Troll's Daughter
Category: Love Letters
There was once a lad who went to look for a place. As he went along he
met a man, who asked him where he was going. He told him his errand, and
the stranger said, 'Then you can serve me; I am just in want of a lad
like you, and I will give you good wages--a bushel of money the first
year, two the second year, and three the third year, for you must serve
me three years, and obey me in everything, however strange it seems to
you. You need not be afraid of taking service with me, for there is no
danger in it if you only know how to obey.'

The bargain was made, and the lad went home with the man to whom he had
engaged himself. It was a strange place indeed, for he lived in a bank
in the middle of the wild forest, and the lad saw there no other person
than his master. The latter was a great troll, and had marvellous power
over both men and beasts.

Next day the lad had to begin his service. The first thing that the
troll set him to was to feed all the wild animals from the forest. These
the troll had tied up, and there were both wolves and bears, deer and
hares, which the troll had gathered in the stalls and folds in his
stable down beneath the ground, and that stable was a mile long. The
boy, however, accomplished all this work on that day, and the troll
praised him and said that it was very well done.

Next morning the troll said to him, 'To-day the animals are not to be
fed; they don't get the like of that every day. You shall have leave to
play about for a little, until they are to be fed again.'

Then the troll said some words to him which he did not understand, and
with that the lad turned into a hare, and ran out into the wood. He got
plenty to run for, too, for all the hunters aimed at him, and tried to
shoot him, and the dogs barked and ran after him wherever they got wind
of him. He was the only animal that was left in the wood now, for the
troll had tied up all the others, and every hunter in the whole country
was eager to knock him over. But in this they met with no success; there
was no dog that could overtake him, and no marksman that could hit him.
They shot and shot at him, and he ran and ran. It was an unquiet life,
but in the long run he got used to it, when he saw that there was no
danger in it, and it even amused him to befool all the hunters and dogs
that were so eager after him.

Thus a whole year passed, and when it was over the troll called him
home, for he was now in his power like all the other animals. The troll
then said some words to him which he did not understand, and the hare
immediately became a human being again. 'Well, how do you like to serve
me?' said the troll, 'and how do you like being a hare?'

The lad replied that he liked it very well; he had never been able to go
over the ground so quickly before. The troll then showed him the bushel
of money that he had already earned, and the lad was well pleased to
serve him for another year.

The first day of the second year the boy had the same work to do as on
the previous one--namely, to feed all the wild animals in the troll's
stable. When he had done this the troll again said some words to him,
and with that he became a raven, and flew high up into the air. This was
delightful, the lad thought; he could go even faster now than when he
was a hare, and the dogs could not come after him here. This was a great
delight to him, but he soon found out that he was not to be left quite
at peace, for all the marksmen and hunters who saw him aimed at him and
fired away, for they had no other birds to shoot at than himself, as the
troll had tied up all the others.

This, however, he also got used to, when he saw that they could never
hit him, and in this way he flew about all that year, until the troll
called him home again, said some strange words to him, and gave him
his human shape again. 'Well, how did you like being a raven?' said the

'I liked it very well,' said the lad, 'for never in all my days have I
been able to rise so high.' The troll then showed him the two bushels
of money which he had earned that year, and the lad was well content to
remain in his service for another year.

Next day he got his old task of feeding all the wild beasts. When this
was done the troll again said some words to him, and at these he turned
into a fish, and sprang into the river. He swam up and he swam down, and
thought it was pleasant to let himself drive with the stream. In this
way he came right out into the sea, and swam further and further out. At
last he came to a glass palace, which stood at the bottom of the sea. He
could see into all the rooms and halls, where everything was very grand;
all the furniture was of white ivory, inlaid with gold and pearl. There
were soft rugs and cushions of all the colours of the rainbow, and
beautiful carpets that looked like the finest moss, and flowers and
trees with curiously crooked branches, both green and yellow, white and
red, and there were also little fountains which sprang up from the most
beautiful snail-shells, and fell into bright mussel-shells, and at the
same time made a most delightful music, which filled the whole palace.

