ENGLISH

Trusty John

ESPAÑOL

El fiel Juan


There was once on a time an old king who was ill, and thought to himself, "I am lying on what must be my death-bed." Then said he, " Tell Faithful John to come to me." Faithful John was his favourite servant, and was so called, because he had for his whole life long been so true to him. When therefore he came beside the bed, the King said to him, "Most faithful John, I feel my end approaching, and have no anxiety except about my son. He is still of tender age, and cannot always know how to guide himself. If thou dost not promise me to teach him everything that he ought to know, and to be his foster-father, I cannot close my eyes in peace." Then answered Faithful John, "I will not forsake him, and will serve him with fidelity, even if it should cost me my life." On this, the old King said, "Now I die in comfort and peace." Then he added, "After my death, thou shalt show him the whole castle: all the chambers, halls, and vaults, and all the treasures which lie therein, but the last chamber in the long gallery, in which is the picture of the princess of the Golden Dwelling, shalt thou not show. If he sees that picture, he will fall violently in love with her, and will drop down in a swoon, and go through great danger for her sake, therefore thou must preserve him from that." And when Faithful John had once more given his promise to the old King about this, the King said no more, but laid his head on his pillow, and died.
Érase una vez un anciano Rey, se sintió enfermo y pensó: Sin duda es mi lecho de muerte éste en el que yazgo. Y ordenó: "Que venga mi fiel Juan." Era éste su criado favorito, y le llamaban así porque durante toda su vida había sido fiel a su señor. Cuando estuvo al pie de la cama, díjole el Rey: "Mi fidelísimo Juan, presiento que se acerca mi fin, y sólo hay una cosa que me atormenta: mi hijo. Es muy joven todavía, y no siempre sabe gobernarse con tino. Si no me prometes que lo instruirás en todo lo que necesita saber y velarás por él como un padre, no podré cerrar los ojos tranquilo." - "Os prometo que nunca lo abandonaré," le respondió el fiel Juan, "lo serviré con toda fidelidad, aunque haya de costarme la vida." Dijo entonces el anciano Rey: "Así muero tranquilo y en paz." Y prosiguió: "Cuando yo haya muerto enséñale todo el palacio, todos los aposentos, los salones, los soterrados y los tesoros guardados en ellos. Pero guárdate de mostrarle la última cámara de la galería larga, donde se halla el retrato de la princesa del Tejado de Oro, pues si lo viera, se enamoraría perdidamente de ella, perdería el sentido, y por su causa se expondría a grandes peligros; así que guárdalo de ello." Y cuando el fiel Juan hubo renovado la promesa a su Rey, enmudeció éste y, reclinando la cabeza en la almohada, murió.


When the old King had been carried to his grave, Faithful John told the young King all that he had promised his father on his deathbed, and said, "This will I assuredly perform, and will be faithful to thee as I have been faithful to him, even if it should cost me my life." When the mourning was over, Faithful John said to him, "It is now time that thou shouldst see thine inheritance. I will show thee thy father's palace." Then he took him about everywhere, up and down, and let him see all the riches, and the magnificent apartments, only there was one room which he did not open, that in which hung the dangerous picture. The picture was, however, so placed that when the door was opened you looked straight on it, and it was so admirably painted that it seemed to breathe and live, and there was nothing more charming or more beautiful in the whole world. The young King, however, plainly remarked that Faithful John always walked past this one door, and said, "Why dost thou never open this one for me?" - "There is something within it," he replied, "which would terrify thee." But the King answered, "I have seen all the palace, and I will know what is in this room also," and he went and tried to break open the door by force. Then Faithful John held him back and said, "I promised thy father before his death that thou shouldst not see that which is in this chamber, it might bring the greatest misfortune on thee and on me." - "Ah, no," replied the young King, "if I do not go in, it will be my certain destruction. I should have no rest day or night until I had seen it with my own eyes. I shall not leave the place now until thou hast unlocked the door."
Llevado ya a la sepultura el cuerpo del anciano Rey, el fiel Juan dio cuenta a su joven señor de lo que prometiera a su padre en su lecho de muerte, y añadió: "Lo cumpliré puntualmente y te guardaré fidelidad como se la guardé a él, aunque me hubiera de costar la vida." Celebráronse las exequias, pasó el período de luto, y entonces el fiel Juan dijo al Rey: "Es hora de que veas tu herencia; voy a mostrarte el palacio de tu padre." Y lo acompañó por todo el palacio, arriba y abajo, y le hizo ver todos los tesoros y los magníficos aposentos; sólo dejó de abrir el que guardaba el peligroso retrato. Éste se hallaba colocado de tal modo que se veía con sólo abrir la puerta, y era de una perfección tal que parecía vivir y respirar, y que en el mundo entero no podía encontrarse nada más hermoso ni más delicado. Pero al joven Rey no se le escapó que el fiel Juan pasaba muchas veces por delante de esta puerta sin abrirla, y, al fin, le preguntó: "¿Por qué no la abres nunca?" - "Es que en esta pieza hay algo que te causaría espanto," respondióle el criado. Mas el Rey le replicó: "He visto todo el palacio y quiero también saber lo que hay ahí dentro, y, dirigiéndose a la puerta, trató de forzarla." El fiel Juan lo retuvo y le dijo: "Prometí a tu padre, antes de morir, que no verías lo que hay en este cuarto; nos podría traer grandes desgracias, a ti y a mí." - "Al contrario," replicó el joven Rey. "Si no entro, mi perdición es segura. No descansaré ni de día ni de noche hasta que lo haya contemplado con mis propios ojos. No me muevo de aquí hasta que me abras esta puerta."


