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Prince Mirko

Source: The Folk-tales Of The Magyars

There was once, I don't know where, a king who had three sons. This king
had great delight in his three sons, and decided to give them a sound
education, and after that to give them a place in the government, so
that he might leave them as fit and willing heirs to his throne; so he
sent these sons to college to study, and they did well for a while; but
all of a sudden they left college, came home, and would not return. The
king was very much annoyed at their conduct, and prohibited them from
ever entering his presence. He himself retired, and lived in an eastern
room of the royal residence, where he spent his time sitting in a window
that looked eastward, as if he expected some one to come in that
direction. One of his eyes was continually weeping, while the other was
continually laughing. One day, when the princes were grown up, they held
a consultation, and decided to ascertain from their royal father the
reason why he always sat in the east room, and why one eye was
continually weeping while the other never ceased laughing. The eldest
son tried his fortune first, and thus questioned the king: "Most
gracious majesty, my father. I have come to ask you, my royal sire, the
reason why one of your eyes is always weeping while the other never
ceases laughing, and why you always sit in this east room." The king
measured his son from top to toe, and never spoke a word, but seized his
long straight sword which leant against the window and threw it at him:
it struck the door, and entered into it up to the hilt. The prince
jumped through the door and escaped the blow that was meant for him. As
he went he met his two brothers, who inquired how he had fared. "You'd
better try yourself and you will soon know," replied he. So the second
prince tried, but with no better result than his brother. At last the
third brother, whose name was Mirko, went in, and, like his brother,
informed the king of the reason of his coming. The king uttered not a
word, but seized the sword with even greater fury, and threw it with
such vehemence that it entered up to the hilt in the wall of the room:
yet Mirko did not run away, but only dodged the sword, and then pulled
it out of the wall and took it back to his royal father, placing it on
the table in front of him. Seeing this the king began to speak and said
to Prince Mirko, "My son, I can see that you know more about honour than
your two brothers. So I will answer your question. One of my eyes weeps
continually because I fret about you that you are such good-for-nothings
and not fit to rule; the other laughs continually because in my younger
days I had a good comrade, Knight Mezey, with whom I fought in many
battles, and he promised me that if he succeeded in vanquishing his
enemy he would come and live with me, and we should spend our old age
together. I sit at the east window because I expect him to come in that
direction; but Knight Mezey, who lives in the Silk Meadow, has so many
enemies rising against him every day as there are blades of grass, and
he has to cut them down all by himself every day; and until the enemies
be extirpated he cannot come and stay with me." With this, Prince Mirko
left his father's room, went back to his brothers, and told them what
he had heard from the king. So they held council again, and decided to
ask permission from their father to go and try their fortunes. First the
eldest prince went and told the king that he was anxious to go and try
his fortune, to which the king consented: so the eldest prince went into
the royal stables and chose a fine charger, had it saddled, his bag
filled, and started on his journey the next morning. He was away for a
whole year, and then suddenly turned up one morning, carrying on his
shoulder a piece of bridge-flooring made of copper; throwing it down in
front of the royal residence, he walked into the king's presence, told
him where he had been, and what he had brought back with him. The king
listened to the end of his tale and said, "Well, my son, when I was as
young as you are I went that way, and it only took me two hours from the
place where you brought this copper from. You are a very weak knight:
you won't do; you can go." With this the eldest prince left his father's
room. The second prince then came in and asked the king to permit him to
try his fortune, and the king gave him permission. So he went to the
royal stables, had a fine charger saddled, his bag filled, and set off.
At the end of a year he returned home, bringing with him a piece of
bridge-flooring made of silver; this he threw down in front of the royal
residence, and went in unto the king, told him all about his journey and
about his spoil. "Alas!" said the king, "when I was as young as you I
went that way, and it did not take me more than three hours; you are a
very weak knight, my son: you will not do."

