Prince Marin, the only son of the King of Moraladovia, was as proud as he was handsome. The king wanted him to marry, and invited every beautiful princess he heard of to his palace, in hope that the prince would fall in love. But he liked none of them, and at last the king said. "You are hard to please. Go! Find a wife for yourself. But remember, if you return without a bride, I shall disinherit you!"
So the prince set out and after traveling many days, he came to a great forest, and stopped to rest. He tethered his horse in the shade, and lay down on the soft moss beneath a large rose-tree, covered with flowers. But, as he began to fall asleep, he heard a soft voice sing.
"Rose-tree, rose-tree, green and fair. Open and let me take the air."
And he sprang to his feet, the beautiful green rose tree opened, and out came a lovely rose maiden. All the beauty and sweetness of all the roses in the world were in her face, and her long golden hair shone in the sunlight. The prince bowed low before her and as she sat on the soft moss, he sat beside her and they sat and talked until they fell asleep.
Prince Marin was the first to wake up. He stood for some time looking down on the sleeping maiden.
"She is indeed lovely," he said at last, "but I do not want to marry yet. I shall go on more adventures," and he rode away.
When the rose maiden awoke, she thought at first that she had been dreaming. But when she saw the marks left by the horse's hooves, she knew that all was true and feeling sad and lonely, she said, "I will wait here until the prince returns," and she sang:
"Rose-tree, rose-tree, green and fair. Open and let me wait within."
"I cannot let you in any more," said the rose-tree. "A mortal has kissed you."
Then the forsaken maiden turned to follow the prince, but happily she took the wrong path. She followed the track back to Kingstown and as the prince returned by another way, she met him at the city gate. He had come home without a bride, for having seen the rose maiden, he could find no beauty in any other, and so, when he saw her he gave a shout of joy. Taking her hand, he led her to the king, and the next day they were married with great rejoicing.
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