The young shepherd was not a little enraptured by the beauty of the
princess; and he was so inspired by his admiration and delight, that
he was able to speak boldly and confidently to the monarch.
"I come," said he, "most humbly to offer to your majesty my services
as a warrior. The army I bring to you shall gain the victory for you;
and it shall win for your majesty whatever you may be pleased to
desire. But I ask of you one recompense, namely, that if I gain the
victory for you, I may receive your lovely daughter in marriage. Will
you grant me this, my most gracious king?"
The king was astonished at the youth's bold address, and answered: "Be
it so - I agree to your request. If you return home a conqueror, you
shall be my successor, and I will give you my daughter in marriage."
The _ci-devant_ shepherd now betook himself all alone to the open
plain, and began to strike his sword here and there in the ground, and
in a few minutes there stood on the plain many thousand well-armed
combatants, and the youth himself, richly armed and adorned, sat as
their leader on a noble horse decked with gold embroidered housings
and a lustrous bridle. The young general led his troops against the
foe, and a bloody battle was fought. Unceasing death-shots thundered
from the commander's hat, and his sword called up one regiment after
another from the ground, so that in a few hours the enemy was
vanquished and scattered, and the flag of victory waved above the
conquered camp. The victor pursued and conquered from his foe a
considerable portion of his country. Victorious, and crowned with
glory, he returned to Spain, where his greatest good fortune still
awaited him. The fair daughter of the king had been no less struck by
the handsome youth whom she met in the hall, than he had been by her;
and the most gracious monarch knew how to value duly the great service
rendered to him by the brave young man. He kept his word - gave him his
daughter in marriage, and made him heir to his throne.
[Illustration: THE PROPHETIC DREAM. P. 406.]
The nuptials were celebrated with the greatest magnificence, and he
who had so shortly before been only a shepherd youth sat now in high
estate. Soon after the wedding the old king resigned his crown and
sceptre into the hands of his son-in-law, who, seated proudly on the
throne, with his beautiful consort beside him, received the oath of
allegiance from his people.
Then he thought of his so quickly-fulfilled dream and of his poor
parents, and when he was alone with his wife, he thus addressed her:
"My beloved, know that I have parents living still, but they are very
poor; my father is a village herdsman, dwelling far away in Germany,
where I myself, as a boy, looked after cattle, until a marvellous
dream revealed to me that I should become king of Spain. Fortune has
been favourable to me; I am now a king, but I would willingly see my
parents also prosperous, therefore with your kind consent I will
return to my former home, and bring my parents hither."
The young queen was well content that her husband should do as he
proposed, so he set off and travelled of course very fast, being
possessed of the seven-mile boots. On his way the young monarch
restored the magical articles which he had taken from the robbers to
their rightful owners, retaining only the boots; he carried back with
him his parents, who were almost beside themselves for joy, and to the
former owner of the boots he gave a dukedom in exchange for them.
After that he lived happily and worthily all the rest of his days.
* * * * *