The most beautiful thing of all, however, was a young girl who went
about there, all alone. She went about from one room to another, but did
not seem to be happy with all the grandeur she had about her. She walked
in solitude and melancholy, and never even thought of looking at her
own image in the polished glass walls that were on every side of her,
although she was the prettiest creature anyone could wish to see. The
lad thought so too while he swam round the palace and peeped in from
every side.

'Here, indeed, it would be better to be a man than such a poor dumb fish
as I am now,' said he to himself; 'if I could only remember the words
that the troll says when he changes my shape, then perhaps I could help
myself to become a man again.' He swam and he pondered and he thought
over this until he remembered the sound of what the troll said, and then
he tried to say it himself. In a moment he stood in human form at the
bottom of the sea.

He made haste then to enter the glass palace, and went up to the young
girl and spoke to her.

At first he nearly frightened the life out of her, but he talked to
her so kindly and explained how he had come down there that she soon
recovered from her alarm, and was very pleased to have some company to
relieve the terrible solitude that she lived in. Time passed so quickly
for both of them that the youth (for now he was quite a young man, and
no more a lad) forgot altogether how long he had been there.

One day the girl said to him that now it was close on the time when he
must become a fish again--the troll would soon call him home, and he
would have to go, but before that he must put on the shape of the fish,
otherwise he could not pass through the sea alive. Before this, while he
was staying down there, she had told him that she was a daughter of the
same troll whom the youth served, and he had shut her up there to keep
her away from everyone. She had now devised a plan by which they could
perhaps succeed in getting to see each other again, and spending the
rest of their lives together. But there was much to attend to, and he
must give careful heed to all that she told him.

She told him then that all the kings in the country round about were
in debt to her father the troll, and the king of a certain kingdom,
the name of which she told him, was the first who had to pay, and if he
could not do so at the time appointed he would lose his head. 'And he
cannot pay,' said she; 'I know that for certain. Now you must, first of
all, give up your service with my father; the three years are past,
and you are at liberty to go. You will go off with your six bushels
of money, to the kingdom that I have told you of, and there enter the
service of the king. When the time comes near for his debt becoming due
you will be able to notice by his manner that he is ill at ease. You
shall then say to him that you know well enough what it is that is
weighing upon him--that it is the debt which he owes to the troll and
cannot pay, but that you can lend him the money. The amount is six
bushels--just what you have. You shall, however, only lend them to
him on condition that you may accompany him when he goes to make the
payment, and that you then have permission to run before him as a fool.
When you arrive at the troll's abode, you must perform all kinds of
foolish tricks, and see that you break a whole lot of his windows, and
do all other damage that you can. My father will then get very angry,
and as the king must answer for what his fool does he will sentence him,
even although he has paid his debt, either to answer three questions or
to lose his life. The first question my father will ask will be, "Where
is my daughter?" Then you shall step forward and answer "She is at the
bottom of the sea." He will then ask you whether you can recognise her,
and to this you will answer "Yes." Then he will bring forward a whole
troop of women, and cause them to pass before you, in order that you may
pick out the one that you take for his daughter. You will not be able
to recognise me at all, and therefore I will catch hold of you as I go
past, so that you can notice it, and you must then make haste to catch
me and hold me fast. You have then answered his first question. His next
question will be, "Where is my heart?" You shall then step forward again
and answer, "It is in a fish." "Do you know that fish?" he will say,
and you will again answer "Yes." He will then cause all kinds of fish
to come before you, and you shall choose between them. I shall take good
care to keep by your side, and when the right fish comes I will give you
a little push, and with that you will seize the fish and cut it up. Then
all will be over with the troll; he will ask no more questions, and we
shall be free to wed.'

