The huntsman drew out a purse containing a thousand gold pieces, and laid it on the table: "And I will wager that much that I do," was his response.
While this was going on at the inn, the king was sitting at his own table with his daughter, and said to her, "What did all those wild animals that have been running in and out of my castle, want with you ?" She answered, " I cannot tell you that, but you will do well to send and fetch hither the master of those animals." So the king despatched a servant to the inn with an invitation from him to the stranger, and the servant arrived just as the huntsman had completed his wager with the innkeeper. " You see, Mr Innkeeper, the king has sent his servant to invite me," he said; " but I do not intend to go like that," and turning to the servant he continued, "I pray you beg of the king that he send me some royal robes and a carriage with six horses, and servants to wait upon me "
When the king received this answer, he turned to his daughter, and asked, "What am I to do?" She replied, "You will do well to send for him as he desires." Accordingly the- king sent the royal robes and the carriage with six horses, and servants to wait upon the huntsman. When the latter saw them coming, " See, Mr Innkeeper," he said, "they have sent to fetch me as I desired," and he put on the royal robes and drove off to the castle, taking with him the handkerchief and the dragon's tongues.
When the king saw him coming, he asked his daughter, "How shall I receive him?" She replied, "You will do well to go and meet him." So the king went out to meet him and led him up to the banqueting-room, the animals following meanwhile. The king gave him a seat beside himself and his daughter, the marshal, as bridegroom, was seated on the other side, but he did not recognise the huntsman.
The dragon's heads were now carried round for all the company to see. "Those are the seven heads of the dragon that was slain by the marshal," said the king; "it is in return for that deed that I am this day giving him my daughter for wife." The huntsman now stood up and one by one opened the seven jaws, and asked, "What has become of the seven tongues of the dragon ?" Then a great fear seized the marshal, and he turned pale and did not know what to answer; till at last he said in his terror, " Dragons have no tongues."
"Liars should have none," exclaimed the huntsman, "but the dragon's tongues are the trophies which dis tinguish the victor," and with that he unfolded the handkerchief, and taking up the tongues that he had uncovered, he placed one in each of the dragon's mouths, and they all fitted exactly. Then handing the handkerchief on which her name was embroidered to the king's daughter, he asked her to whom she had given it. She answered, "To him who killed the dragon." Calling his animals to him, he took the ornaments off their necks, among them the gold clasp from the lion's neck, and showing them to her, asked to whom they belonged. "The necklace and the clasp were mine," she answered, "and I divided them among the animals who helped to destroy the dragon." Then the huntsman spoke further . " As I was resting and sleeping after the fatigue of the fight, the marshal came and cut off my head. He carried away the king's daughter, and pretended that it was he who had killed the dragon; but that he lied is here proved by these tongues, this handkerchief, and this necklace." He continued to relate how he had been healed by a wonderful root brought to him by his animals, and how he and they had been wandering about during the last year, and had then come again to the town where he had learnt from the innkeeper the treacherous behaviour of the marshal. Upon this, the king said to his daughter, " Is it true that it was this man who killed the dragon?" And she answered, " Yes, it is true; and since it is through no doing of mine that it has come to light, I am no longer afraid to speak of the marshal's shameful deed. He forced me by his threats to keep silence, but it was on that account that I refused to have the marriage celebrated before a year and a day had elapsed." The king now summoned twelve of his councillors to pronounce sentence on the marshal, and he was condemned to be torn in pieces by wild oxen. The marshal thus received the just due of his deeds, while the huntsman was rewarded with the hand of the king's daughter, and was also appointed governor of the whole kingdom. The marriage was celebrated with great rejoicings, and the young king sent for his father and foster-father, and loaded them with gifts. He did not forget the innkeeper either, but sent for him, and said, " You see, Mr Innkeeper, I have married the king's daughter, so your house and farm are mine." "Yes," replied the innkeeper, "that is right according to justice."
"I will make it right, however, according to mercy," said the young king. "House and farm you shall keep, and I make you a present besides of the thousand gold pieces."
The young king and queen were now very happy, and led a pleasant life together. He often went out hunting, as that was one of his chief enjoyments, and his animals always accompanied him. It happened that there was a forest in the neighbourhood, said to be enchanted and unsafe for travellers, for anyone once within it was not able easily to get out again. This made the young king very anxious to see what it was like, and he did not rest until he had obtained the old king's permission to go and hunt there. He rode out with a large following, and had just reached the edge of the forest, when he caught sight of a white doe among the trees, and he called out to his men, " Stay here till I return; I must go after that beautiful creature," and off he rode into the forest, only his animals with him. His followers stood and waited till evening, but the young king never returned, so they rode back and told the young queen that her husband had gone into the enchanted forest to hunt a white doe, and had not returned. She was now in a terrible state of anxiety. Meanwhile the young king had gone riding on after the doe, but had not been able to overtake her; each time he thought her within reach of a shot, she again sprang far ahead of him, and at last she disappeared. He now became aware that he had ridden a great distance into the forest, and he took his horn and blew; no answer came, however, for his followers were too far off to hear his call. The night now fell, and the young king saw that it would be impossible for him to get out of the forest that day, so he dismounted, lit a fire under one of the trees and prepared to spend the night there.