824 THE FOUR CLEVER BROTHERS.
So he looked up, and said to the second son, ** At the top of this tree there is a chaffinch's nest ; toll me how many eggs th^re are in it." The star-gazer took his glass, looked up, and said, " Fiva" " Now," said the fiskther to the eldest son, *' take away the eggs without the bird that is sitting upon them and hatching them knowing anything of what you are doing." So the cunning thief cUmbed up the tree, and brought away to his father the five eggs from under the bird, who never saw or felt what he was doing, but kept sitting on at her ease. Then the father took the eggs, and put one on each comer of the table and the fifth in the middle, and said to the huntsman, *' Cut all the ^gs in two pieces at one shot." The huntsman took up his bow, and at one shot struck all the five eggs as his father wished. '* Now comes your turn," said he to the young tailor ; " sew the eggs and the young birds in them together again, so neatly that the shot shall have done them no harm." Then the tailor took his needle and sewed the eggs as he was told ; and when he had done, the thief was sent to take them back to the nest, and put them under the bird, without its knowing it Then she went on sitting, and hatched them ; and in a few days they crawled out, and had only a little red streak across their necks where the tailor had sewed them together.
" Well done, sons ! " said the old man, " you have made good use of your time, and learnt something worth the knowing; but I am sure I do not know which ought to have the prize. Oh ! that the time might soon come for you to turn your skill to some account T'
Not long after this there was a great bustle in the country ; for the king's daughter had been carried off by a mighty dragon, and the king mourned over his loss day and night, and made it known that whoever brought her back to him should have her for a wife. Then the four brothers said to each other, Here is a chance for us ; let us try what we can do." And they agreed to see whether they could not set the