When the youth had got all these directions as to what he had to do when
he got ashore again the next thing was to remember the words which the
troll said when he changed him from a human being to an animal; but
these he had forgotten, and the girl did not know them either. He went
about all day in despair, and thought and thought, but he could not
remember what they sounded like. During the night he could not sleep,
until towards morning he fell into a slumber, and all at once it flashed
upon him what the troll used to say. He made haste to repeat the words,
and at the same moment he became a fish again and slipped out into the
sea. Immediately after this he was called upon, and swam through the sea
up the river to where the troll stood on the bank and restored him to
human shape with the same words as before.

'Well, how do you like to be a fish?' asked the troll.

It was what he had liked best of all, said the youth, and that was no
lie, as everybody can guess.

The troll then showed him the three bushels of money which he had earned
during the past year; they stood beside the other three, and all the six
now belonged to him.

'Perhaps you will serve me for another year yet,' said the troll, 'and
you will get six bushels of money for it; that makes twelve in all, and
that is a pretty penny.'

'No,' said the youth; he thought he had done enough, and was anxious to
go to some other place to serve, and learn other people's ways; but he
would, perhaps, come back to the troll some other time.

The troll said that he would always be welcome; he had served him
faithfully for the three years they had agreed upon, and he could make
no objections to his leaving now.

The youth then got his six bushels of money, and with these he betook
himself straight to the kingdom which his sweetheart had told him of.
He got his money buried in a lonely spot close to the king's palace, and
then went in there and asked to be taken into service. He obtained his
request, and was taken on as stableman, to tend the king's horses.

Some time passed, and he noticed how the king always went about
sorrowing and grieving, and was never glad or happy. One day the king
came into the stable, where there was no one present except the youth,
who said straight out to him that, with his majesty's permission, he
wished to ask him why he was so sorrowful.

'It's of no use speaking about that,' said the king; 'you cannot help
me, at any rate.'

'You don't know about that,' said the youth; ' I know well enough what
it is that lies so heavy on your mind, and I know also of a plan to get
the money paid.'

This was quite another case, and the king had more talk with the
stableman, who said that he could easily lend the king the six bushels
of money, but would only do it on condition that he should be allowed to
accompany the king when he went to pay the debt, and that he should
then be dressed like the king's court fool, and run before him. He would
cause some trouble, for which the king would be severely spoken to, but
he would answer for it that no harm would befall him.

The king gladly agreed to all that the youth proposed, and it was now
high time for them to set out.

When they came to the troll's dwelling it was no longer in the bank, but
on the top of this there stood a large castle which the youth had never
seen before. The troll could, in fact, make it visible or invisible,
just as he pleased, and, knowing as much as he did of the troll's magic
arts, the youth was not at all surprised at this.

When they came near to this castle, which looked as if it was of pure
glass, the youth ran on in front as the king's fool. Heran sometimes
facing forwards, sometimes backwards, stood sometimes on his head, and
sometimes on his feet, and he dashed in pieces so many of the troll's
big glass windows and doors that it was something awful to see, and
overturned everything he could, and made a fearful disturbance.

The troll came rushing out, and was so angry and furious, and abused the
king with all his might for bringing such a wretched fool with him, as
he was sure that he could not pay the least bit of all the damage that
had been done when he could not even pay off his old debt.

The fool, however, spoke up, and said that he could do so quite easily,
and the king then came forward with the six bushels of money which the
youth had lent him. They were measured and found to be correct. This the
troll had not reckoned on, but he could make no objection against it.
The old debt was honestly paid, and the king got his bond back again.

But there still remained all the damage that had been done that day, and
the king had nothing with which to pay for this. The troll, therefore,
sentenced the king, either to answer three questions that he would put
to him, or have his head taken off, as was agreed on in the old bond.

There was nothing else to be done than to try to answer the troll's
riddles. The fool then stationed himself just by the king's side while
the troll came forward with his questions. He first asked, 'Where is my

The fool spoke up and said, 'She is at the bottom of the sea.'

'How do you know that?' said the troll.

