Page:Popular tales from the Norse (1912).djvu/419
THE MASTER THIEF.
sleeted, and drove so that he could scarce keep his eyes open; and in a trice, before he knew how it was, he got bewildered, and could not find either road or path. But as he went on and on, at last he saw a glimmering of light far far off in the wood. So he thought he would try and get to the light; and after a time he did reach it. There it was in a large house, and the fire was blazing so brightly inside that he could tell the folk had not yet gone to bed; so he went in and saw an old dame bustling about and minding the house.
"Good evening!" said the youth.
"Good evening!" said the old dame.
"Hutetu! it's such foul weather out of doors to-night," said he.
"So it is," said she.
"Can I get leave to have a bed and shelter here tonight?" asked the youth.
"You'll get no good by sleeping here," said the old dame; "for if the folk come home and find you here, they'll kill both me and you."
"What sort of folk then, are they who live here?" asked the youth.
"Oh, robbers! And a bad lot of them too," said the old dame. "They stole me away when I was little, and have kept me as their housekeeper ever since."
"Well, for all that, I think I'll just go to bed," said the youth. "Come what may, I'll not stir out at night in such weather."
"Very well," said the old dame; "but if you stay; it will be the worse for you."
With that the youth got into a bed which stood there,