There was once a King who was very ill. He had two sons who were both very worried about him.
The King’s doctor said to the sons, "I know of one more remedy, and that is the Water of Life; if the King drinks this, he will become well again, but it is hard to find."
The eldest prince set out on his horse in search of the water, and after he had ridden a short distance, a dwarf was standing in the road. The dwarf called to him and said, "Why are you riding so fast?"
"Silly shrimp," said the prince, arrogantly. "It is nothing to do with you," and he rode on.
But the little dwarf grew angry, and made an evil wish that the eldest prince would get lost in the mountains, which he quickly did.
So, the King’s younger son begged to also be allowed to go out and find the water. When he met the dwarf and was asked why he was travelling in such haste, he stopped and gave him a polite explanation.
"Because you are not arrogant like your brother, I will tell you how to obtain the Water of Life. It springs from the fountain of an enchanted castle. Use bread to quiet the lions guarding it then go inside.”
The prince thanked him and set out on his journey. When he arrived at the castle, he calmed the lions with his bread and entered the castle. He came to a large hall and found a big sword lying there which he took with him.
Next, he entered a chamber where there was a beautiful maiden who rejoiced when she saw him. She told him that he had saved her and he would have the whole of her kingdom and that, if he returned in one year, they would be married.
The young prince, rejoicing, collected the Water of Life from the fountain and set off homewards.
On the way home, the prince used his strong sword to help the border guards fight back their enemies.
The eldest prince who had finally escaped from the mountains, bumped into his brother and thought to himself, "He has found the Water of Life and father will give him the kingdom.” So, he waited until his younger brother had fallen asleep, and replaced the Water of Life with ordinary sea-water.
When the youngest prince arrived home, he rushed his cup to the sick King. Hardly had the King taken a sip of the sea-water before he became worse than before. The eldest brother came and accused him of trying to poison the King.
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