But True Steel learned their flight directly, and ran after them. When he reached them, he fixed an arrow to his bow, and cried to the king's son, "Do you prefer to die by the arrow or by the sword?" The king's son asked pardon, and True Steel said, "I pardon you also the second life; but I warn you! never come here again after your wife, for I will not pardon you any more! I shall kill you on the spot!" Saying that, he carried the wife back to the cave, and the prince remained, thinking all the time how he could save her.
At last he said to himself, "Why should I fear True Steel, when I have yet two lives? One of which he has made me a present, and one which is my own?" So he decided to return again to the cave next morning, when True Steel was absent. He saw his wife, and said to her, "Let us fly!" She objected, saying, "It is of no use to fly, when True Steel would certainly overtake us." However, her husband forced her to go with him, and they went away. True Steel, however, overtook them quickly, and shouted, "Wait a bit! This time I will not pardon you!" The prince became afraid, and begged him to pardon him also this time, and True Steel said to him, "You know I promised to give you three lives, so now I give you this one, but it is the third and last." Now you have only one life, so go home, and do not risk losing the one life God gave you!"
Then the prince, seeing he could do nothing against this great power, turned back, reflecting, however, all the time, as to the best way of getting his wife back from True Steel.
At last, he remembered what his brothers-in-law had said to him when they gave him their feathers. Then he said to himself, "I will try this fourth time to get my wife back; if I come to trouble, I will burn the feathers, and see if my brothers-in-law will come to help me".
Hereupon he went back once more towards the cavern wherein his wife was kept, and, as he saw from a distance that True Steel was just leaving the cave, he went near and showed himself to his wife. She was surprised and terrified, and exclaimed, "Are you so tired of your life that you come back again to me?" Then he told her about his brothers-in-law, and how each of them had given him one of their feathers, and had promised to come to help him whenever he needed their assistance. "Therefore," added he, "I am come once more to take you away; let us start at once".
This they did. The same moment, however, True Steel heard of it, and shouted from afar, "Stop, prince! You cannot run away!" And then the king's son, seeing True Steel so near him, quickly took out a flint and tinder-box, struck some sparks, and burned all three feathers. Whilst he was doing this, however, True Steel reached him, and, with his sword, cut the prince in two parts. That moment came the King of Dragons, rushing with his whole army of dragons, the King of Falcons, with all his falcons, and the King of Eagles, with his mighty host of eagles, and they all attacked True Steel. Torrents of blood were shed, but after all True Steel caught up the woman and fled away.
Then the three kings gave all their attention to their brother-in-law, and determined to bring him back to life. Thereupon they asked three of the most active dragons which of them could bring them, in the shortest time, some water from the river Jordan.
One said, "I could bring it in half an hour." The second said, "I can go and return in ten minutes." The third dragon said, "I can bring it in nine seconds." Then the three kings said to the last one, "Go, dragon; and make haste!" Then this dragon exhibited all his fiery might, and in nine seconds, as he had promised, he came back with water from the Jordan.
The kings took the water and poured it on the places where the prince was wounded, and, as they did so, the wound closed up, the body joined together, and the king's son sprang up alive.
Then the three kings counselled him: "Now that you are saved from death, go home!" But the prince answered, he would at all events yet once more try to get his wife back. The kings, his brothers-in-law, again spoke, "Do not try again! Indeed, you will be lost if you go, for now you have only one life which God gave you!"
The king's son, however, would not listen to their advice. So the kings told him, "Well, then, if you are still determined to go, at least do not take your wife away immediately, but tell her to ask True Steel where his strength lies, and then come and tell us, in order that we may help you to conquer him!"
So the prince went secretly and saw his wife, and told her how she could persuade True Steel to tell her where his strength was. He then left her and went away.
When True Steel came home, the wife of the king's son asked him, "Tell me, now, where is your great strength?" He answered, "My wife, my strength is in my sword!" Then she began to pray, and turned to his sword. When True Steel saw that, he burst out laughing, and said, "O foolish woman! my strength is not in my sword, but in my bow and arrows!" Then she turned towards the bow and arrows and prayed.
Then True Steel said, "I see, my wife, you have a clever teacher who has taught you to find out where my strength lies! I could almost say that your husband is living, and it is he who teaches you!"
But she assured him that no one taught her, for she had no longer anyone to do so.
After some days her husband came, and when she told him she could not learn anything from True Steel, he said, "Try again!" and went away.
When True Steel came home she began again to ask him the secret of his strength. Then he answered her, "Since you think so much of my strength, I will tell you truly where it is." And he continued, "Far away from this place there is a very high mountain; in the mountain there is a fox; in the fox there is a heart; in the heart there is a bird, and in this bird is my strength. It is no easy task, however, to catch that fox, for she can transform herself into a multitude of creatures".
Next day, as soon as True Steel left the cave, the king's son came to his wife, and she told him all she had learned. Then the prince hurried away to his brothers-in-law, who waited, all three impatient to see him, and to hear where was the strength of True Steel. When they heard, all three went away at once with the prince to find the mountain. Having got there, they set the eagles to chase the fox, but the fox ran to a lake, which was in the midst of the mountain, and changed herself into a six-winged golden bird. Then the falcons pursued her, and drove her out of the lake, and she flew into the clouds, but there the dragons hurried after her. So she changed herself again into a fox, and began to run along the earth, but the rest of the eagles stopped her, surrounded, and caught her.
The three kings then ordered the fox to be killed, and her heart to be taken out. A great fire was made and the bird was taken out of the heart and burnt. That very moment True Steel fell down dead, and the prince took his wife and returned home with her.