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Manillas. No ships with iron can sail among them, on account of the loadstone with which they abound.” Another piece of information—to them wonderful, to us familiar—is given of a country in the north of this map : “When the Russians penetrate this country in quest of valuable animals, they make use of sledges drawn by dogs, on account of the lakes and snow.”
THE WATER OF HEALTH.
GOOD while before you and I were born, in a country far distant, there reigned a king who had three
This king all on a sudden fell very ill, so that nobody thought he could live. His sons were very sorry at their father's illness ; and as they were walking in the palace garden an old man met them,
and asked them why they looked so gloomy. They told him their father was so ill that they were much afraid he would die. “I know what would cure him," said the old man : “it is the Water of Health. If he could have a draught of that he would soon be well, but it is very difficult to get.” Then the eldest son said, “I will soon find it.” So he went to his father, and begged that he might go in search of it, as that only could save him. And he thought again, “ If I bring my father this water I shall be his dearest son, and he will make me heir to his kingdom."
Then he set out, and when he had gone on his way some time he came to a deep valley, overhung with rocks and woods; and on looking round there was a little dwarf on one of the rocks, who called to him, “ Prince, where are you going so fast ?” “What is that to you, you ugly dwarf ?” said the prince, with a sneer, and rode scornfully on his way. But the little dwarf fell into a great rage at his bad manners, and laid a spell of ill luck upon him, so that, as he rode on, the mountain-pass became narrower and narrower, and he was obliged to stop. Turning his horse round to go back, he found the road behind him had closed
up too, so he was obliged to remain there, spell-bound. So it generally happens to proud, silly people, who think themselves too wise to ask or take advice.
In the meantime the king his father was day by day living in the hope that his son would return with the health-giving water. But when he had been gone a long time his second son asked leave to go ; for he thought within himself, “ My brother is certainly dead, and I shall have the kingdom if I meet with good luck on my journey.” At first the king was very unwilling to let him go, but at last he consented. So he started, took the same road as his brother, and saw the same little dwarf, who stopped him, and asked him “where he was going so fast ?” “Mind your own business,” answered the prince, scornfully, and rode on, without looking back. But the dwarf cast upon him the same spell as he did on his brother; so he came to a narrow place in the mountains, where he could neither move backwards nor forwards.
When the second prince had been absent a long time, the youngest said he would go in search of the Water of Health, and hoped he should soon be able to make his father well again. He met the dwarf at the same spot, who said to him, “Prince, where are you hastening to so fast ?” And the prince said, “I am going in search of the Water of Health, in order to cure my father. Can you tell me where I shall find it?” As spoken to me kindly and sought for advice,” said the dwarf, “I will tell you where it is. The water you seek springs out of a well in an enchanted castle ; and in order that you may go there in safety, I will give you an iron wand and two little loaves of bread. Strike the iron door of the castle three times with the wand, and it will open ; you will find there two hungry lions lying down inside, gaping for their prey; but only throw them the bread and they will let you pass.
Then run on as fast as you can to the well, and take some of the Water of Health before the clock strikes twelve ; for if you stay later the door will close upon you for ever.”
Then the prince thanked the dwarf very much for his advice and assistance, and went travelling on, over land and sea, till he came to the enchanted castle. The door flew open at the third stroke of the iron wand; the lions let him pass on throwing
them the loaves, and at last he came to a beautiful hall, where he saw several knights, who were in a state of enchantment. They had rings on their fingers, so he pulled them off, and put them on his own. On a table in another room was a sword and a loaf of bread, which he also took. Further on he came to a room where a beautiful young lady sat upon a couch, who welcomed him joyfully, and said if he would set her free from the spell that bound her, the kingdom should be his, if he would come back in a year and marry her. She also told him that the well containing the Water of Health was in the palace gardens, and bade him make haste to draw the water before the clock struck twelve. Then he walked on, and passed through beautiful gardens, till he came to a couch in a shady spot, on which he rested himself awhile. While sitting there he fell asleep, and did not wake till the clock was striking a quarter to twelve, when he sprang from the couch, dreadfully frightened, ran to the well, filled his cup full of water, and hastened away. Just as he was going out of the iron door it struck twelve, and the door fell so quickly upon
him that it tore away a piece of his heel. When he found himself safe, he rejoiced to think he had got the Water of Health ; and as he was going homewards he passed the little dwarf, who, when he saw the sword and the loaf, said, “ You have made a noble prize : with the sword you can at a blow slay whole armies, and the bread will never fail.” Then the prince begged very hard that his brothers might be restored, and the dwarf consented, though unwillingly, to set them free, saying, “Beware of them, for they have bad hearts." Their brother, however, was very glad to see them, and told them all that had happened to him; how he had found the Water of Health, set a beautiful princess free from a spell that bound her, and how she had engaged to wait a whole year, and then marry him, and give him the kingdom. Then they all three rode on together, and came to a country which was laid waste by war and a dreadful famine; so the prince gave the king of that ccuntry the bread, and all the people ate of it; and he slew the enemy's army with his wonderful sword, and left the kingdom in peace and plenty.