'The little fish saw it,' said the fool.

'Would you know her?' said the troll.

'Yes, bring her forward,' said the fool.

The troll made a whole crowd of women go past them, one after the other,
but all these were nothing but shadows and deceptions. Amongst the very
last was the troll's real daughter, who pinched the fool as she went
past him to make him aware of her presence. He thereupon caught her
round the waist and held her fast, and the troll had to admit that his
first riddle was solved.

Then the troll asked again: 'Where is my heart?'

'It is in a fish,' said the fool.

'Would you know that fish?' said the troll.

'Yes, bring it forward,' said the fool.

Then all the fishes came swimming past them, and meanwhile the troll's
daughter stood just by the youth's side. When at last the right fish
came swimming along she gave him a nudge, and he seized it at once,
drove his knife into it, and split it up, took the heart out of it, and
cut it through the middle.

At the same moment the troll fell dead and turned into pieces of flint.
With that a,ll the bonds that the troll had bound were broken; all the
wild beasts and birds which he had caught and hid under the ground were
free now, and dispersed themselves in the woods and in the air.

The youth and his sweetheart entered the castle, which was now theirs,
and held their wedding; and all the kings roundabout, who had been
in the troll's debt, and were now out of it, came to the wedding, and
saluted the youth as their emperor, and he ruled over them all, and kept
peace between them, and lived in his castle with his beautiful empress
in great joy and magnificence. And if they have not died since they are
living there to this day.

White Dove
Category: Love Letters
A king had two sons. They were a pair of reckless fellows, who always
had something foolish to do. One day they rowed out alone on the sea in
a little boat. It was beautiful weather when they set out, but as soon
as they had got some distance from the shore there arose a terrific
storm. The oars went overboard at once, and the little boat was tossed
about on the rolling billows like a nut-shell. The princes had to hold
fast by the seats to keep from being thrown out of the boat.

In the midst of all this they met a wonderful vessel--it was a
dough-trough, in which there sat an old woman. She called to them, and
said that they could still get to shore alive if they would promise her
the son that was next to come to their mother the queen.

'We can't do that,' shouted the princes; 'he doesn't belong to us so we
can't give him away.'

'Then you can rot at the bottom of the sea, both of you,' said the old
woman; 'and perhaps it may be the case that your mother would rather
keep the two sons she has than the one she hasn't got yet.'

Then she rowed away in her dough-trough, while the storm howled still
louder than before, and the water dashed over their boat until it was
almost sinking. Then the princes thought that there was something in
what the old woman had said about their mother, and being, of course,
eager to save their lives, they shouted to her, and promised that she
should have their brother if she would deliver them from this danger. As
soon as they had done so the storm ceased and the waves fell. The boat
drove ashore below their father's castle, and both princes were received
with open arms by their father and mother, who had suffered great
anxiety for them.

The two brothers said nothing about what they had promised, neither at
that time nor later on when the queen's third son came, a beautiful boy,
whom she loved more than anything else in the world. He was brought up
and educated in his father's house until he was full grown, and still
his brothers had never seen or heard anything about the witch to whom
they had promised him before he was born.

It happened one evening that there arose a raging storm, with mist and
darkness. It howled and roared around the king's palace, and in the
midst of it there came a loud knock on the door of the hall where the
youngest prince was. He went to the door and found there an old woman
with a dough- trough on her back, who said to him that he must go with
her at once; his brothers had promised him to her if she would save
their lives.

'Yes,' said he; 'if you saved my brothers' lives, and they promised me
to you, then I will go with you.'

They therefore went down to the beach together, where he had to take his
seat in the trough, along with the witch, who sailed away with him, over
the sea, home to her dwelling.

