… Trusty John instructed the king to remain behind on the ship and await his return.
“If Lady Luck smiles upon us,” he said, “I may be able to lure the Princess back with me. Make sure that everything is in good order; let the ornaments be cunningly arranged, let the whole ship drip with gold.”
Then he took a few of the gold things in his apron, went ashore, and made his way straight to the palace, which was visible on a hill, its tall spires glittering in the sunlight.
When he came to the courtyard he found a beautiful maiden standing by a well, drawing water with two golden pails.
As the maid was about to carry away the sparkling water she turned around, saw the stranger, and asked him who he was.
“Why, I am a merchant who has come to trade from far distant lands,” said Trusty John with a deep bow, which opened his apron, and let the maid peep in.
“Oh! my,” she cried; “what beautiful golden wares!”
She set down her water pails and excitedly examined one thing after the other.
“The Princess must see these,” said the maid, “she has such a penchant for gold things that she will buy up all you have.”
She took Trusty John by the hand and led him straight past the guards and into the palace precincts, for she was the Princess’s hand maid…