Then said the king, “You live far away and you have so great a domain that I had to go much out of my way to fulfill my daughter’s wish. When I rode forth to attend the gathering of the kings, she asked me to greet the Green Knight for her, and to tell him how she longed for him, and that he alone could free her from her torment. This is a very strange commission that I have undertaken, but my daughter knows what is right and proper, and moreover I promised her mother on her deathbed that I would never refuse our only child a wish; so I have come here to deliver the message and keep my promise.”
Then the Green Knight said to the king, “Your daughter was sad, and was certainly not thinking of me when she gave you her message, for she can never have heard of me; she was probably thinking of the churchyard with its many green mounds, where alone she hoped to find rest. But perhaps I can give her something to alleviate her sorrow. Take this little book, and tell the princess when she is sad and heavy-hearted to open her east window and to read in the book; it will gladden her heart.”
Then the knight gave the king a little green book, but he could not read it, because he did not know the letters with which the words were written. He took it, however, and thanked the Green Knight for his kind and hospitable reception. He was very sorry, he assured the knight, that he had disturbed him, as the princess had not meant him at all.
They had to remain overnight in the castle, and the knight would gladly have kept them longer, but the king insisted that he must leave the next day; so the following morning he said goodbye to his host, and rode back the way he had come until he came to the clearing where the boars were, and from there he went straight home.
The first thing the king did, was to go to the island and take the little green book to his daughter. She was astonished when her father told her about the Green Knight, and gave her his greetings and the book, for she had not thought of a human being, nor had she the faintest idea that a Green Knight existed. But that very evening, when her father was gone, the princess opened her east window and began to read her green book, although it was not written in her mother tongue. The book contained many poems, and its language was beautiful. One of the first things that she read began as follows:
The wind has risen on the sea,
And bloweth over field and lea,
And while on earth broods silent night,
Who, to the knight, her troth will plight?
While she was reading the first verse she heard distinctly the rushing of the wind over the water; at the second verse she heard a rustling in the trees; at the third verse her ladies in waiting and all those in or near the palace, fell into a deep slumber. And when the princess read the fourth line, the Green Knight himself flew through the window in the shape of a bird.
-The Green Knight, a Cinderella story from Denmark-
Illustration: Walter Crane