The prince was now in the witch's power, and in her service. The first
thing she set him to was to pick feathers. 'The heap of feathers that
you see here,' said she, 'you must get finished before I come home in
the evening, otherwise you shall be set to harder work.' He started
to the feathers, and picked and picked until there was only a single
feather left that had not passed through his hands. But then there came
a whirlwind and sent all the feathers flying, and swept them along the
floor into a heap, where they lay as if they were trampled together.
He had now to begin all his work over again, but by this time it only
wanted an hour of evening, when the witch was to be expected home, and
he easily saw that it was impossible for him to be finished by that

Then he heard something tapping at the window pane, and a thin voice
said, 'Let me in, and I will help you.' It was a white dove, which sat
outside the window, and was pecking at it with its beak. He opened the
window, and the dove came in and set to work at once, and picked all
the feathers out of the heap with its beak. Before the hour was past the
feathers were all nicely arranged: the dove flew out at the window, and
at, the same moment the witch came in at the door.

'Well, well,' said she, 'it was more than I would have expected of you
to get all the feathers put in order so nicely. However, such a prince
might be expected to have neat fingers.'

Next morning the witch said to the prince, 'To-day you shall have some
easy work to do. Outside the door I have some firewood lying; you must
split that for me into little bits that I can kindle the fire with. That
will soon be done, but you must be finished before I come home.'

The prince got a little axe and set to work at once. He split and clove
away, and thought that he was getting on fast; but the day wore on until
it was long past midday, and he was still very far from having finished.
He thought, in fact, that the pile of wood rather grew bigger than
smaller, in spite of what he took off it; so he let his hands fall by
his side, and dried the sweat from his forehead, and was ill at ease,
for he knew that it would be bad for him if he was not finished with the
work before the witch came home.

Then the white dove came flying and settled down on the pile of wood,
and cooed and said, 'Shall I help you?'

'Yes,' said the prince, 'many thanks for your help yesterday, and for
what you offer to-day.' Thereupon the little dove seized one piece of
wood after another and split it with its beak. The prince could not take
away the wood as quickly as the dove could split it, and in a short time
it was all cleft into little sticks.

The dove then flew up on his shoulder and sat there and the prince
thanked it, and stroked and caressed its white feathers, and kissed
its little red beak. With that it was a dove no longer, but a beautiful
young maiden, who stood by his side. She told him then that she was a
princess whom the witch had stolen, and had changed to this shape,
but with his kiss she had got her human form again; and if he would be
faithful to her, and take her to wife, she could free them both from the
witch's power.

The prince was quite captivated by the beautiful princess, and was quite
willing to do anything whatsoever to get her for himself.

She then said to him, 'When the witch comes home you must ask her to
grant you a wish, when you have accomplished so well all that she has
demanded of you. When she agrees to this you must ask her straight out
for the princess that she has flying about as a white dove. But just now
you must take a red silk thread and tie it round my little finger, so
that you may be able to recognise me again, into whatever shape she
turns me.'

The prince made haste to get the silk thread tied round her little white
finger; at the same moment the princess became a dove again and flew
away, and immediately after that the old witch came home with her
dough-trough on he back.

'Well,' said she, 'I must say that you are clever at your work, and it
is something, too, that such princely hands are not accustomed to.'

'Since you are so well pleased with my work, said the prince, 'you
will, no doubt, be willing to give me a little pleasure too, and give me
something that I have taken a fancy to.'

'Oh yes, indeed,' said the old woman; 'what is it that you want?'

'I want the princess here who is in the shape of a white dove,' said the

'What nonsense!' said the witch. 'Why should you imagine that there are
princesses here flying about in the shape of white doves? But if you
will have a princess, you can get one such as we have them.' She then
came to him, dragging a shaggy little grey ass with long ears. 'Will you
have this?' said she; 'you can't get any other princess!'

The prince used his eyes and saw the red silk thread on one of the ass's
hoofs, so he said, 'Yes, just let me have it.'

'What will you do with it?' asked the witch.

'I will ride on it,' said the prince; but with that the witch dragged
it away again, and came back with an old, wrinkled, toothless hag, whose
hands trembled with age. 'You can have no other princess,' said she.
'Will you have her?'

