The Prisoner Of Zembla
[From The Rolling Stone.]
So the king fell into a furious rage, so that none durst go near him for fear, and he gave
out that since the Princess Ostla had disobeyed him there would be a great tourney, and to
the knight who should prove himself of the greatest valor he would give the hand of the
And he sent forth a herald to proclaim that he would do this.
And the herald went about the country making his desire known, blowing a great tin horn
and riding a noble steed that pranced and gambolled; and the villagers gazed upon him
and said: "Lo, that is one of them tin horn gamblers concerning which the chroniclers
have told us."
And when the day came, the king sat in the grandstand, holding the gage of battle in his
band, and by his side sat the Princess Ostla, looking very pale and beautiful, but with
mournful eyes from which she scarce could keep the tears. And the knights which came
to the tourney gazed upon the princess in wonder at her beauty, and each swore to win so
that he could marry her and board with the king. Suddenly the heart of the princess gave a
great bound, for she saw among the knights one of the poor students with whom she had
been in love.
The knights mounted and rode in a line past the grandstand, and the king stopped the
poor student, who had the worst horse and the poorest caparisons of any of the knights
"Sir Knight, prithee tell me of what that marvellous shacky and rusty-looking armor of
thine is made?"
"Oh, king," said the young knight, "seeing that we are about to engage in a big fight, I
would call it scrap iron, wouldn't you?"
"Ods Bodkins!" said the king. "The youth hath a pretty wit."
About this time the Princess Ostla, who began to feel better at the sight of her lover,
slipped a piece of gum into her mouth and closed her teeth upon it, and even smiled a
little and showed the beautiful pearls with which her mouth was set. Whereupon, as soon
as the knights perceived this, 217 of them went over to the king's treasurer and settled for
their horse feed and went home.
"It seems very hard," said the princess, "that I cannot marry when I chews."