从前有个王子，他不愿留在他父王的宫殿中，因为他什么都不怕，他想："我要去逛逛大千世界，在那儿时间对我来说才不会再漫长难熬，因为我会看到许多稀奇古怪的东西。"于是他辞别了父母走了。 他从早走到晚，日夜不停，也不择路，因为不管走那条路对他来说都是一样。 一天他来到了一个巨人的屋前，因为实在太累了，便坐在门边休息。 他两眼瞅瞅这、瞅瞅那，马上就盯上了巨人放在院中的玩物。 那儿有几个大球，还有像人一般大小的九柱球。 过了一会儿，他想去玩玩那木球，便把木柱立起来，再拿球撞它们，木球柱倒下时，他又笑又叫，高兴得不得了。 巨人听到吵声，从窗里探出头来，看见一个比别人都矮的人在玩自己的九柱球游戏。 "小东西，"他叫道，"你干吗玩我的球？谁给了你这么大的力量？"王子抬头看见了巨人，也说："哦，你这笨蛋，你以为只有你的胳膊有力吗？我想做什么就能做什么！"巨人便走了下来，满脸欣羡地看他玩滚球游戏，并说："小家伙，如果你真是那种人，去替我从生命树上摘个苹果来。""你要那干什么？"王子问。 "并不是我自己要，"巨人说，"我有一个未婚妻，她想要。我跑遍了世界也找不着那颗树。""我会很快找到它的，"王子说，"我不知道有什么能够阻止我摘下那个苹果。"巨人说："你那么自信这事情很简单？那棵树长在一个四周围有铁栏杆的花园里，栏杆前躺着吓人的野兽，它们一个紧挨着一个守候着花园，谁也不让进。""他们一定会让我进的，"王子说。 "那好，但即使你进得去，看见了那悬在树上的苹果，它仍不是你的。它前面还挂着个环，谁想拿到那苹果都得把手伸进去，但还没有人有这运气。""好运一定属于我。"王子说。
门口果真满是怪兽，但它们一个个耸拉着脑袋，醉入了梦乡，就是等他走近时，它们也没醒来。 于是王子跨过它们身子，爬上篱笆，平安无事地到达了花园。 那棵生命树就立在花园的正中央，红红的苹果挂满了树枝，在阳光下熠熠生辉。 他爬上树顶，伸手就要去摘那个苹果，猛地看到了套在它前面的圆环，但是他毫不费力地把手伸了进去，拿到了那个苹果。 突然圆环箍住了他的胳膊，他只感到一股强大的力量传遍了全身。 他拿着苹果跳下树梢后，没再跨过篱笆，而是抓住了大门，设想根本没怎么撞它就"砰"地一声开了，于是他走了出来。 这时躺在门口的狮子醒了，马上跳起来跟着他跑，却一点也不恼怒，也不让人觉得残忍恐怖，只是把他当成主子一样地顺从地跟着他。
王子把那个苹果交给巨人，说："你瞧见了吧，我毫不费力就把它弄来了。"巨人可高兴啦，想不到自己的愿望这么快就实现了。 他马上跑到未婚妻那里，把那个她一直想要的苹果给了她。 那可是个又美丽又聪明的少女 ，当他看到巨人手上没有圆环时，说："我不会相信这苹果是你摘的，除非我看到了你手上戴有圆环。"巨人说："那我只好回去把它拿来。"他以为那还不容易，管那个小人儿愿不愿意，他用强力夺过来就行。 于是他要王子把圆环取下来，但王子并不答应。 "苹果在哪里，圆环也该在哪里，"巨人说，"如果你一意孤行，你就和我来干一架。"
他们于是便开始撕打起来，但过了好久巨人也没能伤着王子，因为王子有那圆环的魔力而力量大增。 于是巨人施了一条诡计，说："打了这么久，我都热了，你也一样。我们不如先到河里洗个澡，凉凉身子再开战吧。"王子并不知其中有诈，跟着巨人来到河边，先脱下衣服，然后把圆环也从胳膊上脱下来，然后跳进水里。 巨人见状拿起圆环就跑了。 但那只狮子看见了，马上追了上去，从他手中夺过了圆环，并把它交还给了主人。 于是巨人躲到橡树后面，趁王子忙于穿衣之际，突袭他并把他的双眼挖了出来。
现在那可怜的王子站在那儿，双目失明不知如何是好。 巨人走到他身边，像一个领路人一样牵着他的手，把他带上一块巨石的顶端。 他让王子站在上边，心想："再走两步，他就会坠下悬崖，粉身碎骨，到那时，我就能从他的胳膊上褪下圆环。"但那只忠实的狮子并没有忘记它的主人，它叼住了王子的衣服，把他慢慢地拖了回来。 等巨人来想把圆环偷走时，发现自己的诡计又落空了。 "难道就没有办法弄死那个小人吗？"他生气了，抓起王子顺着另一条路又把王子领上了悬崖。 但那只狮子又瞧出了他的诡计，便又帮助主人逃脱了魔爪：当他们走近崖边时，巨人放开了盲人的手，想把他一个人留在那里，但是狮子追上前去推了巨人一把，这样巨人就坠下了山崖，跌得粉身碎骨。
那忠实的狮子又把主人从悬崖上救了回来，把他引到一棵树前，树边流淌着清澈的溪水。 王子坐在那儿，只见那狮子也趴下来，用爪子把水溅在王子的脸上。 有几滴水滴进了王子的眼眶里 ，一下子王子又能看见些东西了。 他看见一只小鸟从旁边飞来，撞在一棵树上，双眼受伤了，它便落入水中，洗涤全身，然后再向上飞，就好像它的双眼又重见光明。 接着王子又认出了上帝的指示，便俯身跳进水里洗净面庞。 等他再起来时，他的双眼比以前更亮更明了。
王子感谢了上帝的恩赐，继续和他的狮子周游世界。 这天他来到了一座魔宫前，发现大门口坐着一位美丽雅致的姑娘，却相当黑。 姑娘对他说："啊，要是你能揭去我身上的魔符该有多好！""我该怎么办呢？"王子问。 "你得在这魔宫里住三夜，但你不能有丝毫畏惧。魔鬼会竭力折磨你，如果你能承受这份折磨，不发出一点声音，那我就自由了，他们不会要你的命的。"王子于是说："我一点都不怕；上帝会保佑我的，我去试试看。"他就这样喜滋滋地走进宫里，天黑时坐在大厅里耐心等待。 一时万籁俱静，然而到了深夜却响起了一片喧哗声，洞里、拐角处猛地钻出了许多恶魔。 他们好像没发现他，自顾自地坐在大厅的中央，升起一堆火开始赌博。 有人输了，他说："这不对，房间里有个不属于我们的人在这里，我输了得怪他。""等一等，你们都呆在壁炉后面，我来了。"另一个说。 尖叫声越来越大，这声音听了真叫人毛骨悚然。 王子坐在那儿，一声不吭，一点都不害怕。 众魔鬼最后还是从地上跳起来一齐向他扑来，魔鬼的数量越来越多，使他根本不能自救。 他们把王子拖倒在地，抓他、掐他、拖他、拧他，百般折磨他。 但他没有发出任何声音。 天快亮时，众魔鬼走了，他累得几乎不能动弹。 但天刚破晓，那黑姑娘就跑了进来，她手托一小瓶生命水，倒在他身上，为他擦洗身子，他立刻觉得再无痛楚，而且平添了一份新的力量。 "夜里你做得很好，但还有两夜在后头。"姑娘说完就走了。 在她走的时候，王子发现她的脚变白了。 第二天晚上，魔鬼又来赌博。 他们同样又扑向王子，比前一晚上更残忍地折磨他，直到他遍体鳞伤为止。 他静静地忍受着折磨，他们被迫离开了他。 天破晓时，姑娘又过来用生命水治好了他的伤。 等她走时，他高兴地发现她全身已经白到了手指尖。 现在他只要再忍耐一晚了，但这次的折磨更甚于前。 众魔鬼又跑过来，"你还在这儿？"他们叫道，"这次我们可得把你整死。"他们掐他、打他，把他扔来扔去，扯他的手和脚，差点把王子撕碎。 但王子还是忍受了，没有发出一点声音。 最后众魔鬼又消失了，但这次王子却晕倒在地，动弹不得，连头也抬不起了。 姑娘跑了过来，用生命水为他擦洗伤口，他就再不觉得痛了，还一下子变得精神抖擞，神采奕奕，似乎刚从梦中醒来。 他睁开双眼，看见一个白净的姑娘站在身旁，美丽无比。 "坐起来，"姑娘说道，"到楼上去把你的宝剑挥舞三下，一切便都获救了。"等他照着做了，整个宫殿都挣脱了魔咒，姑娘原来是位富贵的公主。 仆人们都跑来说餐桌已经摆好，饭已备好，于是他俩坐下来又吃又喝，当晚在欢庆声中举行了婚礼。