'Yes, I will,' said the prince, for he saw the red silk thread on the
old woman's finger.

At this the witch became so furious that she danced about and knocked
everything to pieces that she could lay her hands upon, so that the
splinters flew about the ears of the prince and princess, who now stood
there in her own beautiful shape.

Then their marriage had to be celebrated, for the witch had to stick
to what she had promised, and he must get the princess whatever might
happen afterwards.

The princess now said to him, 'At the marriage feast you may eat what
you please, but you must not drink anything whatever, for if you do that
you will forget me.'

This, however, the prince forgot on the wedding day, and stretched out
his hand and took a cup of wine; but the princess was keeping watch over
him, and gave him a push with her elbow, so that the wine flew over the
table- cloth.

Then the witch got up and laid about her among the plates and dishes, so
that the pieces flew about their ears, just as she had done when she was
cheated the first time.

They were then taken to the bridal chamber, and the door was shut. Then
the princess said, 'Now the witch has kept her promise, but she will do
no more if she can help it, so we must fly immediately. I shall lay two
pieces of wood in the bed to answer for us when the witch speaks to us.
You can take the flower-pot and the glass of water that stands in the
window, and we must slip out by that and get away.'

No sooner said than done. They hurried off out into the dark night, the
princess leading, because she knew the way, having spied it out while
she flew about as a dove.

At midnight the witch came to the door of the room and called in to
them, and the two pieces of wood answered her, so that she believed they
were there, and went away again. Before daybreak she was at the door
again and called to them, and again the pieces of wood answered for
them. She thus thought that she had them, and when the sun rose the
bridal night was past: she had then kept her promise, and could vent her
anger and revenge on both of them. With the first sunbeam she broke into
the room, but there she found no prince and no princess--nothing but the
two pieces of firewood, which lay in the bed, and stared, and spoke not
a word. These she threw on the floor, so that they were splintered into
a thousand pieces, and off she hastened after the fugitives.

With the first sunbeam the princess said to the prince, 'Look round; do
you see anything behind us?'

'Yes, I see a dark cloud, far away,' said he.

'Then throw the flower-pot over your head,' said she. When this was done
there was a large thick forest behind them.

When the witch came to the forest she could not get through it until she
went home and brought her axe to cut a path.

A little after this the princess said again to the prince, 'Look round;
do you see anything behind us?'

'Yes,' said the prince, 'the big black cloud is there again.'

'Then throw the glass of water over your head,' said she.

When he had done this there was a great lake behind them, and this
the witch could not cross until she ran home again and brought her

Meanwhile the fugitives had reached the castle which was the prince's
home. They climbed over the garden wall, ran across the garden, and
crept in at an open window. By this time the witch was just at their
heels, but the princess stood in the window and blew upon the witch;
hundreds of white doves flew out of her mouth, fluttered and flapped
around the witch's head until she grew so angry that she turned into
flint, and there she stands to this day, in the shape of a large flint
stone, outside the window.

Within the castle there was great rejoicing over the prince and his
bride. His two elder brothers came and knelt before him and confessed
what they had done, and said that he alone should inherit the kingdom,
and they would always be his faithful subjects.
How the Hermit Helped
There was once a girl so poor that she had nothing to live on, and
wandered about the world asking for charity. One day she arrived at
a thatched cottage, and inquired if they could give her any work. The
farmer said he wanted a cowherd, as his own had left him, and if the
girl liked the place she might take it. So she became a cowherd.

One morning she was driving her cows through the meadows when she heard
near by a loud groan that almost sounded human. She hastened to the spot
from which the noise came, and found it proceeded from a lion who lay
stretched upon the ground.

You can guess how frightened she was! But the lion seemed in such pain
that she was sorry for him, and drew nearer and nearer till she saw he
had a large thorn in one foot. She pulled out the thorn and bound up the
place, and the lion was grateful, and licked her hand by way of thanks
with his big rough tongue.