Then Faithful John saw that there was no help for it now, and with a heavy heart and many sighs, sought out the key from the great bunch. When he had opened the door, he went in first, and thought by standing before him he could hide the portrait so that the King should not see it in front of him, but what availed that? The King stood on tip-toe and saw it over his shoulder. And when he saw the portrait of the maiden, which was so magnificent and shone with gold and precious stones, he fell fainting to the ground. Faithful John took him up, carried him to his bed, and sorrowfully thought, "The misfortune has befallen us, Lord God, what will be the end of it?" Then he strengthened him with wine, until he came to himself again. The first words the King said were, "Ah, the beautiful portrait! whose it it?" - "That is the princess of the Golden Dwelling," answered Faithful John. Then the King continued, "My love for her is so great, that if all the leaves on all the trees were tongues, they could not declare it. I will give my life to win her. Thou art my most Faithful John, thou must help me."
Entonces comprendió el fiel Juan que no había otro remedio, y con el corazón en el puño y muchos suspiros sacó la llave del gran manojo. Cuando tuvo la puerta abierta, entró el primero con intención de tapar el cuadro, para que el Rey no lo viera. Pero, ¿de qué le sirvió? El Rey, poniéndose de puntillas, miró por encima de su hombro, y al ver el retrato de la doncella, resplandeciente de oro y piedras preciosas, cayó al suelo sin sentido. Levantólo el fiel Juan y lo llevó a su cama, pensando. con gran angustia: "El mal está hecho. ¡Dios mío! ¿Qué pasará ahora?" Y le dio vino para reanimarlo. Vuelto en sí el Rey, sus primeras palabras fueron: "¡Ay!, ¿de quién es este retrato tan hermoso?" - "Es la princesa del Tejado de Oro," respondióle el fiel criado. Y el Rey: "Es tan grande mi amor por ella, que si todas las hojas de los árboles fuesen lenguas, no bastarían para expresarle. Mi vida pondré en juego para alcanzarla, y tú, mi leal Juan, debes ayudarme a conseguirlo."


