Prince Lini

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5 min

Tale from Iceland.

Once upon a time there was a king and a queen who had only one child, a son named Lini. In the same kingdom also lived an old man and his wife in a wretched hut. They had an only daughter named Signy.

One day Prince Lini was hunting with his courtiers. When they were to return home in the evening, a dense fog settled over the land and the prince was lost.

The courtiers searched for Prince Lini for a long time, but finally they had to return to the castle and tell the king and queen that their son was missing.

Immediately the country's best scouts were sent out to find Lini, but after several weeks they all returned without results. Then the king became so sad that he fell ill and had to lie down in bed. He announced that whoever found Prince Lini would be rewarded with half the kingdom.

Signy heard about this, and she asked her parents to give her a proper lunch bag and a new pair of shoes, so that she could set off to look for the prince.

After several days Signy came to a cave and inside the cave were two beds, one with a silver crochet cover and one with gold crochet. And in the bed with the gold crochet lay the prince. Signy tried to wake him but to no avail. On the headboards were some signs carved, which Signy could not decipher.

Suddenly heavy footsteps were heard outside the cave and Signy hid under the prince's bed. Two burly giantesses entered the cave. One immediately said: “Ugh! This smells like human blood!”
"It must depend on the prince," replied the other giant.
Then the giantesses stepped up to the bed and said: "Sing, sing, my swans, so that Prince Lini wakes up!"

Then swans were heard singing outside and the prince woke up immediately. Two of the giants asked him if he wanted to marry one of them. The prince wrinkled his nose and answered with a resounding "No!". Then the giants shouted: "Sing, sing, my swans, so that Prince Lini falls asleep!"

The swans sang and the prince fell asleep. Then the giantesses laid down in bed with the silver cover and fell asleep themselves. The next morning they woke the prince and asked him the same question. They also received the same answer and they immediately put Lini to sleep again and exited the cave.

When Signy was sure the giants were far away, she read the spell over the prince and woke him up. The prince and Signy greeted each other cordially and Signy told how sad the king was. Then she asked what happened to Lini. He told me that soon after he was separated from his courtiers, two giantesses had come and dragged him with them to this cave. There they had then kept him prisoner and asked him the same question about marriage every day.

"But when the giantesses ask you to-night, you shall answer yes to one of them," said Signy, "on the condition that she tells you what is on the headboards and what they do in the forest during the day."
The prince thought it was a good idea. He fetched a chessboard and they played chess until the evening.

When the giantesses came home, Signy hid and the prince pretended to sleep in bed. When the giants put their question to him, he answered one of them that he could probably think of marrying if she said what was written on the headboard. The giantess replied:
"Run, run my bed wherever I want!"
Now the prince also wanted to know what the giantesses were up to in the forest during the day. They answered that they hunted fowl and game, and that they sat under an oak tree and threw a ball with their life-egg. When the prince asked if it was something that had to be handled carefully, the giants replied that they would die if the egg were broken. So it was a dangerous game they were playing with!

The next morning the giants went out into the forest again without waking Lini, but when they were gone Signy crept forward and woke the prince.
"Now we're going straight out into the forest where the giant women are," said Signy. "You must take your spear and aim at their life egg when they throw it, because otherwise we will never get out of here." then they climbed into bed and cried:
"Run, run my bed wherever I want!"
And the bed ran into the forest and stopped first at the oak tree.

Suddenly there was loud laughter and Signy asked the prince to climb the tree. From the oak branches he could see that the two giantesses were sitting below, playing with a golden egg. The prince then threw his spear and hit the egg in mid-flight. Immediately the two giantesses turned into two large stones.

Lini and Signy now flew back to the cave with the bed, loaded both beds with the treasures of the giantesses, and then went back to Signy's parents' hut. Then they went on to the castle and met Lini's parents, who were obviously overjoyed to see their son again. The king kept his promise to give away half the kingdom. Signy and Lini had to share that, and they lived together for a long time and loved each other very much!

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