When the girl had finished she went back to find the cows, but they had
gone, and though she hunted everywhere she never found them; and she had
to return home and confess to her master, who scolded her bitterly, and
afterwards beat her. Then he said, 'Now you will have to look after the

So every day she had to take the asses to the woods to feed, until one
morning, exactly a year after she had found the lion, she heard a groan
which sounded quite human. She went straight to the place from which the
noise came, and, to her great surprise, beheld the same lion stretched
on the ground with a deep wound across his face.

This time she was not afraid at all, and ran towards him, washing the
wound and laying soothing herbs upon it; and when she had bound it up
the lion thanked her in the same manner as before.

After that she returned to her flock, but they were nowhere to be
seen. She searched here and she searched there, but they had vanished

Then she had to go home and confess to her master, who first scolded her
and afterwards beat her. 'Now go,' he ended, 'and look after the pigs!'

So the next day she took out the pigs, and found them such good feeding
grounds that they grew fatter every day.

Another year passed by, and one morning when the maiden was out with her
pigs she heard a groan which sounded quite human. She ran to see what
it was, and found her old friend the lion, wounded through and through,
fast dying under a tree.

She fell on her knees before him and washed his wounds one by one, and
laid healing herbs upon them. And the lion licked her hands and thanked
her, and asked if she would not stay and sit by him. But the girl said
she had her pigs to watch, and she must go and see after them.

So she ran to the place where she had left them, but they had vanished
as if the earth had swallowed them up. She whistled and called, but only
the birds answered her.

Then she sank down on the ground and wept bitterly, not daring to return
home until some hours had passed away.

And when she had had her cry out she got up and searched all up and down
the wood. But it was no use; there was not a sign of the pigs.

At last she thought that perhaps if she climbed a tree she might
see further. But no sooner was she seated on the highest branch than
something happened which put the pigs quite out of her head. This was a
handsome young man who was coming down the path; and when he had almost
reached the tree he pulled aside a rock and disappeared behind it.

The maiden rubbed her eyes and wondered if she had been dreaming. Next
she thought, 'I will not stir from here till I see him come out, and
discover who he is.' Accordingly she waited, and at dawn the next
morning the rock moved to one side and a lion came out.

When he had gone quite out of sight the girl climbed down from the tree
and went to the rock, which she pushed aside, and entered the opening
before her. The path led to a beautiful house. She went in, swept and
dusted the furniture, and put everything tidy. Then she ate a very good
dinner, which was on a shelf in the corner, and once more clambered up
to the top of her tree.

As the sun set she saw the same young man walking gaily down the path,
and, as before, he pushed aside the rock and disappeared behind it.

Next morning out came the lion. He looked sharply about him on all
sides, but saw no one, and then vanished into the forest.

The maiden then came down from the tree and did exactly as she had done
the day before. Thus three days went by, and every day she went and
tidied up the palace. At length, when the girl found she was no nearer
to discovering the secret, she resolved to ask him, and in the evening
when she caught sight of him coming through the wood she came down from
the tree and begged him to tell her his name.

The young man looked very pleased to see her, and said he thought it
must be she who had secretly kept his house for so many days. And he
added that he was a prince enchanted by a powerful giant, but was only
allowed to take his own shape at night, for all day he was forced to
appear as the lion whom she had so often helped; and, more than this,
it was the giant who had stolen the oxen and the asses and the pigs in
revenge for her kindness.

And the girl asked him, 'What can I do to disenchant you?'

But he said he was afraid it was very difficult, because the only way
was to get a lock of hair from the head of a king's daughter, to spin
it, and to make from it a cloak for the giant, who lived up on the top
of a high mountain.

'Very well,' answered the girl, 'I will go to the city, and knock at
the door of the king's palace, and ask the princess to take me as a

So they parted, and when she arrived at the city she walked about the
streets crying, 'Who will hire me for a servant? Who will hire me for a
servant?' But, though many people liked her looks, for she was clean and
neat, the maiden would listen to none, and still continued crying, 'Who
will hire me for a servant? Who will hire me for a servant?'

