The Swineherdpage 2 / 5
“How much the bird reminds me of the musical box of the late lamented empress,” said an old courtier, “it has exactly the same tone, the same execution.”
“You are right,” said the emperor, and began to cry like a little child.
“I hope it is not natural,” said the princess.
“Yes, certainly it is natural,” replied those who had brought the presents.
“Then let it fly,” said the princess, and refused to see the prince.
But the prince was not discouraged. He painted his face, put on common clothes, pulled his cap over his forehead, and came back.
“Good day, emperor,” he said, “could you not give me some employment at the court?”
“There are so many,” replied the emperor, “who apply for places, that for the present I have no vacancy, but I will remember you. But wait a moment; it just comes into my mind, I require somebody to look after my pigs, for I have a great many.”
Thus the prince was appointed imperial swineherd, and as such he lived in a wretchedly small room near the pigsty; there he worked all day long, and when it was night he had made a pretty little pot. There were little bells round the rim, and when the water began to boil in it, the bells began to play the old tune:
“A jolly old sow once lived in a sty,
Three little piggies had she,” &c.
But what was more wonderful was that, when one put a finger into the steam rising from the pot, one could at once smell what meals they were preparing on every fire in the whole town. That was indeed much more remarkable than the rose. When the princess with her ladies passed by and heard the tune, she stopped and looked quite pleased, for she also could play it—in fact, it was the only tune she could play, and she played it with one finger.
“That is the tune I know,” she exclaimed. “He must be a well-educated swineherd. Go and ask him how much the instrument is.”