So he passed quickly through the wood and the marsh and between the rushing whirlpools. He saw that in his mother’s palace the torches in the ballroom were extinguished and all within asleep. But he did not venture to go in to them, for now he was dumb and going to leave them forever. He felt as if his heart would break. He stole into the garden, took a flower from the flower-beds of each of his brothers, kissed his hand a thousand times towards the palace and then rose up through the dark blue waters. The sun had not risen when he came in sight of the princess’s palace and approached the beautiful marble steps but the moon shone clear and bright. Then the little merboy drank the magic draught and it seemed as if a two-edged sword went through his delicate body: he fell into a swoon and lay like one dead. When the sun arose and shone over the sea he recovered and felt a sharp pain but just before him stood the handsome young princess. She fixed her coal-black eyes upon him so earnestly that he cast down his own and then became aware that his fish’s tail was gone and that he had as pretty a pair of white legs and tiny feet as any little boy could have but he had no clothes, so he wrapped himself in his long, thick hair. The princess asked him who he was and where he came from and he looked at her mildly and sorrowfully with his deep blue eyes but he could not speak. Every step he took was as the witch had said it would be, he felt as if he was treading upon the points of needles or sharp knives but he bore it willingly and stepped as lightly by the princess’s side as a soap-bubble so that she and all who saw him wondered at his graceful-swaying movements. He was soon arrayed in costly robes of silk and muslin and was the most beautiful creature in the palace but he was dumb and could neither speak nor sing.