THE BEGGAR AND THE PRINCESS
NCE there was a boy who had a wonderful horse. When he
wanted to ride, all he had to do was to say, "Saddle
and bridle my little horse," and no matter where the
boy was the horse came immediately, all ready to be
Then the boy would go for a ride, and when he had
ridden as much as he pleased, he would dismount and
say, "Off saddle, off bridle," and at once in place of
the horse there was a little cloud of mist that in a
moment afterward had melted into nothing.
The boy lived with his mother, but at length he grew
up, and was tired of staying at home. So he set out to
seek adventures. He told no one where he was going, but
mounted his horse and travelled for a long time until
he arrived in the country of a great king. As he was
riding through this country he came to a large city,
and in the midst of the city lived the king in a
handsome palace. The young
 man stopped his horse
before the palace and sat admiring the fine building
when a coach came forth from the gates and passed him.
In the coach sat the king's daughter, and she was very
"Ah!" said the young man, "I wish I might marry that
beautiful princess. I must contrive some way to speak
So he dismounted and said, "Off saddle, off bridle,"
and his horse was instantly gone from sight.
Now he went to a second-hand clothing shop in the city
and bought the most ragged suit of clothes he could
get, and after that he sought out a lodging-place for
The next morning he dressed himself in the ragged
clothes and put his other clothes in a bundle and
returned to the king's palace. He went in at a side
gate and around to the rear to the kitchen, and made
signs that he wanted work. He would say no words, but
only mumbled, and the king's servants thought he was an
idiot. However, they were kind to him, and he helped
them at their work and they let him sleep on the
kitchen hearth. As they did not know his name they
called him "The Beggar."
He remained in the kitchen for a whole week, and when
Sunday came everybody in the palace
 went to church
except the beggar and the princess. As to the beggar,
no one thought of his going, for his clothes were not
good enough; and the princess stayed at home because
she was not feeling well that day.
The rest of the household were no sooner out of the way
than the beggar put on his fine garments, which he had
kept tied up in a bundle, and said, "Saddle and bridle
my little horse."
 The horse appeared at once, and the young man
began to ride back and forth on the paths of the palace
gardens. Pretty soon the princess saw him and she
stepped out on a little balcony and called to him to
know who he was. So he came close up under the window,
and they talked together until they heard the people
coming from church. Then the young man dashed away to
get out of sight, and in his haste ran his horse across
a flower-bed and broke some of the pots and tender
plants. But he got safely to the kitchen and made his
horse disappear and put on his shabby clothes again.
The damage in the garden was reported to the king, and
he tried to discover who had done it, and was very
angry. He summoned his servants, but they said that the
beggar was the only one who had remained at home. So
the king questioned the beggar, but he would only
mumble in reply, and the king could do nothing with
The next Sunday every one went to church except the
princess and the beggar. She stayed at home because she
wanted to see him again, and no one expected him to go
because his clothes were not good enough. But when the
other servants were gone it did not take him long to
get into his fine garments and call for his horse. Then
he rode in
 the garden, and presently he saw the
princess at her window waiting to speak with him.
They talked together just as they had the week before,
until they heard the people coming from church, and
then the young man had to hurry to get out of sight.
There was no time to lose, and he galloped across a
flower-bed and broke some more pots and tender plants.
The king was furious when he saw this new damage, and
he declared that the rascal who was spoiling his garden
must be caught.
So the third Sunday the king stayed at home from
church, and hid in the palace cellar where there was a
narrow window that looked out on the garden. Thence he
watched, and presently he saw the young man riding on
the paths, and he ran out and caught the horse by the
"What do you mean, you villain, by riding around in my
garden this way?" shouted the king."I'll have your head
taken off" as soon as my servants get back from
The young man leaped down from his horse and said, "Off
saddle, off bridle," and the king saw a little puff of
fog disappearing, and the horse was gone, and his hand
that had gripped the horse's bridle was empty.
 He rubbed his eyes."Good heavens!" he exclaimed,
"can you do such things as that?"
"Yes," said the young man, "and I beg you will hear my
So he told the king all about himself and his wonderful
horse, and the king was very much interested. Last of
all the young man told the king how he loved his
daughter, and that he wanted to marry her; and the king
said he was willing. So the young man sent for his
mother, and he married the princess, and they lived a
long time and were very happy.
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