But it was not very long before the Emperor observed that, little by little, his youngest daughter was growing sadder and thinner. "What if she has broken my commands?" thought he, and as it were a red-hot iron pierced his soul. Then he called his daughters to him, and bade them speak the truth. They confessed, but they did not say which of them had first persuaded them.
When the Emperor heard this he was filled with bitterness, and from henceforth sadness took possession of him. But he held his tongue, and did but make all the more of his youngest daughter because he was about to lose her. What's done is done, and he knew that thousands and thousands of words can't make one farthing.
Time went on, and he had almost come to forget the circumstance, when one day there appeared at the Emperor's court the son of the Emperor of the East, who sought the hand of his eldest daughter. The Emperor gave her to him with joy. They had a splendid wedding, and after three days he conducted them with great pomp to the frontier. A little while afterwards the same thing happened to the second daughter, for the son of the Emperor of the West came and sought her in marriage likewise.
Accordingly as she saw what had been written in the book gradually fulfilled, the youngest daughter of the Emperor grew sadder and sadder. She no longer enjoyed her food; she would not go out walking; she even lost all pleasure in raiment; she preferred to die rather than become the laughing-stock of the whole world. But the Emperor did not give her the opportunity of doing anything foolish, but took care to divert her with all manner of pleasant stories.
Time went on, and lo! - oh, wonderful! - one day a large hog entered the royal palace and said: "Hail, 0 Emperor! May thy days be as rosy and as joyous as sunrise on a cloudless day!"
"Good and fair is thy greeting, my son!" replied the Emperor; "but what ill wind hath blown thee hither, I should like to know? "
"I have come as a wooer," replied the hog.
The Emperor marvelled greatly at hearing such a pretty speech in the mouth of a hog, and immediately felt within himself that all was not right here. He would have put the hog off with some excuse if he could, to save his daughter, but when he heard the court and all the ways leading to it full of the grunts of the hogs who had accompanied the wooer, he had nothing to say for himself, and promised the hog that he would do what it asked. But the hog was not content with his bare promise, but insisted that the wedding should take place within a week. Only when it had obtained the Emperor's word that it should be so did it go away.
The Emperor told his daughter that she must submit to her fate, as it was clearly the will of God. Then he added: "My daughter, the speech and sensible bearing of this hog belong to no brute beast with which I am acquainted. I'll wager my head upon it that he was never born a hog. There must be a touch of sorcery here, or some other devilry. If thou art obedient, thou wilt not depart from thy given word, for God will not allow thee to be tormented for long."
"If thou dost think it good, dear father," replied the girl, "I will obey thee, and put my trust in God. Let Him do what He will with me. It must be so, I have no other way to turn."
In the meantime the wedding-day arrived. The marriage was celebrated in secret. Then the hog got into one of the imperial carriages with his bride, and so they set off homewards.
On the journey they had to pass by a large marsh.
The hog ordered the carriage to stop, got down, and wallowed about in the mire till he was pretty nearly one with it. Then he got into the carriage again, and told his bride to kiss him. Poor girl, what could she do? She took out her cambric pocket-handkerchief, wiped his snout a little, and then kissed him. "I am but obeying my father's commands," thought she.
At last they reached the hog's house, which was in the midst of a dense forest. It was now evening, and when they had rested a little from the fatigues of the road they supped together and lay down to rest. In the night the daughter of the Emperor perceived that her husband was a man and not a hog, and she marvelled greatly. Then she called to mind the words of her father, and hope once more arose in her breast.
Every evening the hog shook off his hog-skin, and every morning before she awoke he put it on again.
One night passed, two nights passed, a great many nights passed, and the damsel could not make out how it was that her husband was a man at night and a hog in the daytime. For he was under a spell; an enchanter had done him this mischief.
Gradually she began to love him, especially when she felt that she was about to become a mother, but what grieved her most was that she was all alone, with none at hand to aid her in her hour of need.
One day, however, she saw an old long-nosed witch pass by that way. Now as she had seen no human creature for a long time, she was full of joy, and called to her, and they had a long talk together.
"Tell me now, old woman," cried she, " the meaning of this marvel. In the daytime my husband is a hog, but when he sleeps beside me at night he is a man. Explain this marvel to me!"
"I'll tell thee that later on, but in the meanwhile shall I give thee some medicines that will put an end to the spell that holds him?"
"Oh, do, little mother, and I'll pay thee for them whatever thou wilt, for I hate to see him as he is now."
"Very well, then. Take this bit of rope, my little chicken, but let him not know anything about it, or it will lose its effect. Now when he is asleep, rise up, and going to him very very softly, tie his left leg as hard as thou canst, and thou wilt see, dear heart, that on the morrow he'll remain a man. Money I do not want. I shall be more than repaid if I release him from this scourge. My very heart-strings are bursting with compassion for thy lord, my rose-bud, and I grieve, oh how bitterly I grieve, that I did not come this way before, so as to help thee sooner."