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Put the coin between
your teeth and let him take it from you, and he will carry you across,
but speak not to him. Then, on the other side, thou wilt come to a
dark cave, and at the entrance is a savage dog; give him the loaf of
bread and he will let thee pass and thou wilt soon come to the Queen
of the Nether-World. Take what she gives thee, but beware lest thou
eat anything or sit down while thou art within the cave."

Anima recognized the voice of her husband and did all that he had told
her, till she came to the Queen of the Nether-World, who read the
letter she had handed to her. Then she offered Anima cake and wine,
but she refused, shaking her head, but saying nothing. Then the Queen
of the Nether-World gave her a curiously wrought box and said to her:

"Take this, I pray thee, to my sister, but beware lest thou open it on
the way or ill may befall thee," and then dismissed her.

[Illustration: The Dog]

Anima went back past the great dog and crossed the dark river. When
she got into the forest beyond she could not resist the temptation to
open the box, and when she did so out jumped a number of little dolls,
which commenced dancing about in front of her and around her and
amused her much by their playful antics. But soon the night was coming
on, and she wanted to put them into the box, and they ran away and hid
behind the trees, and Anima knew that she could not get them back. So
she sat down upon the ground and wept, and wept, and wept. But at last
she heard the voice of her husband once more, who said:

[Illustration: The Casket]

"See what thy curiosity has again brought upon thee; thou canst not
bring back the box to my mother just as my aunt the Queen of the
Nether-World has given it to you, and so we shall not see one another
again."

But at this Anima burst out into weeping and wailing so piteously that
he took compassion on her and said:

"See that golden bough on yonder tree; pluck it and strike the ground
three times with it and see what thou wilt see."

Anima did as she had been told, and soon the little dolls came running
from behind the trees and jumped of their own accord into the box; and
she closed it quickly and took it back to the Queen, her husband's
mother.

The Queen opened the box, and when she found all the little dolls were
in it laughed aloud and said:

"I know who has helped thee; I cannot help myself; I suppose thou must
have my son."

And as soon as she had said this Anima's husband appeared and took her
to him, and they lived happy ever afterwards.




[Illustration: The Master-Maid with the Glass Axe]

THE MASTER-MAID


There was once a king and a queen and they had a bonny boy whom they
loved beyond anything. Now when he was grown up into a fine young
prince, the King, his father, went a-hunting one day and lost his way
in the forest, and when he came through it he found a raging stream
between him and his palace. He did not know how to get home, when
suddenly a huge giant came out of the forest and said:

"What would you give if I carried you across?"

"Anything, anything," said the King.

"Will you give me the first thing that meets you as you come to the
palace gate?"

The King thought for a while and then remembered that whenever he came
to the gate of the palace his favourite deerhound Bevis always came to
greet him. So, though he was sorry to lose him, he thought it was
worth while, and agreed with the giant.

Thereupon the giant took the King upon his shoulders and wading across
the raging stream landed him on the farther bank and saying to him,
"Remember what you have promised," went back again to the other side.

The King soon found his way towards the palace, but as he came to the
palace gate it happened that his son Prince Edgar was standing there,
and before Bevis the hound could dash out to greet his master, Prince
Edgar had rushed towards his father and caught him by the hand. The
King was rather startled but thought to himself:

"Oh, how will the giant know who met me? After all I intended to give
him Bevis, and that's what I'll do when he comes."

The next day the giant came to the castle gates and asked to see the
King, and when he was admitted to his presence he said:

"I come for your promise."

"Bring Bevis the hound," said the King to his attendants.

But the giant said: "I want no hound; give me your Prince."

The King was alarmed at finding that the giant knew who had met him;
but he told him that the Prince was away, but he would send and summon
him. Then he called his High Steward and told him to dress up the
herd-boy of the palace in some of the Prince's clothes. And when this
was done he gave him to the giant, who hoisted him on his shoulder and
strode off with him.

When they had gone a little way along the herd-boy in the Prince's
suit called out:

"Stop, stop, I am hungry; this is the time the herd rests and I have
my luncheon."

Then the giant knew that he had been deceived and went back to the
King's palace and said to him:

"Take your herd-boy and give me the Prince."

