The Swineherd 3

Thus the prince was appointed imperial swineherd, and as such he lived in a wretchedly small room near the pigsty; there he worked all day long, and when it was night he had made a pretty little pot. There were little bells round the rim, and when the water began to boil in it, the bells began to play the old tune:

 

“A jolly old sow once lived in a sty,

Three little piggies had she,” &c.

 

But what was more wonderful was that, when one put a finger into the steam rising from the pot, one could at once smell what meals they were preparing on every fire in the whole town. That was indeed much more remarkable than the rose. When the princess with her ladies passed by and heard the tune, she stopped and looked quite pleased, for she also could play it—in fact, it was the only tune she could play, and she played it with one finger.

 

“That is the tune I know,” she exclaimed. “He must be a well-educated swineherd. Go and ask him how much the instrument is.”

One of the ladies had to go and ask; but she put on pattens.

“What will you take for your pot?” asked the lady.

“I will have ten kisses from the princess,” said the swineherd.

“God forbid,” said the lady.

“Well, I cannot sell it for less,” replied the swineherd.

“What did he say?” said the princess.

“I really cannot tell you,” replied the lady.

“You can whisper it into my ear.”

“It is very naughty,” said the princess, and walked off.

But when she had gone a little distance, the bells rang again so sweetly:

“A jolly old sow once lived in a sty,

Three little piggies had she,” &c.

“Ask him,” said the princess, “if he will be satisfied with ten kisses from one of my ladies.”

“No, thank you,” said the swineherd: “ten kisses from the princess, or I keep my pot.”

“That is tiresome,” said the princess. “But you must stand before me, so that nobody can see it.”

 

The ladies placed themselves in front of her and spread out their dresses, and she gave the swineherd ten kisses and received the pot.

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