There was once a King's son, who was no longer content to stay at home in his father's house, and as he had no fear of anything, he thought, "I will go forth into the wide world, there the time will not seem long to me, and I shall see wonders enough." So he took leave of his parents, and went forth, and on and on from morning till night, and whichever way his path led it was the same to him. It came to pass that he got to the house of a giant, and as he was so tired he sat down by the door and rested. And as he let his eyes roam here and there, he saw the giant's playthings lying in the yard. These were a couple of enormous balls, and nine-pins as tall as a man. After a while he had a fancy to set the nine-pins up and then rolled the balls at them, and screamed and cried out when the nine-pins fell, and had a merry time of it. The giant heard the noise, stretched his head out of the window, and saw a man who was not taller than other men, and yet played with his nine-pins. "Little worm," cried he, "why art thou playing with my balls? Who gave thee strength to do it?" The King's son looked up, saw the giant, and said, "Oh, thou blockhead, thou thinkest indeed that thou only hast strong arms, I can do everything I want to do." The giant came down and watched the bowling with great admiration, and said, "Child of man, if thou art one of that kind, go and bring me an apple of the tree of life." - "What dost thou want with it?" said the King's son. "I do not want the apple for myself," answered the giant, "but I have a betrothed bride who wishes for it. I have travelled far about the world and cannot find the tree." - "I will soon find it," said the King's son, "and I do not know what is to prevent me from getting the apple down." The giant said, "Thou really believest it to be so easy! The garden in which the tree stands is surrounded by an iron railing, and in front of the railing lie wild beasts, each close to the other, and they keep watch and let no man go in." - "They will be sure to let me in," said the King's son. "Yes, but even if thou dost get into the garden, and seest the apple hanging to the tree, it is still not thine; a ring hangs in front of it, through which any one who wants to reach the apple and break it off, must put his hand, and no one has yet had the luck to do it." - "That luck will be mine," said the King's son.