The faithful servant considered within himself for a long time how to set about the matter, for it was difficult even to obtain a sight of the King's daughter. At length he thought of a way, and said to the King, "Everything which she has about her is of gold - tables, chairs, dishes, glasses, bowls, and household furniture. Among thy treasures are five tons of gold; let one of the goldsmiths of the Kingdom work these up into all manner of vessels and utensils, into all kinds of birds, wild beasts and strange animals, such as may please her, and we will go there with them and try our luck." The King ordered all the goldsmiths to be brought to him, and they had to work night and day until at last the most splendid things were prepared. When everything was stowed on board a ship, Faithful John put on the dress of a merchant, and the King was forced to do the same in order to make himself quite unrecognizable. Then they sailed across the sea, and sailed on until they came to the town wherein dwelt the princess of the Golden Dwelling.
El fiel criado estuvo cavilando largo tiempo sobre la manera de emprender el negocio. pues sólo el llegar a presencia de la princesa era ya muy difícil. Finalmente, se le ocurrió un medio, y dijo a su señor: "Todo lo que tiene a su alrededor es de oro: mesas, sillas, fuentes, vasos, tazas y todo el ajuar de la casa. En tu tesoro hay cinco toneladas de oro," manda que den una a los orfebres del reino, y con ella fabriquen toda clase de vasos y utensilios, toda suerte de aves, alimañas y animales fabulosos; esto le gustará; con ello nos pondremos en camino, a probar fortuna." El Rey hizo venir a todos los orfebres del país, los cuales trabajaron sin descanso hasta terminar aquellos preciosos objetos. Luego fue cargado todo en un barco, y el fiel Juan y el Rey se vistieron de mercaderes para no ser conocidos de nadie. Luego se hicieron a la mar, y navegaron hasta arribar a la ciudad donde vivía la princesa del Tejado de Oro.


Faithful John bade the King stay behind on the ship, and wait for him. "Perhaps I shall bring the princess with me," said he, "therefore see that everything is in order; have the golden vessels set out and the whole ship decorated." Then he gathered together in his apron all kinds of gold things, went on shore and walked straight to the royal palace. When he entered the courtyard of the palace, a beautiful girl was standing there by the well with two golden buckets in her hand, drawing water with them. And when she was just turning round to carry away the sparkling water she saw the stranger, and asked who he was. So he answered, "I am a merchant," and opened his apron, and let her look in. Then she cried, "Oh, what beautiful gold things!" and put her pails down and looked at the golden wares one after the other. Then said the girl, "The princess must see these, she has such great pleasure in golden things, that she will buy all you have." She took him by the hand and led him upstairs, for she was the waiting-maid. When the King's daughter saw the wares, she was quite delighted and said, "They are so beautifully worked, that I will buy them all of thee." But Faithful John said, "I am only the servant of a rich merchant. The things I have here are not to be compared with those my master has in his ship. They are the most beautiful and valuable things that have ever been made in gold." She wanted to have everything brought to her there, but he said, "There are so many of them that it would take a great many days to do that, and so many rooms would be required to exhibit them, that your house is not big enough." Then her curiosity and longing were still more excited, until at last she said, "Conduct me to the ship, I will go there myself, and behold the treasures of thine master."
El fiel Juan pidió al Rey que permaneciese a bordo y aguardase su vuelta: "A lo mejor vuelvo con la princesa," dijo. "Procurarás, pues, que todo esté bien dispuesto y ordenado, los objetos de oro a la vista y el barco bien empavesado." Se llenó el cinto de toda clase de objetos preciosos, desembarcó y encaminóse al palacio real. Al entrar en el patio vio junto al pozo a una hermosa muchacha ocupada en llenar de agua dos cubos de oro. Al volverse para llevarse el agua que reflejaba los destellos del oro, vio al extranjero y le preguntó quién era. Respondióle éste: "Soy un mercader,' y, abriendo su cinturón, le mostró lo que contenía. "¡Oh, qué lindo!" exclamó ella, y, dejando los cubos en el suelo, se puso a examinar las joyas una por una. Luego dijo: "Es necesario que la princesa lo vea; le gustan tanto las cosas de oro, que, sin duda, os las comprará todas." Y, cogiendo al hombre de la mano, condújolo al interior del palacio, pues era la camarera principal. Cuando la hija del Rey vio aquellas maravillas, se puso muy contenta y exclamó: "Está tan primorosamente trabajado, que te lo compro todo." A lo que respondió el fiel Juan: "Yo no soy sino el criado de un rico mercader. No es nada lo que traigo aquí en comparación de lo que mi amo tiene en el barco: lo más bello y precioso que jamás se haya hecho en oro." Pidióle ella que se lo llevaran a palacio, pero él contestó: "Hay tantísimas cosas, que precisarían muchos días y más salas que vuestro palacio tiene." Estas palabras sólo sirvieron para estimular la curiosidad de la princesa, la cual dijo al fin: "Acompáñame al barco, quiero ir yo misma a ver los tesoros de tu amo."