With this he dismissed his second son also. At last Prince Mirko went in
and asked permission to go and try his fortune, and the king granted him
permission, so he also went into the royal stables in order to choose a
horse for the journey; but he did not find one to suit him, so he went
to the royal stud-farm to choose one there. As he was examining the
young horses, and could not settle which to have, there suddenly
appeared an old witch, who asked him what he wanted. Prince Mirko told
her his intention, and that he wanted a horse to go on the journey.
"Alas! my lord," said the old witch, "you can't get a horse here to suit
you, but I will tell you how to obtain one: go to your father, and ask
him to let you have the horn which in his younger days he used to call
together his stud with golden hair, blow into it, and the golden stud
will at once appear. But don't choose any of those with the golden hair;
but at the very last there will come a mare with crooked legs and shaggy
coat; you will know her by the fact that when the stud passes through
the gates of the royal fortress the mare will come last, and she will
whisk her tail and strike the heel-post of the fortress-gate with such
force that the whole fort will quiver with the shock. Choose her, and
try your fortune." Prince Mirko followed the witch's advice most
carefully. Going to the king he said, "My royal father, I come to ask
you to give me the horn with which in your younger days you used to call
together your stud with the golden hair." "Who told you of this?"
inquired the king. "Nobody," replied Prince Mirko. "Well, my dear son,
if no one has informed you of this, and if it be your own conception,
you are a very clever fellow; but if any one has told you to do this
they mean no good to you. I will tell you where the horn is, but by this
time, I daresay, it is all rust-eaten. In the seventh cellar there is a
recess in the wall; in this recess lies the horn, bricked up; try to
find it, take it out, and use it if you think you can." Prince Mirko
sent for the bricklayer on the spot, and went with him to the cellar
indicated, found the recess, took the horn, and carried it off with him.
He then stood in the hall of the royal residence and blew it, facing
east, west, south, and north. In a short time he heard the tingle of
golden bells begin to sound, increasing till the whole town rang with
the noise; and lo! through the gates of the royal residence beautiful
golden-haired horses came trooping in. Then he saw, even at the
distance, the mare with the crooked legs and shaggy coat, and as she
came, the last, great Heavens! as she came through the gates she whisked
the heel-post with her tail with such force that the whole building
shook to its very foundation. The moment the stud had got into the royal
courtyard he went to the crooked-legged shaggy-coated mare, caught her,
had her taken to the royal stables, and made it known that he intended
to try his fortune with her. The mare said "Quite right, my prince; but
first you will have to give me plenty of oats, because it would be
difficult to go a long journey without food." "What sort of food do you
wish? Because whatever my father possesses I will willingly give to
you," said the prince. "Very well, my prince," said the mare; "but it is
not usual to feed a horse just before you start on a journey, but some
time beforehand." "Well, I can't do much at present," said the prince;
"but whatever I've got you shall have with pleasure." "Well, then, bring
me a bushel of barley at once, and have it emptied into my manger."
Mirko did this; and when she had eaten the barley she made him fetch a
bushel of millet; and when she had eaten that she said, "And now bring
me half a bushel of burning cinders, and empty them into my manger."
When she had eaten these she turned to a beautiful golden-haired animal
like to the morning-star. "Now, my prince," said she, "go to the king
and ask him to give you the saddle he used when he rode me in his
younger days." Prince Mirko went to the old king and asked him for the
saddle. "It cannot be used now," said he, "as it has been lying about so
long in the coach-house, and it's all torn by this, but if you can find
it you can have it." Prince Mirko went to the coach-house and found the
saddle, but it was very dirty, as the fowls and turkeys had for many
years roosted on it, and torn it; still he took it to the mare in order
to put it on her, but she said that it was not becoming a prince to sit
upon such a thing, wherefore he was going to have it altered and
repaired; but the mare told him to hold it in front of her, and she
breathed on it, and in a moment it was changed into a beautiful gold
saddle, such as had not an equal over seven countries; with this he
saddled the tatos (mythical horse). "Now, my prince," said she, "you had
better go to your father and ask him for the brace of pistols and the
sword with which he used to set out when he rode me in former days." So
the prince went and asked these from his father, but the old king
replied "that they were all rusty by this time, and of no use," but, if
he really wanted them, he could have them, and pointed out the rack
where they were. Prince Mirko took them and carried them to the mare,
who breathed upon them, and changed them into gold; he then girded on
his sword, placed the pistols in the holsters, and got ready for a
start. "Well, my dear master," said the mare, "where now is my bridle?"
Whereupon, the prince fetched from the coach-house an old bridle, which
she blew upon and it changed into gold; this the prince threw over her
head, and led her out of the stable, and was about to mount her when the
mare said, "Wait a minute, lead me outside the town first, and then
mount me;" so he led her outside the town, and then mounted her. At this
moment the mare said, "Well, my dear master, how shall I carry you?
Shall I carry you with a speed like the quick hurricane, or like a flash
of thought?" "I don't mind, my dear mare, how you carry me, only take
care that you run so that I can bear it."

