The three feathers

The three feathers

There was once on a time a King who had three sons, of whom two were clever and wise, but the third did not speak much, and was simple, and was called the Simpleton. When the King had become old and weak, and was thinking of his end, he did not know which of his sons should inherit the kingdom after him. Then he said to them: Go forth, and he who brings me the most beautiful carpet shall be King after my death. And that there should be no dispute amongst them, he took them outside his castle, blew three feathers in the air, and said: You shall go as they fly. One feather flew to the east, the other to the west, but the third flew straight up and did not fly far, but soon fell to the ground. And now one brother went to the right, and the other to the left, and they mocked Simpleton, who was forced to stay where the third feather had fallen. He sat down and was sad, then all at once he saw that there was a trap-door close by the feather. He raised it up, found some steps, and went down them, and then he came to another door, knocked at it, and heard somebody inside calling: Little green maiden small, Hopping, Hopping hither and thither; Hop to the door, And quickly see who is there.
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