On this Faithful John was quite delighted, and led her to the ship, and when the King saw her, he perceived that her beauty was even greater than the picture had represented it to be, and thought no other than that his heart would burst in twain. Then she got into the ship, and the King led her within. Faithful John, however, remained behind with the pilot, and ordered the ship to be pushed off, saying, "Set all sail, till it fly like a bird in air." Within, however, the King showed her the golden vessels, every one of them, also the wild beasts and strange animals. Many hours went by whilst she was seeing everything, and in her delight she did not observe that the ship was sailing away. After she had looked at the last, she thanked the merchant and wanted to go home, but when she came to the side of the ship, she saw that it was on the deep sea far from land, and hurrying onwards with all sail set. "Ah," cried she in her alarm, "I am betrayed! I am carried away and have fallen into the power of a merchant - I would die rather!" The King, however, seized her hand, and said, "I am not a merchant. I am a king, and of no meaner origin than thou art, and if I have carried thee away with subtlety, that has come to pass because of my exceeding great love for thee. The first time that I looked on thy portrait, I fell fainting to the ground." When the princess of the Golden Dwelling heard that, she was comforted, and her heart was inclined unto him, so that she willingly consented to be his wife.
El fiel Juan, muy contento, la condujo entonces al barco, y cuando el Rey la vio, parecióle que su hermosura era todavía mayor que la del retrato, y el corazón empezó a latirle con tal violencia que se lo sentía a punto de estallar. Subió la princesa a bordo, y el Rey la acompañó al interior de la nave; pero el fiel Juan se quedó junto al piloto y le dio orden de zarpar: "¡Despliega todas las velas, para que el barco vuele más veloz que un pájaro!" Entretanto, el Rey mostraba a la princesa la vajilla de oro, pieza por pieza: fuentes, vasos y tazas, así como las aves y los animales silvestres y prodigiosos. Transcurrieron muchas horas así, y la princesa, absorta y arrobada, no se dio cuenta de que el barco se había hecho a la mar. Cuando ya lo hubo contemplado todo, dio las gracias al mercader y se dispuso a regresar a palacio, pero al subir a cubierta vio que estaba muy lejos de tierra y que el buque navegaba a toda vela: "¡Ay de mí!" exclamó. "¡Me han traicionado, me han raptado! ¡Estoy en manos de un mercader! ¡Mil veces morir!" Pero el Rey, tomándole la mano, le dijo: "Yo no soy un comerciante, sino un Rey, y de nacimiento no menos ilustre que el tuyo. Si te he raptado con un ardid, ha sido por el inmenso amor que te tengo. Es tan grande, que la primera vez que vi tu retrato caí al suelo sin sentido." Estas palabras apaciguaron a la princesa, y como ya sentía afecto por el Rey, aceptó de buen grado ser su esposa.