Then he took leave of the giant, and went forth over mountain and valley, and through plains and forests, until at length he came to the wondrous garden.
The beasts lay round about it, but they had put their heads down and were asleep. Moreover, they did not awake when he went up to them, so he stepped over them, climbed the fence, and got safely into the garden. There, in the very middle of it, stood the tree of life, and the red apples were shining upon the branches. He climbed up the trunk to the top, and as he was about to reach out for an apple, he saw a ring hanging before it; but he thrust his hand through that without any difficulty, and gathered the apple. The ring closed tightly on his arm, and all at once he felt a prodigious strength flowing through his veins. When he had come down again from the tree with the apple, he would not climb over the fence, but grasped the great gate, and had no need to shake it more than once before it sprang open with a loud crash. Then he went out, and the lion which had been lying down before, was awake and sprang after him, not in rage and fierceness, but following him humbly as its master.
The King's son took the giant the apple he had promised him, and said, "Seest thou, I have brought it without difficulty." The giant was glad that his desire had been so soon satisfied, hastened to his bride, and gave her the apple for which she had wished. She was a beautiful and wise maiden, and as she did not see the ring on his arm, she said, "I shall never believe that thou hast brought the apple, until I see the ring on thine arm." The giant said, "I have nothing to do but go home and fetch it," and thought it would be easy to take away by force from the weak man, what he would not give of his own free will. He therefore demanded the ring from him, but the King's son refused it. "Where the apple is, the ring must be also," said the giant; "if thou wilt not give it of thine own accord, thou must fight with me for it."
They wrestled with each other for a long time, but the giant could not get the better of the King's son, who was strengthened by the magical power of the ring. Then the giant thought of a stratagem, and said, "I have got warm with fighting, and so hast thou. We will bathe in the river, and cool ourselves before we begin again." The King's son, who knew nothing of falsehood, went with him to the water, and pulled off with his clothes the ring also from his arm, and sprang into the river. The giant instantly snatched the ring, and ran away with it, but the lion, which had observed the theft, pursued the giant, tore the ring out of his hand, and brought it back to its master. Then the giant placed himself behind an oak-tree, and while the King's son was busy putting on his clothes again, surprised him, and put both his eyes out.
