There was once upon a time a queen to whom God had given no children.
He went to the tower in which his mother was confined, and as it was so high, he wished for a ladder which would reach up to the very top.
Then he mounted up and looked inside, and cried: 'Beloved mother, Lady Queen, are you still alive, or are you dead?'
She answered: 'I have just eaten, and am still satisfied,' for she thought the angels were there.
Said he: 'I am your dear son, whom the wild beasts were said to have torn from your arms; but I am alive still, and will soon set you free.'
Then he descended again, and went to his father, and caused himself to be announced as a strange huntsman, and asked if he could offer him service.
The king said yes, if he was skilful and could get game for him, he should come to him, but that deer had never taken up
their quarters in any part of the district or country.
Then the huntsman promised to procure as much game for him as he could possibly use at the royal table.
So he summoned all the huntsmen together, and bade them go out into the forest with him.
And he went with them and made them form a great circle, open at one end where he stationed himself, and began to wish.
Two hundred deer and more came running inside the circle at once, and the huntsmen shot them.
Then they were all placed on sixty country carts, and driven home to the king, and for once he was able to deck his table with game, after having had none at all for years.
Now the king felt great joy at this, and commanded that his entire household should eat with him next day, and made a great feast.
When they were all assembled together, he said to the huntsman: 'As you are so clever, you shall sit by me.'
He replied: 'Lord King, your majesty must excuse me, I am a poor huntsman.'
But the king insisted on it, and said: 'You shall sit by me,' until he did it.
Whilst he was sitting there, he thought of his dearest mother, and wished that one of the king's principal servants would begin to speak of her, and would ask how it was faring with the queen in the tower, and if she were alive still, or had perished. Hardly had he formed the wish than the marshal began, and said: 'Your majesty, we live joyously here, but how is the queen living in the tower? Is she still alive, or has she died?'
But the king replied: 'She let my dear son be torn to pieces by
wild beasts; I will not have her named.'
Then the huntsman arose and said: 'Gracious lord father she is alive still, and I am her son, and I was not carried away by wild beasts, but by that wretch the old cook, who tore me from her arms when she was asleep, and sprinkled her apron with the blood of a chicken.'
Thereupon he took the dog with the golden collar, and said: 'That is the wretch!' and caused live coals to be brought, and these the dog was compelled to devour before the sight of all, until flames burst forth from its throat.
On this the huntsman asked the king if he would like to see the dog in his true shape, and wished him back into the form of the cook, in the which he stood immediately, with his white apron, and his knife by his side.
When the king saw him he fell into a passion, and ordered him to be cast into the deepest dungeon.
Then the huntsman spoke further and said: 'Father, will you see the maiden who brought me up so tenderly and who was afterwards to murder me, but did not do it, though her own life depended on it?'
The king replied: 'Yes, I would like to see her.'
The son said: 'Most gracious father, I will show her to you in the form of a beautiful flower,' and he thrust his hand into his pocket and brought forth the pink, and placed it on the royal table, and it was so beautiful that the king had never seen one to equal it.
Then the son said: 'Now will I show her to you in her own form,' and wished that she might become a maiden, and she stood there looking so beautiful that no painter could have made her look more so.
And the king sent two waiting-maids and two attendants into the tower, to fetch the queen and bring her to the royal table. But when she was led in she ate nothing, and said: 'The gracious and merciful God who has supported me in the tower, will soon set me free.'
She lived three days more, and then died happily, and when she was buried, the two white doves which had brought her food to the tower, and were angels of heaven, followed her body and seated themselves on her grave.
The aged king ordered the cook to be torn in four pieces, but grief consumed the king's own heart, and he soon died.
His son married the beautiful maiden whom he had brought with him as a flower in his pocket, and whether they are still alive or not, is known to God.