There was once a King's daughter who was the most beautiful thing in the world. Her hair was fair and very long. They called her the Princess Goldenhair.
A handsome young King in the neighbourhood fell deeply in love with her. He could neither eat nor sleep.
So he sent an ambassador with a magnificent chariot, more than a hundred horses, to bring the Princess to the King. He wanted to marry her.
But the Princess Goldenhair sent a message to the young King. She thanked him and said that she did not wish to marry.
When the King heard of her refusal he wept like a child.
At his Court there was a young man called Avenant. He was as beautiful as the sun. Everybody loved him except a few envious people. One day, Avenant said in front of these people:
"If the King sends me to fetch the Princess Goldenhair, I am certain she will come." Soon, these bad envious people repeated his words to the King. It made him very angry, and he wanted to speak to Avenant.
"You mocked me," said the King. You say that you will bring the princess."
"It is true, sir," replied Avenant, "I say so, because I will be a good representative and bring the princess for you."
The King believed him and set Avenant out alone for the goldenhaired beauty.
One day, he saw a golden carp on the river bank. She couldn't get back to water. She was nearly dead.
Avenant pitied the poor thing, and put her carefully back into the water. The carp said:
"Avenant, thank you. You saved my life, I will repay you," then she swam off.
Another day Avenant noticed a raven. An eagle wanted to kill him.
Avenant was sorry for the raven, so he took his bow and shot the eagle. The raven sat on a bough and cried:
"Avenant you saved my life, I will repay you."
Not long after this, Avenant found an owl caught in a snare. He cut the strings, and freed the captive. "Avenant," said the owl, "you saved my life, I will repay you."
These three adventures were the most important. Avenant went on his way. In the city where the princess lived, he bought a beautiful little dog named Cabriole. Then he went to the Palace.
There he saw the Princess on her throne. She looked so lovely that he couldn't speak. But he took courage, said hello to the princess and begged her to become the King's bride.
The Princess replied:
"One day, I was at the river in the garden and my golden ring fell into the water. I will not marry until I have my ring back."
Avenant left the Palace and was very sad, but his little dog, Cabriole, said:
"My dear master, do not be unhappy. Early tomorrow morning let's go to the river."
The next day, Cabriole awoke him saying, "Dress yourself, my master, and come out."
They went down to the river, and there Avenant heard a voice calling him. It was the golden carp, with the Princess's ring in her mouth.
"Take it, dear Avenant," she said, "I promised to repay you, and now I can fulfil my promise."
Avenant thanked her, went to the Palace and gave the ring to the Princess.
The Princess didn't want to marry the King, so she set Avenant another task.
"Not far from here there is a prince named Galifron. He wants to marry me. He is very big and strong. He eats men. He is very jealous and will kill who will marry me. You must fight and bring me his head."
"Well, madam," replied Avenant, "I will fight Galifron."
He took Cabriole and went to Galifron's country. The roads were covered with the bones of many men. Soon they saw the giant. His head was higher than the highest trees. When the giant saw Avenant he wanted to kill him. Then a raven flew at his head, and pecked him straight in the eyes and the giant went blind. He couldn't see Avenant. Avenant then drew his sword and killed the giant. Then he cut off his head, thanked the raven and went back to the Palace. Avenant came closer to the Princess, and said:
"Madam, your enemy is dead. I hope you will no more refuse the King, my master."
"Maybe the giant is dead," answered the Princess, "but I cannot marry your King. You have to bring me some water from the Grotto of Darkness. At the entrance there are two dragons with fire in their eyes and mouths. Inside the grotto there is a deep pit full of toads, scorpions, and serpents. At the bottom of this pit there is a little cave with the fountain of beauty and health."
So once more Avenant and Cabriole went on a journey until they came to a rock, black as ink. Behind the rock they could see black smoke. A moment later there appeared one of the dragons with fire from his eyes and mouth. He was terrible. He had a green and yellow body and a long tail. Avenant drew his sword and wanted to attack the dragon, when suddenly a voice called:
"Avenant, Avenant!" It was the owl. "You saved my life, now it is the time to repay you. Give me your flask. I will bring you the water of beauty."
With the flask, the owl entered the grotto and returned in less than a quarter of an hour. It was full to the brim. Avenant thanked the owl heartily, and started for the town, where he presented the flask to the Princess, who immediately gave orders to prepare to go to Avenant's king.
But she liked Avenant. She told him:
"If you wish, we needn't go. I can make you king of my country." But Avenant said:
"I cannot displease my master for all the kingdoms of earth, although I think your beauty is greater than the sun."
So they arrived at the King's capital, and the wedding started. But Princess Goldenhair, who loved Avenant from the depths of her heart, was not happy. "I came here with Avenant," she told the King, "you must be very obliged to him."
Then the envious people counselled the King to put Avenant into the tower with chains on hands and feet. When Princess Goldenhair heard that, she begged the King:
”Don't do it, my husband, or I will not speak to you any more!”
The King thought: "Maybe I am not handsome enough to please her!" so he wanted to wash his face in the water of beauty.
But a chamber-maid broke the flask. She was afraid to tell anybody so she took a new flask and put a poison there. And so when the King used this water one evening, went to sleep and never woke up. Then the Princess went straight to the tower, saved Avenant, and married him the next day. And they lived happily together all their lives long.