To this the mare replied, "Shut your eyes and hold fast." Prince Mirko
shut his eyes, and the mare darted off like a hurricane. After a short
time she stamped upon the ground and said to the prince, "Open your
eyes! What can you see?" "I can see a great river," said Prince Mirko,
"and over it a copper bridge." "Well, my dear master," said the mare,
"that's the bridge from which your eldest brother carried off part of
the flooring: can't you see the vacant place?" "Yes, I can see it," said
the prince, "and where shall we go now?" "Shut your eyes and I will
carry you;" with this, she started off like a flash of lightning, and in
a few moments again stamped upon the ground and said, "Open your eyes!
Now what do you see?" "I see," said Prince Mirko, "a great river, and
over it a silver bridge." "Well, my dear master, that's the bridge from
which your second brother took the silver flooring; can't you see the
place?" "Yes," said he, "I can, and now where shall we go?"

"Shut your eyes and I will carry you," said the mare, and off she darted
like lightning, and in a moment she again stamped upon the ground and
stopped and said to Prince Mirko, "Open your eyes! What can you see?" "I
see," replied he, "a vast, broad, and deep river, and over it a golden
bridge, and at each end, on this side and that, four immense and fierce
lions. How are we to get over this?" "Don't take any notice of them,"
said the mare, "I will settle with them, you shut your eyes." Prince
Mirko shut his eyes, the mare darted off like a swift falcon, and flew
over the bridge; in a short time she stopped, stamped, and said, "Open
your eyes! Now what do you see?" "I see," said the prince, "an immense,
high glass rock, with sides as steep as the side of a house." "Well, my
dear master," said the mare, "We have to get over that too."

"But that is impossible," said the prince; but the mare cheered him, and
said, "Don't worry yourself, dear master, as I still have the very shoes
on my hoofs which your father put on them with diamond nails six hundred
years ago. Shut your eyes and hold fast."

At this moment the mare darted off, and in a twinkling of the eye she
reached the summit of the glass rock, where she stopped, stamped, and
said to the prince, "Open your eyes! What can you see?" "I can see,
below me," said Prince Mirko, "on looking back, something black, the
size of a fair-sized dish." "Well, my dear master, that is the orb of
the earth; but what can you see in front of you?" "I can see," said
Prince Mirko, "a narrow round-backed glass path, and by the side of it,
this side as well as on the other side, a deep bottomless abyss." "Well,
my dear master," said the mare, "we have to get over that, but the
passage is so difficult that if my foot slips the least bit either way
we shall perish, but rely on me. Shut your eyes and grasp hold of me,
and I will do it." With this the mare started and in another moment she
again stamped on the ground and said, "Open your eyes! What can you
see?" "I can see," said Prince Mirko, "behind me, in the distance, some
faint light and in front of me such a thick darkness that I cannot even
see my finger before me." "Well, my dear master, we have to get through
this also. Shut your eyes, and grasp me." Again she started and again
she stamped. "Open your eyes! What can you see now?" "I can see," said
Prince Mirko, "a beautiful light, a beautiful snow-clad mountain, in the
midst of the mountain a meadow like silk, and in the midst of the meadow
something black." "Well, my dear master, that meadow which looks like
silk belongs to Knight Mezey, and the black something in the middle of
it is his tent, woven of black silk; it does not matter now whether you
shut your eyes or not, we will go there." With this Prince Mirko spurred
the mare, and at once reached the tent.

Prince Mirko jumped from his mare and tied her to the tent by the side
of Knight Mezey's horse, and he himself walked into the tent, and lo!
inside, a knight was laid at full length on the silken grass, fast
asleep, but a sword over him was slashing in all directions, so that not
even a fly could settle on him. "Well," thought Prince Mirko to himself,
"this fellow must be a brave knight, but I could kill him while he
sleeps; however, it would not be an honourable act to kill a sleeping
knight, and I will wait till he wakes." With this he walked out of the
tent, tied his mare faster to the tent-post, and he also lay down full
length upon the silken grass, and said to his sword, "Sword, come out of
thy scabbard," and his sword began to slash about over him, just like
Knight Mezey's, so that not even a fly could settle on him.