It so happened, however, while they were sailing onwards over the deep sea, that Faithful John, who was sitting on the fore part of the vessel, making music, saw three ravens in the air, which came flying towards them. On this he stopped playing and listened to what they were saying to each other, for that he well understood. One cried, "Oh, there he is carrying home the princess of the Golden Dwelling." - "Yes," replied the second, "but he has not got her yet." Said the third, "But he has got her, she is sitting beside him in the ship." Then the first began again, and cried, "What good will that do him? When they reach land a chestnut horse will leap forward to meet him, and the prince will want to mount it, but if he does that, it will run away with him, and rise up into the air with him, and he will never see his maiden more." Spake the second, "But is there no escape?" - "Oh, yes, if any one else gets on it swiftly, and takes out the pistol which must be in its holster, and shoots the horse dead with it, the young King is saved. But who knows that? And whosoever does know it, and tells it to him, will be turned to stone from the toe to the knee." Then said the second, "I know more than that; even if the horse be killed, the young King will still not keep his bride. When they go into the castle together, a wrought bridal garment will be lying there in a dish, and looking as if it were woven of gold and silver; it is, however, nothing but sulphur and pitch, and if he put it on, it will burn him to the very bone and marrow." Said the third, "Is there no escape at all?" - "Oh, yes," replied the second, "if any one with gloves on seizes the garment and throws it into the fire and burns it, the young King will be saved. "But what avails that?" Whosoever knows it and tells it to him, half his body will become stone from the knee to the heart." Then said the third, "I know still more; even if the bridal garment be burnt, the young King will still not have his bride. After the wedding, when the dancing begins and the young queen is dancing, she will suddenly turn pale and fall down as if dead, and if some one does not lift her up and draw three drops of blood from her right breast and spit them out again, she will die. But if any one who knows that were to declare it, he would become stone from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot." When the ravens had spoken of this together, they flew onwards, and Faithful John had well understood everything, but from that time forth he became quiet and sad, for if he concealed what he had heard from his master, the latter would be unfortunate, and if he discovered it to him, he himself must sacrifice his life. At length, however, he said to himself, "I will save my master, even if it bring destruction on myself."
Ocurrió, empero, mientras se hallaban aún en alta mar, que el fiel Juan, sentado en la proa del barco tocando un instrumento musical, vio en el aire tres cuervos que llegaban volando. Dejó entonces de tocar y se puso a escuchar su conversación, pues entendía su lenguaje. Dijo uno: "¡Fíjate! se lleva a su casa a la princesa del Tejado de Oro." - "Sí," respondió el segundo. "Pero aún no es suya." Y el tercero: "¿Cómo que no es suya? Si va con él en el barco." Volviendo a tomar la palabra el primero, dijo: "¡Qué importa! En cuanto desembarquen se le acercará al trote un caballo pardo, y él querrá montarlo; pero si lo hace, volarán ambos por los aires, y nunca más volverá el Rey a ver a su princesa." Dijo el segundo: "¿Y no hay ningún remedio?" - "Sí, lo hay: si otro se adelanta a montarlo y, con una pistola que va en el arzón del animal, lo mata de un tiro. Sólo de ese modo puede salvarse el Rey; pero, ¿quién va a saberlo? Y si alguien lo supiera y lo revelara, quedaría convertido en piedra desde las puntas de los pies hasta las rodillas." Habló entonces el segundo: "Todavía sé más. Aunque maten el caballo, tampoco tendrá el Rey a su novia. Cuando entren juntos en palacio, encontrarán en una bandeja una camisa de boda, que parecerá tejida de oro y plata, pero que en realidad será de azufre y pez. Si el Rey se la pone, se consumirá y quemará hasta la medula de los huesos." Preguntó el tercero: "¿Y no hay ningún remedio?" - "Sí, lo hay," contestó el otro. "Si alguien coge la camisa con guantes y la arroja al fuego, el Rey se salvará. ¡Pero eso de qué sirve! Si alguno lo sabe y lo dice al Rey, quedará convertido en piedra desde las rodillas hasta el corazón." Intervino entonces el tercero: "Pues yo sé más todavía. Aunque se queme la camisa, tampoco el Rey tendrá a su novia. Cuando, terminada la boda, empiece la danza y la joven reina salga a bailar, palidecerá de repente y caerá como muerta. Si no acude nadie a levantarla enseguida y no le sorbe del pecho derecho tres gotas de sangre y las vuelve a escupir inmediatamente, la reina morirá. Pero quien lo sepa y lo diga quedará convertido en estatua de piedra, desde la punta de los pies a la coronilla." Después de haber hablado así, los cuervos remontaron el vuelo, y el fiel Juan, que lo había oído y comprendido todo, permaneció desde entonces triste y taciturno; pues si callaba, haría desgraciado a su señor, y si hablaba, lo pagaría con su propia vida. Finalmente, se dijo, para sus adentros: "Salvaré a mi señor, aunque yo me pierda."


