Page:Celtic Fairy Tales.djvu/246

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Celtic Fairy Tales

he would go back to the house, and he sees the byre thatched with feathers. When the giant came home, he said:

"Hast thou thatched the byre, king's son?"

"I thatched it," says he.

"Somebody thatched it," says the giant.

"You did not thatch it," says the king's son.

"Yes, yes!" says the giant. "Now," says the giant, "there is a fir tree beside that loch down there, and there is a magpie's nest in its top. The eggs thou wilt find in the nest. I must have them for my first meal. Not one must be burst or broken, and there are five in the nest."

Early in the morning the king's son went where the tree was, and that tree was not hard to hit upon. Its match was not in the whole wood. From the foot to the first branch was five hundred feet. The king's son was going all round the tree. She came who was always bringing help to him.

"You are losing the skin of your hands and feet."

"Ach! I am," says he. "I am no sooner up than down."

"This is no time for stopping," says the giant's daughter. "Now you must kill me, strip the flesh from my bones, take all those bones apart, and use them as steps for climbing the tree. When you are climbing the tree, they will stick to the glass as if they had grown out of it; but when you are coming down, and have put your foot on each one, they will drop into your hand when you touch them. Be sure and stand on each bone, leave none untouched; if you do, it will stay behind. Put all my flesh into this clean cloth by the side of the spring at the