All of a sudden Knight Mezey woke, and to his astonishment he saw
another horse tied by the side of his, and said, "Great Heavens! what's
the meaning of this? It's six hundred years since I saw a strange horse
by the side of mine! Whom can it belong to?" He got up, went out of the
tent, and saw Prince Mirko asleep outside, and his sword slashing about
over him. "Well," said he, "this must be a brave knight, and as he has
not killed me while I was asleep, it would not be honourable to kill
him," with this he kicked the sleeping knight's foot and woke him. He
jumped up, and Knight Mezey thus questioned him: "Who are you? What is
your business?" Prince Mirko told him whose son he was and why he had
come. "Welcome, my dear brother," said Knight Mezey, "your father is a
dear friend of mine, and I can see that you are as brave a knight as
your father, and I shall want you, because the large silken meadow that
you see is covered with enemies every day, and I have to daily cut them
down, but now that you are here to help me I shall be in no hurry about
them; let's go inside and have something to eat and drink, and let them
gather into a crowd, two of us will soon finish them." They went into
the tent and had something to eat and drink; but all at once his enemies
came up in such numbers that they came almost as far as the tent, when
Knight Mezey jumped to his feet and said, "Jump up, comrade, or else we
are done for." They sprang to their horses, darted among the enemy, and
both called out, "Sword, out of thy scabbard!" and in a moment the two
swords began to slash about, and cut off the heads of the enemy, so that
they had the greatest difficulty in advancing on account of the piles of
dead bodies, till at last, at the rear of the enemy, twelve knights took
to flight, and Knight Mezey and Prince Mirko rode in pursuit of them,
till they reached a glass rock, to which they followed the twelve
knights, Prince Mirko being the nearest to them. On the top of the rock
there was a beautiful open space, towards which the knights rode and
Prince Mirko after them on his mare, when all at once they all
disappeared, as if the earth had swallowed them; seeing this, Prince
Mirko rode to the spot where they disappeared, where he found a
trap-door, and under the door a deep hole and a spiral staircase. The
mare without hesitation jumped into the hole, which was the entrance to
the infernal regions. Prince Mirko, looking round in Hades, suddenly
discerned a glittering diamond castle, which served the lower regions
instead of the sun, and saw that the twelve knights were riding towards
it; so he darted after them, and, calling out "Sword, come out of thy
scabbard," he slashed off the twelve knights' heads in a moment, and,
riding to the castle, he heard such a hubbub and clattering that the
whole place resounded with it: he jumped off his horse, and walked into
the castle, when lo! there was an old diabolical-looking witch, who was
weaving and making the clattering noise, and the whole building was now
full of soldiers, whom the devilish witch produced by weaving. When she
threw the shuttle to the right, each time two hussars on horseback
jumped out from the shuttle, and when she threw it to the left, each
time two foot soldiers jumped from it fully equipped. When he saw this,
he ordered his sword out of its scabbard, and cut down all the soldiers
present. But the old witch wove others again, so Prince Mirko thought to
himself, if this goes on, I shall never get out of this place, so he
ordered his sword to cut up into little pieces the old witch, and then
he carried out the whole bleeding mass into the courtyard, where he
found a heap of wood: he placed the mass on it, put a light to it, and
burnt it. But when it was fully alight a small piece of a rib of the
witch flew out of the fire and began to spin around in the dust, and lo!
another witch grew out of it. Prince Mirko thereupon was about to order
his sword to cut her up too, when the old witch addressed him thus:
"Spare my life, Mirko, and I will help you in return for your kindness;
if you destroy me you can't get out of this place; here! I will give you
four diamond horse-shoe nails, put them away and you will find them
useful." Prince Mirko took the nails and put them away, thinking to
himself, "If I spare the old witch she will start weaving again, and
Knight Mezey will never get rid of his enemies," so he again ordered his
sword to cut up the witch, and threw her into the fire and burnt her to
cinders. She never came to life again. He then got on his mare and rode
all over the lower regions, but could not find a living soul anywhere,
whereupon he spurred his mare, galloped to the foot of the spiral
staircase, and in another moment he reached the upper world. When he
arrived at the brink of the glass rock he was about to alight from his
mare: and stopped her for this purpose, but the mare questioned him
thus, "What are you going to do, Prince Mirko?" "I was going to get
down, because the road is very steep and it's impossible to go down on
horseback." "Well then, dear master, if you do that you can't get below,
because you couldn't walk on the steep road, but if you stop on my back,
take hold of my mane, and shut your eyes, I will take you down."
Whereupon the mare started down the side of the rock, and, like a good
mountaineer, climbed down from the top to the bottom, and having arrived
at the foot of the steep rock, spoke to Prince Mirko thus: "You can open
your eyes now." Mirko having opened his eyes, saw that they had arrived
in the silken meadow.