When therefore they came to shore, all happened as had been foretold by the ravens, and a magnificent chestnut horse sprang forward. "Good," said the King, "he shall carry me to my palace," and was about to mount it when Faithful John got before him, jumped quickly on it, drew the pistol out of the holster, and shot the horse. Then the other attendants of the King, who after all were not very fond of Faithful John, cried, "How shameful to kill the beautiful animal, that was to have carried the King to his palace." But the King said, "Hold your peace and leave him alone, he is my most faithful John, who knows what may be the good of that!" They went into the palace, and in the hall there stood a dish, and therein lay the bridal garment looking no otherwise than as if it were made of gold and silver. The young King went towards it and was about to take hold of it, but Faithful John pushed him away, seized it with gloves on, carried it quickly to the fire and burnt it. The other attendants again began to murmur, and said, "Behold, now he is even burning the King's bridal garment!" But the young King said, "Who knows what good he may have done, leave him alone, he is my most faithful John." And now the wedding was solemnized: the dance began, and the bride also took part in it; then Faithful John was watchful and looked into her face, and suddenly she turned pale and fell to the ground, as if she were dead. On this he ran hastily to her, lifted her up and bore her into a chamber - then he laid her down, and knelt and sucked the three drops of blood from her right breast, and spat them out. Immediately she breathed again and recovered herself, but the young King had seen this, and being ignorant why Faithful John had done it, was angry and cried, "Throw him into a dungeon." Next morning Faithful John was condemned, and led to the gallows, and when he stood on high, and was about to be executed, he said, "Every one who has to die is permitted before his end to make one last speech; may I too claim the right?" - "Yes," answered the King, "it shall be granted unto thee." Then said Faithful John, "I am unjustly condemned, and have always been true to thee," and he related how he had hearkened to the conversation of the ravens when on the sea, and how he had been obliged to do all these things in order to save his master. Then cried the King, "Oh, my most Faithful John. Pardon, pardon - bring him down." But as Faithful John spoke the last word he had fallen down lifeless and become a stone.
Al desembarcar sucedió lo que predijera el cuervo. Un magnífico alazán acercóse al trote: "¡Ea!" exclamó el Rey. "Este caballo me llevará a palacio." Y se disponía a montarlo cuando el fiel Juan, anticipándose, subióse en él de un salto y, sacando la pistola del arzón, abatió al animal de un tiro. Los servidores del Rey, que tenían ojeriza al fiel Juan, prorrumpieron en gritos: "¡Qué escándalo! ¡Matar a un animal tan hermoso, que debía conducir al Rey a palacio!" Pero el monarca dijo: "Callaos y dejadle hacer. Es mi fiel Juan. Él sabrá por qué lo hace." Al llegar al palacio y entrar en la sala, puesta en una bandeja, apareció la camisa de boda, resplandeciente como si fuese tejida de oro y plata. El joven Rey iba ya a cogerla, pero el fiel Juan, apartándolo y cogiendo la prenda con manos enguantadas, la arrojó rápidamente al fuego y estuvo vigilando hasta que la vio consumida. Los demás servidores volvieron a desatarse en murmuraciones: "¡Fijaos, ahora ha quemado la camisa de boda del Rey!" Pero éste dijo: "¡Quién sabe por qué lo hace! Dejadlo, que es mi fiel Juan." Celebróse la boda, y empezó el baile. La novia salió a bailar; el fiel Juan no la perdía de vista, mirándola a la cara. De repente palideció y cayó al suelo como muerta. Juan se lanzó sobre ella, la cogió en brazos y la llevó a una habitación; la depositó sobre una cama, y, arrodillándose, sorbió de su pecho derecho tres gotas de sangre y las escupió seguidamente. Al instante recobró la Reina el aliento y se repuso; pero el Rey, que había presenciado la escena y desconocía los motivos que inducían al fiel Juan a obrar de aquel modo, gritó lleno de cólera: "¡Encerradlo en un calabozo!" Al día siguiente, el leal criado fue condenado a morir y conducido a la horca. Cuando ya había subido la escalera, levantó la voz y dijo: "A todos los que han de morir se les concede la gracia de hablar antes de ser ejecutados. ¿No se me concederá también a mí este derecho?" - "Sí," dijo el Rey. "Te lo concedo." Entonces el fiel Juan habló de esta manera: "He sido condenado injustamente, pues siempre te he sido fiel." Y explicó el coloquio de los cuervos que había oído en alta mar y cómo tuvo que hacer aquellas cosas para salvar a su señor. Entonces exclamó el Rey: "¡Oh, mi fidelísimo Juan! ¡Gracia, gracia! ¡Bajadlo!" Pero al pronunciar la última palabra, el leal criado había caído sin vida, convertido en estatua de piedra.