At last there came the waiting-maid of the princess.

'What can you do?' she said; and the girl was forced to confess that she
could do very little.

'Then you will have to do scullion's work, and wash up dishes,' said
she; and they went straight back to the palace.

Then the maiden dressed her hair afresh, and made herself look very neat
and smart, and everyone admired and praised her, till by-and-bye it came
to the ears of the princess. And she sent for the girl, and when she saw
her, and how beautifully she had dressed her hair, the princess told her
she was to come and comb out hers.

Now the hair of the princess was very thick and long, and shone like
the sun. And the girl combed it and combed it till it was brighter than
ever. And the princess was pleased, and bade her come every day and comb
her hair, till at length the girl took courage, and begged leave to cut
off one of the long, thick locks.

The princess, who was very proud of her hair, did not like the idea of
parting with any of it, so she said no. But the girl could not give
up hope, and each day she entreated to be allowed to cut off just one
tress. At length the princess lost patience, and exclaimed, 'You may
have it, then, on condition that you shall find the handsomest prince in
the world to be my bridegroom!'

And the girl answered that she would, and cut off the lock, and wove it
into a coat that glittered like silk, and brought it to the young man,
who told her to carry it straight to the giant. But that she must be
careful to cry out a long way off what she had with her, or else he
would spring upon her and run her through with his sword.

So the maiden departed and climbed up the mountain, but before she
reached the top the giant heard her footsteps, and rushed out breathing
fire and flame, having a sword in one hand and a club in the other. But
she cried loudly that she had brought him the coat, and then he grew
quiet, and invited her to come into his house.

He tried on the coat, but it was too short, and he threw it off, and
declared it was no use. And the girl picked it up sadly, and returned
quite in despair to the king's palace.

The next morning, when she was combing the princess's hair, she begged
leave to cut off another lock. At first the princess said no, but the
girl begged so hard that at length she gave in on condition that she
should find her a prince as bridegroom.

The maiden told her that she had already found him, and spun the lock
into shining stuff, and fastened it on to the end of the coat. And when
it was finished she carried it to the giant.

This time it fitted him, and he was quite pleased, and asked her what
he could give her in return. And she said that the only reward he could
give her was to take the spell off the lion and bring him back to his
own shape.

For a long time the giant would not hear of it, but in the end he gave
in, and told her exactly how it must all be done. She was to kill the
lion herself and cut him up very small; then she must burn him, and cast
his ashes into the water, and out of the water the prince would come
free from enchantment for ever.

But the maiden went away weeping, lest the giant should have deceived
her, and that after she had killed the lion she would find she had also
slain the prince.

Weeping she came down the mountain, and weeping she joined the prince,
who was awaiting her at the bottom; and when he had heard her story he
comforted her, and bade her be of good courage, and to do the bidding of
the giant.

And the maiden believed what the prince told her; and in the morning
when he put on his lion's form she took a knife and slew him, and cut
him up very small, and burnt him, and cast his ashes into the water, and
out of the water came the prince, beautiful as the day, and as glad to
look upon as the sun himself.

Then the young man thanked the maiden for all she had done for him, and
said she should be his wife and none other. But the maiden only wept
sore, and answered that that she could never be, for she had given her
promise to the princess when she cut off her hair that the prince should
wed her and her only.

But the prince replied, 'If it is the princess, we must go quickly. Come
with me.'

So they went together to the king's palace. And when the king and queen
and princess saw the young man a great joy filled their hearts, for they
knew him for the eldest son, who had long ago been enchanted by a giant
and lost to them.

And he asked his parents' consent that he might marry the girl who had
saved him, and a great feast was made, and the maiden became a princess,
and in due time a queen, and she richly deserved all the honours
showered upon her.

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