Source: The Key of Gold by Josef Baudis.
- For these reading notes, I’ve chosen to focus on the story “Kojata.”
- There is a king who goes riding in his kingdom and eventually stops for water, trying to drink from a well in the woods.
- A strange crab-like creature grasped the king’s beard from the bottom of the well and refuses to let him go until he promises to give up “the thing he had at home unknown to himself.”
- The king, thinking he knows everything at home, agrees, and is struck with grief when he realizes that this commits his unborn son.
- His son is born and grows up and the king despairs, but the young prince tries to comfort him, saying he will fend for himself.
- The young prince goes out to the wood and meets a girl of his age who reveals that she is the youngest daughter of the sorcerer who originally accosted the king.
- She warns him that her father will force the young prince to complete three terrible challenges through which she will covertly assist him: first, he must identify her among twelve identical copies; second, to build a palace of gold and silver.
- The third task the young woman cannot help with, and so she recommends that they flee together.
- She uses her magic to allow them to escape, and they run through the forest and barely avoid the sorcerer, eventually returning to the king’s residence, where they marry and live happily ever after, etc.