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Princess Goldenhair
 by: Edric Vredenburg
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There was once a King's daughter who was the most beautiful thing in the world, and as her hair was fair and reached to her feet she was called the Princess Goldenhair.
A handsome young King in the neighbourhood, although he had never seen this Princess, fell so deeply in love with her from what he had heard, that he could neither eat nor sleep.
So an ambassador was sent with a magnificent chariot, more than a hundred horses, and fifty pages, to bring the Princess to the King, and great preparations were made for her reception.
But whether the Princess Goldenhair was in an ill humour when the ambassador arrived at her Court, or whatever was the reason, certain it is that she sent a message to the young King thanking him but saying that she did not wish to marry.
When the King heard of her refusal he wept like a child.
Now at his Court there was a young man called Avenant. He was as beautiful as the sun, and a more finely made fellow than any in the kingdom; everybody loved him except a few envious people, who were angry because the King favoured and confided in him, and in the presence of these, one day, Avenant incautiously remarked,
"If the King had sent me to fetch the Princess Goldenhair, I am certain she would have come," and these words were repeated to the King in such a manner that they made him very angry, and he ordered Avenant to be shut up in a high tower, to die of hunger.
In this sad plight, Avenant exclaimed one day, "How have I offended his Majesty? He has no more faithful subject than I."
The King who happened to be passing by the tower, heard this; he called for Avenant to be brought forth who, throwing himself on his knees, begged to know in what way he had offended his royal master.
"You mocked me," said the King, "you said that you would have succeeded with the Princess Goldenhair where I have failed."
"It is true, sir," replied Avenant, "I did say so, for I would have represented your noble qualities in such a way, that she could not help being persuaded."
The King was convinced of the young man's sincerity, and with a letter of introduction, Avenant set out for the Court of the goldenhaired beauty, riding alone, according to his wish, and thinking as he went how he best could woo the Princess for his beloved master.
One day, alighting from his horse to write down some suitable words that had come into his mind, he saw a golden carp who, leaping from the water to catch flies, had thrown herself upon the river bank, and was now nearly dead.
Avenant pitied the poor thing, and put her carefully back into the water. Recovering directly, the carp dived to the bottom, but returning to the edge of the river, said,
"Avenant, I thank you; you have saved my life, I will repay you;" then she swam off leaving the young man in great astonishment.
Another day as Avenant journeyed he noticed a raven who was pursued by an eagle. "What right has that eagle to persecute the raven? thought Avenant, and he drew his bow and shot the fierce bird. The raven perched on a bough and cried.
"Avenant you have saved my life, I will not be ungrateful, I will repay you."
Not long after this, Avenant found an owl caught in a snare, he cut the strings, and freed  the trembling captive. "Avenant," said the owl, "you have saved my life, I will repay you."
These three adventures were the most important that befell Avenant, and he went on his way, shortly before he arrived at his destination purchasing a beautiful little dog named Cabriole.
When Avenant reached the Palace of the Princess Goldenhair, and saw the Princess seated upon her throne, she looked so lovely that at first all his fine speeches forsook him, and he could not utter a word; however, taking courage, he addressed her in exquisitely chosen language, begging her to become the King's bride.
To this the Princess replied most graciously, saying that his petition moved her more than any other could do, "but know," she added, "as I was walking by the river a month ago, as I took off my glove, a ring, that I greatly value, fell into the water, and I have vowed that I will not heed any proposal of marriage, except from the ambassador who brings me back my ring."
Sad at heart Avenant left the Palace, but his little dog, Cabriole, said, "My dear master, do not despair, you are too good to be unhappy. Early to-morrow morning let us go to the river-side." Avenant patted him, but did not answer, and, still sad, fell asleep.
As soon as it was day, Cabriole awoke him saying, "Dress yourself, my master, and come out."
They wandered down to the river, and there Avenant heard a voice calling him, and what should he see but the golden carp, with the Princess's ring in her mouth. "Take it, dear Avenant," said she, "I promised to repay you for saving my life, and now I can fulfil my promise."
Thanking her a thousand times, Avenant, going at once to the Palace, said, "Princess, your command is fulfilled; may it please you to receive the King, my master, as your husband."
The Princess thought she must be dreaming when she saw the ring, but she set Avenant another task.
 "Not far from here there is a prince named Galifron," said she; "he wishes to marry me, and threatens to ravish my kingdom if I  refuse; but how can I accept him? He is a giant, taller than my highest tower, he eats a man as a monkey would eat a chestnut, and when he speaks, his voice is so loud that it deafens those who hear him. He will not take my refusal, but kills my subjects. You must fight and bring me his head."
"Well, madam," replied Avenant, "I will fight Galifron; I expect I shall be killed, but I shall die a brave man." And, taking Cabriole, Avenant set out for Galifron's country, asking news of the giant as he went along, and the more he heard the more he feared him, but Cabriole reassured him. "My dear master," said the little dog, "while you are fighting him I will bite his legs, then he will stoop to chase me, and you will kill him." Avenant admired the bravery of the little dog, but he knew his help would not be sufficient.