And now the unhappy King's son stood there, and was blind and knew not how to help himself. Then the giant came back to him, took him by the hand as if he were someone who wanted to guide him, and led him to the top of a high rock. There he left him standing, and thought, "Just two steps more, and he will fall down and kill himself, and I can take the ring from him." But the faithful lion had not deserted its master; it held him fast by the clothes, and drew him gradually back again. When the giant came and wanted to rob the dead man, he saw that his cunning had been in vain. "Is there no way, then, of destroying a weak child of man like that?" said he angrily to himself, and seized the King's son and led him back again to the precipice by another way, but the lion which saw his evil design, helped its master out of danger here also. When they had got close to the edge, the giant let the blind man's hand drop, and was going to leave him behind alone, but the lion pushed the giant so that he was thrown down and fell, dashed to pieces, on the ground.
The faithful animal again drew its master back from the precipice, and guided him to a tree by which flowed a clear brook. The King's son sat down there, but the lion lay down, and sprinkled the water in his face with its paws. Scarcely had a couple of drops wetted the sockets of his eyes, than he was once more able to see something, and remarked a little bird flying quite close by, which wounded itself against the trunk of a tree. On this it went down to the water and bathed itself therein, and then it soared upwards and swept between the trees without touching them, as if it had recovered its sight again. Then the King's son recognized a sign from God and stooped down to the water, and washed and bathed his face in it. And when he arose he had his eyes once more, brighter and clearer than they had ever been.
The King's son thanked God for his great mercy, and travelled with his lion onwards through the world. And it came to pass that he arrived before a castle which was enchanted. In the gateway stood a maiden of beautiful form and fine face, but she was quite black. She spoke to him and said, "Ah, if thou couldst but deliver me from the evil spell which is thrown over me." - "What shall I do?" said the King's son. The maiden answered, "Thou must pass three nights in the great hall of this enchanted castle, but thou must let no fear enter thy heart. When they are doing their worst to torment thee, if thou bearest it without letting a sound escape thee, I shall be free. Thy life they dare not take." Then said the King's son, "I have no fear; with God's help I will try it." So he went gaily into the castle, and when it grew dark he seated himself in the large hall and waited. Everything was quiet, however, till midnight, when all at once a great tumult began, and out of every hole and corner came little devils. They behaved as if they did not see him, seated themselves in the middle of the room, lighted a fire, and began to gamble. When one of them lost, he said, "It is not right; some one is here who does not belong to us; it is his fault that I am losing." - "Wait, you fellow behind the stove, I am coming," said another. The screaming became still louder, so that no one could have heard it without terror. The King's son stayed sitting quite quietly, and was not afraid; but at last the devils jumped up from the ground, and fell on him, and there were so many of them that he could not defend himself from them. They dragged him about on the floor, pinched him, pricked him, beat him, and tormented him, but no sound escaped from him. Towards morning they disappeared, and he was so exhausted that he could scarcely move his limbs, but when day dawned the black maiden came to him. She bore in her hand a little bottle wherein was the water of life wherewith she washed him, and he at once felt all pain depart and new strength flow through his veins. She said, "Thou hast held out successfully for one night, but two more lie before thee." Then she went away again, and as she was going, he observed that her feet had become white. The next night the devils came and began their gambols anew. They fell on the King's son, and beat him much more severely than the night before, until his body was covered with wounds. But as he bore all quietly, they were forced to leave him, and when dawn appeared, the maiden came and healed him with the water of life. And when she went away, he saw with joy that she had already become white to the tips of her fingers. And now he had only one night more to go through, but it was the worst. The hob-goblins came again: "Art thou there still?" cried they, "thou shalt be tormented till thy breath stops." They pricked him and beat him, and threw him here and there, and pulled him by the arms and legs as if they wanted to tear him to pieces, but he bore everything, and never uttered a cry. At last the devils vanished, but he lay fainting there, and did not stir, nor could he raise his eyes to look at the maiden who came in, and sprinkled and bathed him with the water of life. But suddenly he was freed from all pain, and felt fresh and healthy as if he had awakened from sleep, and when he opened his eyes he saw the maiden standing by him, snow-white, and fair as day. "Rise," said she, "and swing thy sword three times over the stairs, and then all will be delivered." And when he had done that, the whole castle was released from enchantment, and the maiden was a rich King's daughter. The servants came and said that the table was already set in the great hall, and dinner served up. Then they sat down and ate and drank together, and in the evening the wedding was solemnized with great rejoicings.