As the Neder Prince brought his dagger to her throat, he spoke. “It will be difficult to explain your death, my dear, but as the grieving newlywed and widower, Siegfried will bathe in the tears of his nation. It matters little to me; which do you value, the ring or your life?” Elaina sobbed and took the golden ring from her finger and threw it onto the patio, where it lay among the jasmine.
As Johann rushed to retrieve the talisman, a small woodbird alit, took the ring in its beak and flew to the edge of the patio. It hovered perhaps a foot from the patio`s railing, behaving more like a hummingbird than a typical woodbird. As the bird seemed to tease him forward, Johann approached the patio railing and reached forward to where the woodbird was arcing. It hovered just out of harm`s reach and Johann slowly turned his body to face left, thereby freeing his right hand holding the dagger to reach further over the railing. The woodbird seemed to sense the change and began to widen the arc of its flight away from the patio.
Fearing the loss of all his dreams, Johann tensed and as the woodbird`s arc narrowed his distance to the railing, the Neder Prince extended his daggered hand in one fell swoop towards the woodbird. The bird stopped his progress in mid-flight and Johann was carried forward by his momentum over the patio railing, landing three flights below on a ground of tiled paving.
The woodbird flew to Elaina`s side and dropped the golden ring next to her hand. The bird perched on Elaina`s shoulder and whispered in her ear “Coo-coo”, then flew out the patio doors. The Princess sat, unable to move, but when the bird repeated this ritual three times she roused herself and followed the bird to the patio. The bird flew directly to the side door of the chapel and perched above the door, staring at the Princess. “Coo-coo”, he said, “Coo-coo”.