But it was of no use; the prince slept on as if he were dead. Then she said to the servant, "Tell your master to-morrow he can see us here again, but never more." With these words the peahens flew away. Immediately after the king's son woke up, and asked his servant, "Have they not been here?" And the man answered, "Yes, they have been, and say that you can see them again to-morrow, at this place, but after that they will not return again." When the unhappy prince heard that he knew not what to do with himself, and in his great trouble and misery tore the hair from his head.
The third day he went down again to the shore, but, fearing to fall asleep, instead of riding slowly, galloped along the shore. His servant, however, found an opportunity of blowing with the bellows behind his neck, and again the prince fell asleep. A moment after came the nine peahens, and the eight alighted on the lake and the ninth by him, on his horse, and sought to awaken him, caressing him. "Arise, my darling! Arise, my heart! Arise, my soul!" But it was of no use, he slept on as if dead. Then the peahen said to the servant, "When your master awakens, tell him he ought to strike off the head of the nail from the lower part, and then he will find me." Thereupon all the peahens fled away. Immediately the king's son awoke, and said to his servant, "Have they been here?" And the servant answered, "They have been, and the one which alighted on your horse ordered me to tell you to strike off the head of the nail from the lower part, and then you will find her." When the prince heard that he drew his sword and cut off his servant's head.
After that he travelled alone about the world, and, after long travelling, came to a mountain and remained all night there with a hermit, whom he asked if he knew anything about nine golden peahens. The hermit said, "Eh, my son, you are lucky; God has led you in the right path. From this place it is only half a day's walk. But you must go straight on, then you will come to a large gate, which you must pass through; and, after that, you must keep always to the right hand, and so you will come to the peahens' city, and there find their palace." So next morning the king's son arose, and prepared to go. He thanked the hermit, and went as he had told him. After a while he came to the great gate, and, having passed it, turned to the right, so that at mid-day he saw the city, and beholding how white it shone, rejoiced very much. When he came into the city he found the palace where lived the nine golden peahens. But at the gate he was stopped by the guard, who demanded who he was, and whence he came. After he had answered these questions, the guards went to announce him to the queen. When the queen heard who he was, she came running out to the gate and took him by the hand to lead him into the palace. She was a young and beautiful maiden, and so there was a great rejoicing when, after a few days, he married her and remained there with her.
One day, some time after their marriage, the queen went out to walk, and the king's son remained in the palace. Before going out, however, the queen gave him the keys of twelve cellars, telling him, "You may go down into all the cellars except the twelfth - that you must on no account open, or it will cost you your head." She then went away. The king's son, whilst remaining in the palace, began to wonder what there could be in the twelfth cellar, and soon commenced opening one cellar after the other. When he came to the twelfth he would not at first open it, but again began to wonder very much why he was forbidden to go into it. "What can be in this cellar?" he exclaimed to himself. At last he opened it. In the middle of the cellar lay a big barrel with an open bunghole, but bound fast round with three iron hoops. Out of the barrel came a voice, saying, "For God's sake, my brother - I am dying with thirst - please give me a cup of water." Then the king's son took a cup and filled it with water, and emptied it into the barrel. Immediately he had done so one of the hoops burst asunder. Again came the voice from the barrel, "For God's sake, my brother - I am dying of thirst - please give me a cup of water." The king's son again filled the cup, and took it, and emptied it into the barrel, and instantly another hoop burst asunder. The third time the voice came out of the barrel, "For God's sake, my brother - I am dying of thirst - please give me a cup of water." The king's son again took the cup and filled it, and poured the water into the barrel, and the third hoop burst. Then the barrel fell to pieces, and a dragon flew out of the cellar, and caught the queen on the road and carried her away. Then the servant, who went out with the queen, came back quickly, and told the king's son what had happened, and the poor prince knew not what to do with himself, so desperate was he, and full of self-reproaches. At length, however, he resolved to set out and travel through the world in search of her. After long journeying, one day he came to a lake, and near it, in a little hole, he saw a little fish jumping about. When the fish saw the king's son, she began to beg pitifully, "For God's sake be my brother, and throw me into the water. Some day I may be of use to you, so take now a little scale from me, and when you need me, rub it gently." Then the king's son lifted the little fish from the hole and threw her into the water, after he had taken one small scale, which he wrapped up carefully in a handkerchief. Some time afterwards, as he travelled about the world, he came upon a fox caught in an iron trap. When the fox saw the prince he spoke: "In God's name be a brother to me and help me to get out of this trap. One day you will need me, so take just one hair from my tail, and when you want me, rub it gently." Then the king's son took a hair from the tail of the fox and set him free.
Again, as he crossed a mountain, he found a wolf fast in a trap; and when the wolf saw him it spoke: "Be a brother to me; in God's name set me free, and one day I will help you. Only take a hair from me, and when you need me, rub it gently." So he took a hair and set the wolf free. After that the king's son travelled about a very long time, till one day he met a man, to whom he said, "For God's sake, brother, have you ever heard anyone say where is the palace of the dragon king?' The man gave him very particular directions which way to take, and in what length of time he could get there. Then the king's son thanked him and continued his journey until he came to the city where the dragon lived. When there, he went into the palace and found therein his wife, and both of them were exceedingly pleased to meet each other, and began to take counsel how they could escape. They resolved to run away, and prepared hastily for the journey. When all was ready they mounted on horseback and galloped away. As soon as they were gone the dragon came home, also on horseback, and, entering his palace, found that the queen had gone away. Then he said to his horse, "What shall we do now? Shall we eat and drink, or go at once after them?" The horse answered, "Let us eat and drink first, we shall anyway catch them; do not be anxious".