In the same way he favoured two other countries he passed through.
When they came to the sea they got in a ship, and during the voyage the two eldest brothers waited till the youngest was fast asleep, and pouring the Water ‘of Health out of his cup, took it for themselves, and gave him bitter sea-water instead. And when they came home, the youngest son brought his cup to the sick king; that he might drink and be made well. Directly, however, he had tasted this bitter sea-water, he became worse than before ; and then the two other sons came in and blamed the youngest for what he had done, and said that he wanted to poison their father ; but they had found the Water of Health, and brought it with them. He had no sooner began to drink of their water than he felt his sickness leave him, and was as well and strong as in his young days.
The old king was very angry with his youngest son, and thought that he really meant to have taken away his life ; so he called a council, at which it was determined that he should be put to death. The prince knew nothing of this till one day when the chief huntsman went a-hunting with him, he told him he had received orders to put him to death. The prince begged hard for his life, and it was arranged that he should give the huntsman his coat to show to his father, and he should take that belonging to the huntsman. So the prince in his shabby dress went away through the woods, and the king, his father, thought he was dead.
Soon after, three grand embassies came to the old king's court with rich gifts of gold and precious stones for his youngest son, which were sent by the three kings to whom he had lent his sword and loaf of bread. This touched the old king's heart, and he thought his son might still be innocent; so he said “Oh, that my son were still alive!
How sorry I am that I had him killed !” “He still lives,” said the huntsman ; and he told the king how he had let him go, and only brought his coat to deceive him. At this the king was filled with joy, and had it proclaimed far and wide that if his son would come back to his court he would forgive him.
Meanwhile the princess was eagerly awaiting the return of the prince who freed her from the enchantment, and had a road made to her palace-gate of shining gold. She told her servants that whoever came on horseback and rode straight up to the gate was her true lover ; but whoever rode on one side of it was not the right one, and that they must send him away
The time soon came when the eldest thought he would go for the princess, and say he had set her free ; but when he saw the golden road he stopped to look at it, and thought, “ It is a pity to ride on this beautiful road ;” so he turned aside, and rode on the right of it. But when he came to the gate, the guards told him he was an impostor, and sent him about his business. The second prince soon afterwards set out on the same errand, and he, too, thought it a pity to tread on the golden road, and was sent back by the guards at the gate.
Now, when the full year was come, the third brother left the wood, and set out in search of his betrothed bride. So he travelled on, thinking of her all the way, and rode so quickly that he did not even see the golden road, but went with his horse straight over it ; and as he came to the gate it flew open, and the princess welcomed him with joy, and said he was her deliverer, and should now be her husband, and lord of the kingdom, and the marriage was kept with great feasting. When it was over the princess told him she had heard that his father had forgiven him ; so he went to visit him, and told him how his brothers had cheated and robbed him, and that he had borne all for the love of his father. Then the old king was very angry, and wanted to punish his wicked sons ; but they made their escape, and got into a ship, and sailed away over the wide sea, and were never heard of any more.
EARLY RISING.–Old men, it would seem, were to be found amongst those who had travelled and those who had never been out of their own parish. Excess could produce her veterans no less than temperance, since some had kept off the grim tyrant by libations of wine as successfully as others by potations of water. In short, it appears that many who agree in scarcely anything else, agree in having attained longevity. But there were only two questions in which they always agree, and these two questions, when put, were always answered in the affirmative by the oldest of those Greenwich and Chelsea pensioners to whom they were proposed. The questions were these: Were you descended from parents of good stamina ? and Have you been in the habit of early rising? Early rising, therefore, not only gives us more life in the same number of years, but adds likewise to their number, and not only enables us to enjoy more of existence in the same measure of time, but increases also the measure.-Cotton.