ONCE upon a time there was a king who had three sons, to whom he said that he would bequeath his crown to the one that brought him the Blue Lily. Then each of the three princes started off a different way in search of it. The youngest son found the flower, and hid it in his bosom, so that if he met his brothers they should not see it. But they met him in the bed of a dried-up stream, and knowing that he had the flower with him, one said to the other: “What shall we do to get the Lily from him, and so gain the crown?”
And the other replied:—
“Let Us kill him.”
And they did so, burying him in the sand. As they were two, and there was only one flower, they cast lots for it, and the elder gained it. So he went home very delighted, and when he arrived, gave the Lily to his father the king, who proclaimed him heir to the crown.
But it happened that a shepherd passed by the spot where the youngest prince had been buried, and he saw a white reed projecting from the ground, so he cut it off and made a flute with it When he played it, it sang—
“Play, play, good shepherd;
‘For the Blue Lily’s blossom
They took my life away, and
Hid me in the river’s bosom.’”
Then the shepherd went on playing this until he passed before the palace; and the king, hearing the flute, went forth and called the shepherd, and said to him:—
“Play thy flute before me; I should like to hear it.”
Then the shepherd entered the palace, and played the flute, and it repeated its song. So the king commanded his sons to be called, and said to the shepherd that he must show them where he had obtained that flute. And the shepherd took them to the place where he had found the white reed, and the king said to his sons:—
“Have you murdered your brother?”
But they declared they had not. Then the king, their father, commanded them to dig at that spot, and they found the lad alive and well, but wanting a finger that he had had when buried, but which had served to make the flute. Then the king punished his two wicked sons, and left the crown to the youngest, who lived and reigned many years, but always without one of his fingers.