Presently they perceived how the roads were covered with the bones of the men that Galifron had eaten, and soon they saw the giant coming towards them through a wood. His head was higher than the highest trees, and he sang in a terrific voice:
"Where are the children small, so small,
With my teeth I will crush them all,
On so many would I feed, feed, feed.
The whole world can't supply my need."
Using the same tune, Avenant began to sing:
"Look down, here is Avenant beneath, beneath
He will draw from your head, the teeth, the teeth
Although he is not very big, 'tis true,
He is able to fight with such as you."
The giant put himself into a terrible passion, and would have killed Avenant with one blow, only a raven from above flew at his head, and pecked him straight in the eyes, so violently that he was blinded. He began striking out on all sides, but Avenant avoided his blows, and with his sword pierced him so many times that at last he fell to the ground. Then Avenant cut off his head, and the raven, who had perched on a tree, said,
"I have not forgotten how you rescued me from the eagle; I promised to repay you, I think I have done so to-day."
"I owe everything to you, Mr. Raven," responded Avenant, as, holding Galifron's head, he rode off.
When he entered the town, crowds followed him crying, "Here is the brave Avenant who has slain the monster."
Avenant advanced to the Princess, and said, "Madam, your enemy is dead. I hope you will no more refuse the King, my master."
"Although it is so," answered the Princess, "I shall refuse him unless you will bring me some water from the Grotto of Darkness. At the entrance there are two dragons, with fire in their eyes and mouths; inside the grotto there is a deep pit into which you must descend, it is full of toads, scorpions, and serpents. At the bottom of this pit there is a little cave where flows the fountain of beauty and health. Positively I must possess the water; all who wash in it, if they are beautiful, continue so always, if they are ugly they become beautiful; if they are young they remain young, if they are old they regain their youth. You cannot wonder, Avenant, that I will not leave my kingdom without taking it with me."
So once more Avenant and Cabriole set out; they journeyed on until they came to a rock, black as ink, from which smoke was issuing, and a moment later there appeared one of the dragons belching forth fire from his eyes and mouth. He was a frightful looking creature with a green and yellow body, and his tail was so long that it went into a hundred curves. Avenant saw all this, but  resolved to die, he drew his sword, and, carrying the flask the Princess had given to him to hold the water, he said to Cabriole:
"My days are ended, I can never obtain that water the dragons are guarding; when I am dead, fill this flask with my blood and carry it to the Princess, that she may know what it has cost me, then go to the King, my master, and tell him of my misfortune."
As he was speaking, a voice called, "Avenant, Avenant," and looking around he saw an owl. "You saved my life from the fowlers," said the owl. "I promised to repay you, the time has now come. Give me your flask. I will bring you the water of beauty."
And carrying the flask, the owl entered the grotto, unhindered, returning in less than a quarter of an hour with it full to the brim. Avenant thanked the owl heartily, and joyously started for the town, where he presented the flask to the Princess, who immediately gave orders to prepare for her departure.
But as she considered Avenant altogether charming, before she set out, she several times said to him: "If you wish, we need not go, for I will make you king of my country." But Avenant made reply:
"I would not displease my master for all the kingdoms of earth, although your beauty I consider greater than that of the sun."
Thus they arrived at the King's capital, and the wedding took place amidst great rejoicings; but Princess Goldenhair, who loved Avenant from the depths of her heart, was not happy unless she could see him, and was for ever singing his praises. "I should not have come, had it not been for Avenant," she told the King, "you ought to be very much obliged to him." Then the envious courtiers counselled the King, and Avenant was cast once more into the tower, chained hand and foot. When Princess Goldenhair heard of this imprisonment, she fell on her knees before the King, and begged for Avenant's release; but he would not heed her, so that she became saddened and would speak no more.
Then the King thought: "Maybe I am not handsome enough to please her!" so he determined to wash his face in the water of beauty.
Now it had happened that a chamber-maid had broken the flask containing this wonderful water, so that it was all spilled; then,  without saying anything to anyone, she had replaced it by a similar flask taken from the King's apartment, but the liquid in this flask was really that which was used when the princes or great lords were condemned to death, for, instead of being beheaded, their faces were washed with this water and they fell asleep and did not wake again. And so the King using this water one evening, thinking it to be the beauty water, and hoping and expecting to be made more handsome, went to sleep and awoke no more. Upon hearing what had occurred, Cabriole at once went and told Avenant, who asked him to go to the Princess Goldenhair and beseech her to remember the poor prisoner. When the Princess received this message, she went straight to the tower, and, with her own hands, struck off the chains that bound Avenant, and placing a crown of gold upon his head, and a royal mantle upon his shoulders, said: "Come, dear Avenant, I will make you King, and take you for my husband." Then there was a grand wedding, and Princess Goldenhair and Avenant, with Cabriole, lived long, all of them happy and contented.