Thereupon the King and the Queen suffered great anguish, and the King said, "Ah, how ill I have requited great fidelity!" and ordered the stone figure to be taken up and placed in his bedroom beside his bed. And as often as he looked on it he wept and said, "Ah, if I could bring thee to life again, my most faithful John." Some time passed and the Queen bore twins, two sons who grew fast and were her delight. Once when the Queen was at church and the two children were sitting playing beside their father, the latter full of grief again looked at the stone figure, sighed and said, "Ah, if I could but bring thee to life again, my most faithful John." Then the stone began to speak and said, "Thou canst bring me to life again if thou wilt use for that purpose what is dearest to thee." Then cried the King, "I will give everything I have in the world for thee." The stone continued, "If thou wilt will cut off the heads of thy two children with thine own hand, and sprinkle me with their blood, I shall be restored to life." The King was terrified when he heard that he himself must kill his dearest children, but he thought of faithful John's great fidelity, and how he had died for him, drew his sword, and with his own hand cut off the children's heads. And when he had smeared the stone with their blood, life returned to it, and Faithful John stood once more safe and healthy before him. He said to the King, "Thy truth shall not go unrewarded," and took the heads of the children, put them on again, and rubbed the wounds with their blood, on which they became whole again immediately, and jumped about, and went on playing as if nothing had happened. Then the King was full of joy, and when he saw the Queen coming he hid Faithful John and the two children in a great cupboard. When she entered, he said to her, "Hast thou been praying in the church?" - "Yes," answered she, "but I have constantly been thinking of Faithful John and what misfortune has befallen him through us." Then said he, "Dear wife, we can give him his life again, but it will cost us our two little sons, whom we must sacrifice." The Queen turned pale, and her heart was full of terror, but she said, "We owe it to him, for his great fidelity." Then the King was rejoiced that she thought as he had thought, and went and opened the cupboard, and brought forth Faithful John and the children, and said, "God be praised, he is delivered, and we have our little sons again also," and told her how everything had occurred. Then they dwelt together in much happiness until their death.
El Rey y la Reina se afligieron en su corazón. "¡Ay de mí!" se lamentaba el Rey. "¡Qué mal he pagado su gran fidelidad!" Y, mandando levantar la estatua de piedra, la hizo colocar en su alcoba, al lado de su lecho. Cada vez que la miraba, no podía contener las lágrimas, y decía: "¡Ay, ojalá pudiese devolverte la vida, mi fidelísimo Juan!" Transcurrió algún tiempo y la Reina dio a luz dos hijos gemelos, que crecieron y eran la alegría de sus padres. Un día en que la Reina estaba en la iglesia y los dos niños se habían quedado jugando con su padre, miró éste con tristeza la estatua de piedra y suspiró: "¡Ay, mi fiel Juan, si pudiese devolverte la vida!" Y he aquí que la estatua comenzó a hablar, diciendo: "Sí, puedes devolverme a vida, si para ello sacrificas lo que más quieres." A lo que respondió el Rey: "¡Por ti sacrificaría cuanto tengo en el mundo!" - "Siendo así," prosiguió la piedra, "corta con tu propia mano la cabeza a tus hijos y úntame con su sangre. ¡Sólo de este modo volveré a vivir!" Tembló el Rey al oír que tenía que dar muerte a sus queridos hijitos; pero al recordar la gran fidelidad de Juan, que había muerto por él, desenvainó la espada y cortó la cabeza a los dos niños. Y en cuanto hubo rociado la estatua con su sangre, animóse la piedra y el fiel Juan reapareció ante él, vivo y sano, y dijo al Rey: "Tu abnegación no quedará sin recompensa," y, cogiendo las cabezas de los niños, las aplicó debidamente sobre sus cuerpecitos y untó las heridas con su sangre. En el acto quedaron los niños lozanos y llenos de vida, saltando y jugando como si nada hubiese ocurrido. El Rey estaba lleno de contento. Cuando oyó venir a la Reina, ocultó a Juan y a los niños en un gran armario. Al entrar ella, díjole: "¿Has rezado en la iglesia?" - "Sí," respondió su esposa, "pero constantemente estuve pensando en el fiel Juan, que sacrificó su vida por nosotros." Dijo entonces el Rey: "Mi querida esposa, podemos devolverle la vida, pero ello nos costará sacrificar a nuestros dos hijitos." Palideció la Reina y sintió una terrible angustia en el corazón; sin embargo, dijo: "Se lo debemos, por su grandísima lealtad." El rey, contento al ver que su esposa pensaba como él, corrió al armario y, abriéndolo, hizo salir a sus dos hijos y a Juan, diciendo: "¡Loado sea Dios; está salvado y hemos recuperado también a nuestros hijitos!" Y le contó todo lo sucedido. Y desde entonces vivieron juntos y felices hasta la muerte.





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