil and gleaming shoes. The
King's son's ancient foster-mother listened to it all.
She was a wise woman, and she knew that the geese had
seen what they were speaking of;
 for the token was that they had eaten next to nothing
in the marsh.
She went to the King's son, and she said to him: "Make
no hasty choice, son of King Daniel. The Maiden you
wed should be one that the moon would bow down to. And
I want to tell you that the geese in the goose-fold are
telling of one who has such beauty. You would be lucky
if you could find her, and my advice to you is that you
mount on your horse and ride to all places where the
geese have been."
So his Muime said to the King's son. Now the first
company of maidens had come that very day and they were
being lodged in the fifty-five new chambers in the
King's Castle. They had invited the King's son to play
Blind Man's Buff up and down the stairs with them; but
he listened to what his ancient foster-mother told him,
and although he had on the knee-breeches that best
showed his legs he sent a message asking to be excused
from the game, and he mounted his horse and rode off to
find the maiden that the geese made such a clamour
 Maid-alone came to the goose-fold that morning wearing
her Crow-feather Cloak. She drove the geese to the
marsh, but knowing they would not feed if she had on
any of her fine dresses she made no change in her garb.
The King's son went riding by on his high-mettled
horse. He saw the white geese and the grey geese
feeding in the great contentment with one of the
ganders a little way off keeping watch and ward. A
girl was standing there herding the goose-flock, and
her bare feet were in the marsh-water. The King's son
And the next morning, though she came to her
dormer-window to listen, the King's son's ancient
foster-mother heard no talk of a maiden that was as
beautiful as a poplar tree, or a shining water-lily, or
as that queen in Greece that one's grandmother
remembered. The light-minded geese had forgotten what
they had talked about.
But they came to clamour again. The next day,
Maid-alone left the flock feeding in the marsh with a
gander to keep watch and ward, and she
 went to the hollow tree and took out the second of her
fine dresses. All in silver was she clad now, with a
shimmering veil and glimmering shoes.
And what befell before befell again. No goose fed that
day and no gander kept watch and ward. With their
necks stretched out they told each other of her beauty.
They said the same things as they said before. But
this time they made twice as much clamour.
When it was near sunset Maid-alone turned to go to the
hollow tree. The goose-flock followed her. She ran
ahead, and she had the silver dress off and the
Crow-feather Cloak on before they came to where she was
But they kept up the clamour in the goose-fold. They
wakened up the King's son's ancient foster-mother
before the stars had waned in the sky. She heard about
the beauty of the maiden who was all clad in silver,
and who was more lovely than a poplar tree, or a
shining water-lily, or that queen in Greece that one's
"What a loss it will be," said his Muime to the
 King's son, "if you miss marrying the beauty that the
geese go hungry from thinking about."
He was sitting in the King's Council Chamber with the
King's Councillors around him. And what they were
trying to decide was whether it was the first or the
second company of maidens—the second company had just
come—that had the right to entertain him to the game
of Throwing the Apple.
"A loss it would be indeed," said the King's son, "if
such a one were near and I missed fixing my choice on
her." He went out of the Council Chamber and he
mounted his horse and he rode to the marsh where
Maid-alone was minding her goose-flock. If she had on
then her bronze or her silver dress he would have been
sure to notice her.
But there she was standing with her Crow-feather Cloak
on and her bare feet in the marsh-water. The King's
son looked at her and rode on to his father's Castle.
That day the geese fed in great contentment, and the
ganders kept watch and ward in their
 regular order, for there was nothing for a goose-flock
to stretch up necks to. But the next day Maid-alone
put on the third of her fine dresses, her dress of
gold, with her shining veil and her golden shoes. She
went back to the marsh in that attire.
No goose fed and no gander kept watch. The goose-flock
told each other the things they had told when she had
on her bronze dress and when she had on her silver
dress. This time they made three times the clamour
they made before. The King's son's ancient
foster-mother was kept awake all night. When the
morning came she went to the King's son, and she told
him that he would never have any luck in his life if he
did not go off at once and search for the beauty that
gave two-score geese cause for such clamour.
He was then standing on the steps of his father's
Castle, ready to receive the third company of maidens
that was coming that very day. But he mounted his
horse and rode off again. And he saw a girl with a
Crow-feather Cloak upon her and with grey geese and
white geese standing
 around her. And when he saw that sight he rode back to
his father's Castle and he told his Muime that that was
the last time he would ride out to seek the Maiden that
was without a name.