The merchant’s business trip was not as successful as he had hoped and he ventured home empty handed. In his sadness he steered his horse in the wrong direction and became terribly lost in the forest. The merchant stumbled along for hours, becoming hungrier and more desperate for he had promised his young Beauty that he would return safely.
Luckily, just before night settled in, the merchant came upon a large castle hidden amongst the forest trees. He rode through the castle gardens and tucked his horse into the stables.
Upon entering the castle, the merchant discovered a wonderful feast laid out in front of a warm fire. There was a place set for one person, and being careful not to disturb the food, the merchant waited to speak with the owner. But no one appeared.
After several hours of waiting and listening to his starving belly grumble, the merchant decided to enjoy the feast. He ate until he was so tired he thought he might fall asleep in his, now empty, plate. The merchant stepped away from the table and began exploring the castle, in search of a place to rest. Fortunately, the first room he came upon was an elegant bedroom. The bed was turned down and ready for a night’’s sleep, so the merchant climbed in and fell asleep instantly.