The Swineherd 4

That was a pleasure! Day and night the water in the pot was boiling; there was not a single fire in the whole town of which they did not know what was preparing on it, the chamberlain’s as well as the shoemaker’s. The ladies danced and clapped their hands for joy.

“We know who will eat soup and pancakes; we know who will eat porridge and cutlets; oh, how interesting!”

“Very interesting, indeed,” said the mistress of the household. “But you must not betray me, for I am the emperor’s daughter.”

“Of course not,” they all said.

The swineherd—that is to say, the prince—but they did not know otherwise than that he was a real swineherd—did not waste a single day without doing something; he made a rattle, which, when turned quickly round, played all the waltzes, galops, and polkas known since the creation of the world.

 

“But that is superbe,” said the princess passing by. “I have never heard a more beautiful composition. Go down and ask him what the instrument costs; but I shall not kiss him again.”

 

“He will have a hundred kisses from the princess,” said the lady, who had gone down to ask him.

 

“I believe he is mad,” said the princess, and walked off, but soon she stopped. “One must encourage art,” she said. “I am the emperor’s daughter! Tell him I will give him ten kisses, as I did the other day; the remainder one of my ladies can give him.”

 

“But we do not like to kiss him” said the ladies.

 

“That is nonsense,” said the princess; “if I can kiss him, you can also do it. Remember that I give you food and employment.” And the lady had to go down once more.

 

“A hundred kisses from the princess,” said the swineherd, “or everybody keeps his own.”

“Place yourselves before me,” said the princess then. They did as they were bidden, and the princess kissed him.

 

“I wonder what that crowd near the pigsty means!” said the emperor, who had just come out on his balcony. He rubbed his eyes and put his spectacles on.

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