Once upon a time, across seven and seven lands, there was a king, and his daughter was as fair as a star in the sky. And the king of the neighbouring country had a son, and he was as poor and ugly as the dark night. When the prince heard the news of the world-famous and beautiful princess, he went to see her.
He went up to the king’s palace and told the king his heart’s desire. The king summoned his daughter, and the princess came, but when she saw the ugly prince, she said:
- I wouldn’t have my shoes cleaned with such a legion.
The poor prince was very sorry, and went out of the palace in great shame. But he could not get the beautiful princess out of his mind.
He said to himself, “One life, one death, this maiden shall be mine!”
He thought of this, he thought of that, what he thought, what he thought not, He struck a hen of gold with twelve chickens, then a golden gown with golden hemp, And a golden mirror, so beautiful that one had only to look into it, And the mirror made such beautiful music that the angels up there in the bright heaven were not more beautiful.
Then he put on his disguise, and went back to the king, and came to him as a footman. He put the golden horns and the chickens, the golden gown and the golden mirror under the bed.
But the next day he took the golden goose and the golden chickens and put them in the middle of the room. There the princess’s maid saw it. The maid ran to the princess and said with great enthusiasm:
- “Sire, come with me, I’ll show you a thing more beautiful than you’ve ever seen. They go to the maid’s room, and the princess sees the golden hen and the twelve chickens. She claps her hands together.
- Oh, how beautiful, oh, how beautiful! “Give me these,” she says to the footman, “as much as you want, as much as you and my father paid for them.
Says the butler:
- I’ll not give you money, fair queen, give me a kiss and I’ll give it to you.
The princess hesitated a little, but then, bless her, she kissed the butler. Then she picked up her apron, her golden hen, her twelve chickens, and ran to her room with great joy.
The next day, the servant brought the golden goose. The maid saw this too, ran to the princess and reported it:
- “Your Majesty, the golden hen is beautiful, your chickens are beautiful, but I saw something even more beautiful in the butler’s room.
They ran to the chamber of the butler, and as soon as they entered, the eyes of the princess were dazzled with the untamed glow.
- Oh, how pretty guzsaly, oh, how pretty hemp! ‘But I should like to weave a dress out of it,’ said the princess.
Said the butler:
- I wish nothing much, fair queen, give me two kisses, and I’ll give you the gold gown.
The princess thought a little, but she kissed the butler and ran back to her room.
But what was, was, is now the real thing. On the third day she took the golden mirror, hung it on the wall, and waited for the maid to come, knowing that she would stop before her. And sure enough, the maid came, saw the mirror, ran over, looked in, and at that moment the mirror started to make music. She thought it was angels playing music. She ran to the princess.
- Come, come, serene queen, have you ever seen a mirror that makes music?
They went to the chamber of the butler, but when they entered, the mirror did not play.
- “It does not play music,” said the princess.
Said the butler:
- “Just stand in front of it, my pretty princess, and look at yourself in it.
She went and looked into the mirror, and all at once the music began to play, and it sounded so beautiful and so bitter that the princess’s heart was broken.
- “Give me this mirror,” begged the princess.
Tell the butler:
- I’ll give it to you, of course I will, but I’ll give you three kisses.
But now the princess didn’t even think, she hugged and kissed the ugly man three times.
Just at that moment the king entered. He was in a terrible rage when he saw his daughter, the world-famous beautiful queen, kissing the ugly, nasty boy.
- ‘Out of my house,’ cried the king, ‘if you have a sweet life,’ and he drove his daughter, the footman, out of the house.
They went out of the city in great sorrow, but what can I say, only the king’s wife was sorrowful, and the lad was very glad. They went on and on through the country, until they came to the town of the prince who had been made a servant.
There was an inn at the end of the town, and there they went in, and there the prince made a servant said:
- Now I will wash, and you clean my boots so that I can go into the city. Then I will come back, and you wait for me.
Without a word, the princess took the boots and cleaned them. Then the prince went into the city, up to his father’s palace, and there he put on his gold and diamond-encrusted gown, and took six horses in velvet harness, and drove to the inn to fetch the princess.
He goes in to the princess, and she just looks and looks, not wanting to believe her eyes.
- ‘Do you remember,’ said the prince, ‘when you said you wouldn’t even let me clean your shoes? Well, you see, I wasn’t so proud, I let you clean my boots.
The princess laughed a great laugh, and fell on the prince’s neck, and said, with a hearty laugh:
- Whatever I have said, thou art mine, I am thine, spade, hoe, and great bell shall separate us.
Soon they were in the carriage, they were driven into the king’s court, and that very day there was a great feast, a great hay-day, a great dynom-dan, a great wedding. They’re still alive today, if they’re not dead.