They started in the direction of Knight Mezey's tent, but Knight Mezey
thought that Mirko had already perished, when suddenly he saw that Mirko
was alive, so he came in great joy to meet him, and leading him into his
tent, as he had no heir, he offered him the silk meadow and his whole
realm, but Mirko replied thus: "My dear brother, now that I have
destroyed all your enemies, you need not fear that the enemy will occupy
your country, therefore I should like you to come with me to my royal
father, who has been expecting you for a very long time." With this they
got on their horses, and started off in the direction of the old king's
realm, and arrived safely at the very spot on the glass rock where
Mirko had jumped down. Knight Mezey stopped here, and said to Prince
Mirko: "My dear brother, I cannot go further than this, because the
diamond nails of my horse's shoes have been worn out long ago, and the
horse's feet no longer grip the ground." But Mirko remembered that the
old witch had given him some diamond nails, and said: "Don't worry
yourself, brother. I have got some nails with me, and I will shoe thy
horse." And taking out the diamond nails, he shod Knight Mezey's horse
with them. They mounted once more, and like two good mountaineers
descended the glass rock, and as swift as thought were on the way home.

The old king was also then sitting in the eastern window, awaiting
Knight Mezey, when suddenly he saw two horsemen approaching, and,
looking at them with his telescope, recognised them as his dear old
comrade Knight Mezey, together with his son, Prince Mirko, coming
towards him; so he ran down at once, and out of the hall. He ordered the
bailiff to slaughter twelve heifers, and by the time that Knight Mezey
and Mirko arrived, a grand dinner was ready waiting for them; and on
their arrival he received them with great joy, embraced them and kissed
them, and laughed with both his eyes. Then they sat down to dinner, and
ate and drank in great joy. During dinner Knight Mezey related Mirko's
brave deeds, and, amongst other things, said to the old king: "Well,
comrade, your son Mirko is even a greater hero than we were. He is a
brave fellow, and you ought to be well pleased with him." The old king
said: "Well, when I come to think of it, I begin to be satisfied with
him, especially because he has brought you with him; but still I don't
believe that he would have courage to fight Doghead also." Prince Mirko
was listening to their talk but did not speak. After dinner, however, he
called Knight Mezey aside, and asked him who Doghead was, and where he
lived. Knight Mezey informed him that he lived in the north, and that he
was such a hero that there was no other to equal him under the sun.
Prince Mirko at once gave orders for the journey, filled his bag, and
next day started on his mare to Doghead's place; according to his
custom, he sat upon the mare, grasped her firmly, and shut his eyes. The
mare darted off, and flew like a swift cyclone, then suddenly stopped,
stamped on the ground, and said, "Prince Mirko, open your eyes. What do
you see?" "I see," said the Prince, "a diamond castle, six stories high,
that glitters so that one can't look at it, although one could look at
the sun." "Well, Doghead lives there," said the mare, "and that is his
royal castle." Prince Mirko rode close under the window and shouted
loudly: "Doghead! are you at home? Come out, because I have to reckon
with you." Doghead himself was not at home, but his daughter was
there--such a beautiful royal princess, whose like one could not find in
the whole world. As she sat in the window doing some needlework, and
heard the high shrill voice, she looked through the window in a great
rage, and gave him such a look with her beautiful flashing black eyes,
that Prince Mirko and his mare at once turned into a stone statue.
However, she began to think that perhaps the young gentleman might be
some prince who had come to see her; so she repented that she had
transformed him into a stone statue so quickly; and ran down to him,
took out a golden rod, and began to walk round the stone statue, and
tapped its sides with her gold rod, and lo! the stone crust began to
crack, and fell off, and all at once Prince Mirko and his mare stood
alive in front of her. Then the princess asked; "Who are you? and what
is your business?" And Mirko told her that he was a prince, and had come
to see the Princess of Doghead. The princess slightly scolded him for
shouting for her father so roughly through the window, but at the same
time fell in love with Prince Mirko on the spot, and asked him to come
into her diamond castle, which was six stories high, and received him
well. However, while feasting, Prince Mirko during the conversation
confessed what his true errand was, viz., to fight Doghead; but the
princess advised him to desist from this, because there was no man in
the whole world who could match her father. But when she found that
Mirko could not be dissuaded, she took pity on him, and, fearing that
lest he should be vanquished, let him into the secret how to conquer her
father. "Go down," she said, "into the seventh cellar of the castle;
there you will find a cask which is not sealed. In that cask is kept my
father's strength. I hand you here a silver bottle, which you have to
fill from the cask; but do not cork the bottle, but always take care
that it shall hang uncorked from your neck; and when your strength
begins to fail, dip your little finger into it, and each time your
strength will be increased by that of five thousand men; also drink of
it, because each drop of wine will give you the strength of five
thousand men." Prince Mirko listened attentively to her counsel, hung
the silver bottle round his neck, and went down into the cellar, where
he found the wine in question, and from it he first drank a good deal,
and then filled his flask, and, thinking that he had enough in his
bottle, he let the rest run out to the last drop, so that Doghead could
use it no more. There were in the cellar six bushels of wheat flour,
with this he soaked it up, so that no moisture was left, whereupon he
went upstairs to the princess, and reported that he was ready and also
thanked her for her directions, and promised that for all her kindness
he would marry her, and vowed eternal faith to her. The beautiful
princess consented to all, and only made one condition, viz., that in
case Prince Mirko conquered her father he would not kill him.

