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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.
Prince kind hearted.
From Stories to Read or Tell from Fairy Tales
Start of Story
by Laure Claire Foucher
Once upon a time there lived a king who had but one son, and he was called
the Kindhearted. When the prince was twenty years old, he asked the king,
his father, to let him go traveling. His father fitted him out for the
journey, gave him a true servant to guard him, and his fatherly blessing.
The prince took leave of his father, mounted a brave steed and went to
different countries, to see God's world, to learn many things, and to
return home a wiser and a better man.
Once when the prince was slowly riding through a silent field, he suddenly
perceived an eagle in pursuit of a swan. The white swan was almost caught
by the eagle's sharp claws, when the prince, carefully aiming, fired his
pistol. The eagle fell dead, and the happy swan came down and said: "Prince
Kindhearted, I thank you for your help. It is not a swan that is thanking
you, but the enchanted daughter of the Knight Invisible. You have not
saved me from an eagle's claws, but from the terrible magician King
Koshchey. My father will pay you well for your services. Remember whenever
you are in need, to say three times: 'Knight Invisible, come to my help!'"
The swan flew away as soon as it had finished speaking, and the prince
looked after it, then continued his journey.
He crossed many high mountains, traversed deep rivers, passed foreign
countries, and at last he came to a great desert, where there was nothing
to see but sky and sand. No man lived there, no animal's voice was ever
heard, no vegetable ever grew there; the sun was shining so brightly and
burning so terribly that all the rivers were dried up, their beds were lost
in the sand, and there was not a drop of water anywhere. The young prince
anxious to go everywhere and see everything and not noticing how dry things
were, kept going farther and farther, and deeper and deeper, into the
desert. But after a while he became terribly thirsty. In order to find some
water he sent his servant in one direction and he himself went in another.
After a long time he succeeded in finding a well. He called to his
servant, "I have found a means of getting some water," and they both were
happy. But their happiness did not last, for the well was very deep and
The prince said to the servant: "Dismount, I will let you down into the
well by some long ropes and you shall draw up some water."
"No, my prince," answered the servant, "I am much heavier than you are, and
Your Majesty's hands will not be able to hold me. You take hold of the
ropes, and I will let you down into the well."
The prince, the ropes tied around him, went down into the well, drank the
cold water, and taking some of it for the servant, pulled the ropes, as a
sign for the servant to draw him up again.
But instead of pulling him up, the servant said: "Listen, you, kingly son!
From your cradle-days until now you have lived a happy life, surrounded by
luxury and love, and I have always led the life of a miserable wretch. Now
you must agree to become my servant, and I will be the prince instead of
you. If you will not exchange, say your last prayer, for I am going to
they had nothing with which to reach the water.
"Do not drown me, my true servant, you will not gain anything by it. You
will never find such a good master as I am, and you know what a murderer
may expect in the next world."
"Let me suffer in the next world, but I will make you suffer in this one,"
answered the servant and he began to loosen the ropes.
"Stop!" cried the prince, "I will be thy servant and you shall be the
prince. I will give you my word for it."
"I do not believe your word. Swear that you will write down what you
promise me, now, for words are lost in the air, and writing always remains
as a testimony against us."
The servant let down into the well a sheet of paper and a pencil, and told
the prince to write the following: "The bearer of this is Prince
Kindhearted, traveling with his servant, a subject of his father's
The servant glanced over the note, pulled the prince out of the well, gave
him his shabby clothes, and put on the prince's rich dress. Then having
changed armor and horses, they went on.
n a week or so they came to the capital of a certain kingdom. When they
approached the palace, the false prince gave his horse to the false servant
and told him to go to the stable, and he himself went straight into the
throne chamber and said to the king: "I come to you to ask for the hand of
your daughter, whose beauty and wisdom are known all over the world. If you
consent, you will have our favor; if not, we will decide it by war."
"You do not speak to me in a nice way at all, not as a prince ought to
speak, but it may be that in your country you are not used to better
manners. Now listen to me, my future son-in-law. My kingdom is now in the
hands of an enemy of mine. His troops have captured my best soldiers and
now they are approaching my capital. If you will clear my kingdom from
these troops, my daughter's hand will be yours as a reward."