Prince Charming, the tear-begotten - (pages 11-12)
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Upon which Genario flung a light, red, scented handkerchief in her face. The girl stared long into her father’s eyes, like one waking from a dream that she could no longer remember. She had quite forgotten the things her father had told her. Nevertheless, the flower in he window was spying through its leaves like a red star through the creases of a cloud.

The following day at dawn Genario again went out hunting.

The girl murmured a charm and kissed the red flower so that the Prince stood before, born of thin air.

«Well, did you find out?» he asked.

«Not a thing,» she said sadly, placing the back of her hand upon her brow. «I have forgotten everything.»

«But I remember everything,» he said. «Farewell, my pretty; we will soon meet again.» He mounted a horse and vanished in the desert.

In the sultry heat of day, on he outskirts of the forest, he saw a mosquito writing in the hot sand.

«Fair Prince», the mosquito said, «pick me up and take me into the forest, and you won’t be sorry. I am the Emperor of the mosquitoes.» the Prince carried him into the woods that lay ahead of him.

As he came out of the woods he again crossed a desert along the seashore and saw a crab so sunburnt that it was unable to crawl back into the sea...

«Fair Prince,» the crab said, «do fling me into the sea, and I’ll help you how I can. I am the Emperor of crabs.»

The Prince flung him into the sea and went on his way.

Behold, as night was falling, he came to an ugly mud hut covered with horse dung. There was no paling round it, but just long sharp pikes, six of which topped by a skull, the seventh rocking to and fro in the wind, saying: skull! Skull! Skull! Skull!

In the porch, an old dried-up hag lay upon an old sheepskin coat, her gray head in the lap of a young and beautiful servant girl who was rubbing her head.

«Good day,» Prince Charming said.

«Welcome, young man,» the old woman answered getting up. «What are you doing here? What are you looking for? Maybe you’ll take my mares afield grazing?»

«I will.»

«My mares will only graze at night, so you can drive them out this very minute... Hey, you, my girl, just give this young man the food I prepared for him and set him on his way.»

Close to the mud hut there was a cellar underground. He entered and saw seven black mares with shining coats, as black as seven nights they were and had never yet seen the sunlight. They were snorting and pawing the ground.

Having taken no food that day he ate what the old woman provided, then mounting one of the mares, he drove the others into the cool dark air of the night. Then he felt a heavy sleep gradually creeping through his veins, hie eyes grew dim and he fell as if dead upon the grassy meadow.

When he woke up day was dawning. The mares were gone. He could see his head already stuck upon a pike, when behold! The seven mares came out from a distant forest, driven by an endless swarm of mosquitoes, while a thin voice was piping:

«You’ve done me a good turn. One good turn deserves another.»

As he drove the horses back, the old woman began to rave, to turn the house upside down, and to beat the girl who was in no way to blame.

«What is the trouble, mother?» the Prince asked.

«Nothing,» she answered. «Just that I am out of humor. It’s nothing to do with you... I am quite pleased.»

After this she entered the stables and began to whip the horses shouting:

«Look for better hiding places, curse you, so that he won’t find you again, blast him for a foe and an enemy, may he writhe in the throes of death!»

On the following evening he set out with the horses again, but this time, too, he sank and slept until down. Deeply upset, he felt like going into the wide world when lo and behold! There came the seven mares, rising from the depths of the sea, all bitten by a host of crabs.

«One good turn deserves another», a voice piped.

It was the Emperor of crabs.

The Prince drove the horses home and witnessed the same scene as on the previous day.

During the day however, the old woman’s servant came near and pressing his hand, she spoke in a low voice:

«I know you are Prince Charming. Don’t eat of the food that the witch is preparing for you, because it’s cooked with poppy seed... I’ll cook other dishes for you.»

The girl secretly prepared victuals for him and at nightfall, when he was about to leave with the horses, his head was clear, as if by magic. About midnight he returned, drove the horses into the stable, locked the door, and entered the house. A few embers were still glittering in the ashes of the grate. The old woman lay on her back on a chest, as stiff as dead. He thought she had passed away and shook her. She slept like a log and didn’t move. Therefore, he woke the girl who was sleeping on top of the oven.

«There,» he said, «the old hag is dead.»

«Dead, this fright? No fear,» she sighed. «True, she is now as dead as dead can be. It is the middle of the night... a heaviness possesses her body... but her soul, goodness only knows what crossroads it haunts, what numerous charms it works... Before the cock crows, she sucks the hearts of the dying or ravages the souls of the unfortunate. So, brother, your time is up tomorrow; tale me along with you and you won’t be sorry. I’ll save you from countless dangers that the hag is plotting against you.»

She fetched a whetstone, a brush, and a neckerchief from the bottom of an old, battered chest.

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