Prince Mirko then inquired of the beautiful princess when she expected
her father home, and in what direction, to which the princess replied
that at present he was away in his western provinces, visiting their
capitals, but that he would be home soon, because he was due, and that
it was easy to predict his coming, because when he was two hundred miles
from home, he would throw home a mace weighing forty hundredweight, thus
announcing his arrival, and wherever the mace dropped a spring would
suddenly burst from the ground. Prince Mirko thereupon went with the
royal princess into the portico of the royal castle, to await there
Doghead's arrival, when suddenly, good Heavens! the air became dark, and
a mace, forty hundredweight, came down with a thud into the courtyard of
the royal fortress, and, striking the ground, water burst forth
immediately in the shape of a rainbow. Prince Mirko at once ran into the
courtyard in order to try how much his strength had increased. He picked
up the mace swung it over his head, and threw it back so that it dropped
just in front of Doghead. Doghead's horse stumbled over the mace;
whereupon Doghead got angry. "Gee up! I wish the wolves and dogs would
devour you," shouted Doghead to the horse. "I have ridden you for the
last six hundred years, and up to this time you have never stumbled
once. What's the reason that you begin to stumble now?" "Alas! my dear
master," said his horse, "there must be something serious the matter at
home, because some one has thrown back your mace that you threw home,
and I stumbled over it." "There's nothing the matter," said Doghead; "I
dreamt six hundred years ago that I would have to fight Prince Mirko,
and it is he who is at my castle; but what is he to me? I have more
strength in my little finger than he in his whole body." With this he
darted off at a great speed and appeared at the castle. Prince Mirko was
awaiting Doghead in the courtyard of the fortress. The latter, seeing
Prince Mirko, galloped straight to him and said, "Well, Mirko. I know
that you are waiting for me. Here I am. How do you wish me to fight you?
With swords? or shall we wrestle?" "I don't care how; just as you
please," said Mirko. "Then let us try swords first," said Doghead, and,
getting off his horse, they stood up, and both ordered out their swords.
"Swords, come out of the scabbards." The two swords flew out of the
scabbards and began to fence over the heads of the combatants. The whole
place rung with their clashing, and in their vehemence they sent forth
sparks in such quantity that the whole ground was covered with fire, so
that no one could stand the heat. Whereupon Doghead said to Mirko,
"Don't let us spoil our swords, but let us put them back into their
scabbards, and let us wrestle." So they sheathed their swords and began
to wrestle. When suddenly Doghead grasped Mirko round the waist, lifted
him up, and dashed him to the ground with such force that Mirko sank to
his belt. Mirko was frightened, and quickly dipped his little finger
into the bottle. Whereupon he regained his strength, and, jumping out of
the ground, made a desperate dash at Doghead, and threw him to the
ground with such force, that he lay full length on the ground like a
green frog; then he seized him by his hair and dragged him behind the
royal residence, where a golden bridge stood over a bottomless lake. He
dragged him on to the bridge, and, holding his head over the water,
ordered his sword out of the scabbard and cut off his head, so that it
dropped into the bottomless lake, and then he pushed the headless trunk
after it.

