Like the Poor Boy’s sister, the princess did not want to be rescued, and the prince had no token with him by which she might have recognized him as her brother. In vain the Poor Boy told her that if she did not come willingly, he would carry her off by force; she kept her hand on the dangerous nail and it was impossible to coax her.
They knew it would go hard with them if they waited for the giant; for there were only two champions, and if one held up the palace by keeping the gates on their hinges and the other waited for the giant in the middle of the courtyard, there was no one who could protect them from the nail.
“Let me attend to it,” said the Poor Boy, who, had fallen madly in love with the princess. “Either his life or mine!”
He determined to fight the giant in the open ground, where he could not see him—a thing never heard of since fairy princes first began to fight giants; for if it is hard to conquer a giant at all, it is doubly difficult to vanquish one when he is invisible, and no one had ever thought of such an exploit.
The prince and the Poor Boy’s sister hid themselves in a ditch near the palace, that the giant might not see them; but the Poor Boy stationed himself a little behind the gate and waited for the giant to hurl his club, in order to get near him, for when he no longer had a club he would be obliged to fight either with his sword or with his fists.
Before long, crash! the club struck the iron-barred gate, but the Poor Boy was not slow, he opened the other gate and ran out with it, leaving the palace to fall in ruins behind him.
“Come on, if you have the courage to show yourself,” he shouted, believing that the giant would make some reply and thus betray himself.
But the giant felt that he had found his match, and did not think of speaking, but, invisible to the youth, approached, drew his sword, and aimed straight at his enemy’s head to hack it off, but the blow only struck the lad’s jaw. The wound hurt the Poor Boy, but it pleased him, too, because he now knew where to look for his foe; so he rushed in the direction from which the blow had come, struck out, and felt that he hit flesh, struck again, and again felt that he had hit, and so continued to deal short, swift thrusts, with, which he drove the giant before the point of his sword. Suddenly he perceived that he no longer hit any thing and the giant had escaped, so he stopped.
The giant again aimed straight at the Poor Boy’s head, and struck his right ear.
“I’ll pay you for that,” shouted the youth, rushing upon him again. But his strength was now greatly diminished, and he only hit the giant twice before he lost him from the point of his saber.
The princess was watching their battle from her tower, which had remained standing, and as she watched wondered at the Poor Boy’s heroic courage; but when she saw the giant aiming a third blow at the youth’s head, she called: “Dear hero, turn to the right and spit three times, then you can see your foe.”
When the Poor Boy heard this, he felt a hundred, thousand times stronger than he had been before, and as he turned to the right, spit, and saw the giant, he rushed upon him, seized him in his arms, and squeezed him so that he crushed all his bones and flung him on the ground as dead as a mouse.
The prince and the Poor Boy lost no time, but prepared to journey home. The princess kissed the Poor Boy and his ear and his chin instantly healed, so that he looked even handsomer than before. Then the two comrades went to the giants’ stables, which were hidden under the foundations of the fallen palace. Each took an enchanted horse, mounted, lifted his betrothed bride upon it, and hurried homeward.
If the Red Emperor had been only an ordinary mortal he would have rejoiced, but he was a sovereign to boot! The prince married the Poor Boy’s sister and the emperor divided his empire between his son and his daughter’s betrothed. The Poor Boy then went to his poor mother’s house to bring her to court and, when she had arrived, a wedding was celebrated, that will be talked about as long as the world stands. The End.