ONCE upon a time a king had three sons. The
first was called Prince of the Stars. The next
was called the Moon Prince and the third was
called the Sun Prince. The king was so very
happy when the third son was born that he
promised to give the queen any boon she might
The queen kept the promise in mind, waiting
until the third son was grown before asking the
king to give her the boon.
the twenty-first birthday of the Sun Prince she
said to the king, "Great King, when our youngest
child was born you said you would give me a
boon. Now I ask you to give the kingdom to Sun
But the king refused, saying that the kingdom
must go to the oldest son, for it belonged by
right to him. Next it would belong by right to
the second son, and not until they were both
dead could the kingdom go to the third son.
The queen went away, but the king saw that she
was not pleased with his answer. He feared that
she would do harm to the older princes to get
them out of the way of the Sun Prince.
he called his elder sons and told them that they
must go and live in the forest until his death.
"Then come back and reign in the city that is
yours by right," he said. And with tears he
kissed them on the foreheads and sent them away.
they were going down out of the palace, after
saying good-by to their father, the Sun Prince
called to them, "Where are you going?"
And when he heard where they were going and why,
he said, "I will go with you, my brothers."
off they started. They went on and on and by and
by they reached the forest. There they sat down
to rest in the shade of a pond. Then the eldest
brother said to Sun Prince, "Go down to the pond
and bathe and drink. Then bring us a drink while
we rest here."
Now the King of the Fairies had given this pond
to a water-sprite. The Fairy King had said to
the water-sprite, "You are to have in your power
all who go down into the water except those who
give the right answer to one question. Those who
give the right answer will not be in your power.
The question is, 'What are the Good Fairies
When the Sun Prince went into the pond the
water–sprite saw him and asked him the question,
"What are the Good Fairies like?"
"They are like the Sun and the Moon," said the
"You don't know what the Good Fairies are like,"
cried the water-sprite, and he carried the poor
boy down into her cave.
and by the eldest brother said, "Moon Prince, go
down and see why our brother stays so long in
soon as the Moon Prince reached the water's edge
the water-sprite called to him and said, "Tell
me what the Good Fairies are like!"
"Like the sky above us," replied the Moon
"You don't know, either," said the water-sprite,
and dragged the Moon Prince down into the cave
where the Sun Prince sat.
"Something must have happened to those two
brothers of mine," thought the eldest. So he
went to the pond and saw the marks of the
footsteps where his brothers had gone down into
the water. Then he knew that a water-sprite must
live in that pond. He girded on his sword, and
stood with his bow in his hand.
The water-sprite soon came along in the form of
"You seem tired, Friend," he said to the prince.
"Why don't you bathe in the lake and then lie on
the bank and rest?"
But the prince knew that it was a water-sprite
and he said, "You have carried off my brothers!"
"Yes," said the water-sprite.
"Why did you carry them off?"
"Because they did not answer my question," said
the water-sprite, "and I have power over all who
go down into the water except those who do give
the right answer."
will answer your question," said the eldest
brother. And he did. "The Good Fairies are like
The pure in heart who fear to sin,
The good, kindly in word and deed."
Wise Prince, I will bring back to you one of
your brothers. Which shall I bring?" said the
"Bring me the younger one," said the prince. "It
was on his account that our father sent us away.
I could never go away with Moon Prince and leave
poor Sun Prince here."
Wise Prince, you know what the good should do
and you are kind. I will bring back both your
brothers," said the water-sprite.
After that the three princes lived together in
the forest until the king died. Then they went
back to the palace. The eldest brother was made
king and he had his brothers rule with him. He
also built a home for the water-sprite in the