Doghead's daughter saw all this, and grew very angry with Prince Mirko,
and as he approached her she turned her face away, and would not even
speak to him; but Prince Mirko explained to her that he could not do
otherwise, for if he had spared Doghead's life he would have destroyed
his; and that he was willing to redeem his promise, and keep his faith
to the princess and take her for his wife. Whereupon the royal princess
became reconciled, and they decided to get ready to go to Prince Mirko's
realm. They ordered the horses--Doghead's charger was got ready for the
beautiful princess--and, mounting them, were about to start, when all at
once deep sorrow seized Prince Mirko, and the beautiful royal princess
thus questioned him: "Why are you so downcast, Mirko?" "Well, because,"
said Mirko, "I'm anxious to go back to my country, but I am also
extremely sorry to leave behind this sumptuous diamond castle, six
stories high, which belonged to your father, for there is nothing like
it in my country." "Well, my love," said the princess, "don't trouble
about that. I will transform the castle into a golden apple at once, and
sit in the middle of it, and all you will have to do is to put the apple
into your pocket, and then you can take me with you and the castle too,
and when you arrive at home you can re-transform me wherever you like."
Thereupon the pretty princess jumped down from her horse, handed the
reins to Mirko, took out a diamond rod, and commenced to walk round the
diamond castle, gently beating the sides of it with the diamond rod, and
the castle began to shrink and shrunk as small as a sentry box, and then
the princess jumped inside of it, and the whole shrivelled up into a
golden apple, the diamond rod lying by the side of it. Prince Mirko
picked up the golden apple and the diamond rod, and put them into his
pocket, and then got on horseback, and, taking Doghead's horse by the
bridle, he rode quietly home. Having arrived at home, Mirko had the
horses put in the stables, and then walked into the royal palace, where
he found the old king and Knight Mezey quite content and enjoying
themselves. He reported to them that he had conquered even Doghead, and
that he had killed him; but the old king and Knight Mezey doubted his
words. Therefore Prince Mirko took them both by their arms, and said to
them, "Come along with me, and you can satisfy yourselves, with your own
eyes, that I have conquered Doghead, because I have brought away with
me, not only his diamond castle, six stories high, but also his
beautiful daughter, inside it, as a trophy of my victory." The old king
and Knight Mezey were astonished at his words, and, still doubting,
followed Mirko, who took them into the flower garden of the king, in the
middle of which Prince Mirko selected a nice roomy place for the diamond
castle, and placed the golden apple there, and commenced walking round,
and, patting its sides with the diamond rod, the golden apple began to
swell. It took a quadrangular shape, growing and growing, higher and
higher, till it became a magnificent six-storied diamond castle; and
then he took the old king and Knight Mezey by their arms, and led them
up the diamond staircase into the rooms of the castle, where the
princess, who was world-wide known for her beauty, met them, and
received them most cordially. She bade them sit down, and sent lackeys
to call the other sons of the old king and also the higher dignitaries
of the court. In the dining-hall there was a big table, which could be
opened out. She gave orders, and the table was laid of itself, and on it
appeared all sorts of costly dishes and drinks, and the assembled guests
feasted in joy. The old king was highly satisfied with his son's doings,
and handed over to Mirko the royal power and the whole realm: he himself
and Knight Mezey retired into quiet secluded life, and lived long in
great happiness. The young royal couple who got married had beautiful
children, and they are alive still, to this very day, if they have not
died since. May they be your guests to-morrow!

Next: The Student Who Was Forcibly Made King

Previous: Knight Rose

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