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Sweetheart Roland (cont.)

When she had gone away, the maiden got up and went to the house of her sweetheart, Roland, and knocked at his door. When he came out, she said to him, "Listen, dear Roland, we must quickly fly. My foster mother tried to kill me, but she hit her own child instead. When day comes and she sees what she has done, we shall be lost."
"But," said Roland, "you must first get her magic wand, or we shall not be able to escape if she comes after us."

The maiden fetched the magic wand, and then she took her foster sister's head and dropped three drops of blood from it - one by the bed, one in the kitchen, and one on the stairs. After that, she hurried away with her sweetheart, Roland.

When the old witch got up in the morning she called her daughter in order to give her the apron, but she did not come. Then she called, "Where art thou?"
"Here on the stairs," answered one drop of blood.
The witch went to the stairs but saw nothing. So she called again, "Where art thou?"
"Here in the kitchen warming myself," answered the second drop of blood.
The witch went into the kitchen but found nothing. So she called again, "Where art thou?"
"Here in bed, sleeping," answered the third drop of blood.
So she went into the bedroom, and ther she found her own child, whose head she had chopped off herself.

The witch flew into a violent passion and sprang out of the window. As she could see for many miles around, she discovered the maiden hurrying away with Roland.

"That won't do you any good!" she cried. "However far you may go, you won't escape me."

She put on her seven-league boots, and before long she overtook them.

Seven League Boots

When the maiden saw her coming, with the magic wand she changed her sweetyheart into a lake, and changed herself into a duck swimming in it. The witch stood on the shore and threw bread crumbs into the water, and did everything she could think of to entice the duck ashor. But it was all to no purpose, and she was obliged to go back at night without having accomplished her object.

When she had gone away, the maiden and Roland resumed their own shapes, and they walked the whole night till break of day.

Then the maiden changed herself into a beautiful rose in the middle of a briar hedge, and Roland into a fiddler. Before long the witch came striding along and said to the fiddler, "Good fiddler, may I pick this beautiful rose?""By all means," he said, "and I will play to you."
As she crept into the dedge in great haste to pick the flower (for she know well who the flower was), Roland began to play. And she had to dance, whether she liked or not, for it was a magic dance. The faster he played, the higher she had to jump, and the thorns tore her clothes to ribbons and scratched her till she bled. He would not stop a moment, so she had to dance till she fell down dead.

When the maiden was freed from the spell, Roland said,"Now I will go to my father and order the wedding."
"Then I will stay here in the meantime," said the maiden. "And so that no one will recognize me while I am waiting, I will change myself into a common stone."

So Roland went away and the maiden stayed in the field as a stone, waiting his return.

But when Roland reached home he fell into the snares of another woman, who made him forget all about his love. The poor maiden waited a long, long time, but when he did not come back, she became very sad and changed herself into a flower. "Somebody at least will tread upon me," she thought.

Now it so happened that a shepherd was watching his sheep in the field, and he saw the flower and picked it because he thought it so pretty. He took it home and put it carefully away in a chest. From that time forward a wonderful change took place in the shepherd's hut. When he got up in the morning, all the work was done. The tables and benches were dusted, the fire was lighted, and the water was carried in. At dinnertime, when he came home, the table was laid and a well-cooked meal stood ready. He could not imagine how it all came about, for he never saw a creature in his house, and nobody could be hidden in the tiny hut. He was much pleased at being so well served, but at last he got rather frightened and went to a wise woman to ask her advice.

The wise woman said, "There is magic hehind it. You must look carefully about the room early in the morning and whatever you see, throw a white cloth over it and the spell will be broken."

The shepherd did what she told him, and next morning just as the day broke he saw his chest open and the flower come out. So he sprang up quickly and threw a white cloth over it. Immediately the spell was broken and a lovely maiden stood before him, who confessed that she had been the flower and that it was she who had done all the work of his hut. She also told him her story, and he was so pleased with her that he asked her to marry him.
But she answered, "No, I want my sweetheart Roland. Though he has forsaken me I will always be true to him."
She promised not to go away, however, but to go on with the housekeeping for the present.

Now the time came for Roland's marriage to be celebrated. According to old custom, a proclamation was made that every maiden in the land should present herself to sing at the marriage in honor of the bridal pair.

When the faithful maiden heard this she grew very sad, so sad that she thought her heart would break. She had no wish to go to the wedding but the others came and fetched her. But each time as her turn came to sing, she slipped behind the others till she was the only one left and she could not help herself. As soon as she began to sing and her voice reached Roland's ears, he sprang up and cried, "That is the true bride and I will have no other".
Everything that he had forgotten came back, and his heart was filled with joy. So the faithful maiden was married to her sweetheart, Roland. All her grief and pain were over, and only happiness lay before her.

The End

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