The King was again startled to find that the giant had found out his
trick, but thought to himself:

"Well, he didn't find out at once; we'll have another try," and
ordered his Steward to dress up the shepherd boy in the Prince's
clothes and give him to the giant.

Again the giant strode off with the shepherd boy in Prince's clothes
upon his shoulder, and they had not gone far when the boy called out:

[Illustration: _The Prince wants his Lunch_]

"Stop, stop, it is time for lunch; this is when the sheep all rest."

Then again the giant knew that he had been tricked and rushed back in
a rage to the King's palace and threw the shepherd boy to the ground
and called out:

"Take your shepherd boy and give me the Prince you promised, or it
will be worse for you."

This time the King dared not refuse and called Prince Edgar to him and
gave him to the giant, who seized him as before and put him on his
shoulder.

After they had gone a little way, the Prince called out:

"'Tis time to stop; this is the time I have always lunched with my
father the King and my mother the Queen."

Then the giant knew that he had got the right Prince and took him home
to his castle. When he got him there he gave him his supper and told
him that he would have to work for him and that his first work would
be next day to clean out the stable.

"That's not much," thought the Prince, and went to bed quite happy and
comfortable.

Next day the giant took Edgar into the giant's stable, which was full
of straw and dirt and all huddled up, and pointing to a pitchfork
said:

"Clear all of this straw out of this stable by to-night," and left him
to his task.

The Prince thought this was an easy thing to do, and before starting
went to get a drink at the well, and there he saw a most beautiful
maiden sitting by the well and knitting.

"Who are you?" said she.

And so he told her all that had happened and said:

"At any rate I have an easy master; all he has given me to do is to
clear out the stable."

"That is not so easy as you think," said the maid. "How are you going
to do it?"

"With a pitchfork."

"You will find that not so easy; if you try to use the pitchfork in
the ordinary way, the more you shove the more there will be; but turn
the pitchfork upside-down and push with the handle and all the straw
and stuff will run away from it."

So Prince Edgar went back to the stable, and sure enough, when he
tried to push the straw with the fork it only grew more and more, but
if he turned the handle towards it the straw moved away from the fork
and so he soon cleared it out of the stable.

When the giant came home the first thing he did was to go to the
stable; and when he saw it had all been cleared out he said to the
Prince:

"Ah, you've been talking to my Master-Maid. Well, to-morrow you'll
have to cut down that clump of trees."

"Very well, Master," said Prince Edgar, and thought that would not be
difficult.

But next morning the giant gave him an axe made of glass and told him
that he must cut down every one of the trees before nightfall.

When he had gone away, the Prince went to the Master-Maid and told her
what his task was.

"You cannot do that with such an axe, but never mind, I can help you.
Sleep here in peace and when you wake up you will see what you will
see."

So Prince Edgar trusted the Master-Maid and lay down and slept till
late in the afternoon, when he woke up and looked, and there were the
trees all felled and the Master-Maid was smiling by his side.

"How did you do it?" he said.

"That I may not say, but done it is, and that is all that you need
care for."

When the giant came home, the first thing he did was to go to the
clump of trees and found, to his surprise, that they had all been
felled.

"Ah, you've spoken to my Master-Maid," he said once more.

"Who is she?" said the Prince.

"You know well enough," said the giant. "But for her you could not
have cut down those trees with that glass axe."

"I do not know what you mean," said the Prince. "But at any rate,
there you have your trees cut down, what more do you want?"

"Well, well," grumbled the giant, "we'll see to-morrow whether you can
do what I tell you then," and would not say what his task should be
next day.

When the morning came, the giant pointed to the tallest tree in the
forest near them, and said:

"Do you see that birds' nest in the top of that tree? In it are six
eggs; you must climb up there and get all those eggs for me before
nightfall, and if one is broken woe betide you!"

At that Prince Edgar did not feel so happy, for there were no branches
to the tree till very near the top, and it was as smooth, as smooth as
it could be, and he did not see how possibly he could reach the birds'
nest. But when the giant had gone out for the day he went at once to
the Master-Maid and told her of his new task.

"That is the hardest of all," said the Master-Maid. "There is only one
way to do the task. You must cut me up into small pieces and take out
my bones, and out of the bones you must make a ladder, and with that
ladder you can reach the top."

"That I will never do," said the Prince.



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