Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/388

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352 Collectanea.

me permission to go and be revenged upon my enemies." His two brothers accompany him. From the foot of the tree they follow the track of the demon's blood drops, and go until they reach the mouth of a frightful cavern. They find that the demon has entered there.

First the eldest brother says, — " Let me down and I will fight with him." When he is half way down, he cries,—" Mercy ! I am burning up ! Draw me up." They draw him out.

The second brother is let down, and he also descends halfway, when he cries, — " Mercy ! I am burning up ! Draw me out." They draw him out.

It is the youngest brother's turn. He says, " Brothers, the more I cry " I am burning " lower me the further." They let him down. The more he calls the further they lower him. He goes on down, down, down, and what does he see but a terrible demon lying with his head in the lap of a beautiful maiden. The maiden is embroidering, and there in front of her a golden mouse and a golden cat are playing about in a golden tub. The maiden notices the Prince, and says, — " Mortal, the serpent upon its belly and the fowl on its wings are not able to come here. How have you come ? "

"Your love drew me," the Prince replies.

"For your safety's sake," the maiden begs, "escape from here, brave one. If the demon should wake, your ear will be the largest piece of you left i "

But the Prince replies, — " Make a noise and waken him. I have come to fight with him."

The maiden says, — " He sleeps for forty days. It is eight days since he closed his eyes. It will be thirty-two days before he wakes. If you are impatient, heat that ploughshare, and strike his feet with it : then he will waken."

The Prince heats the ploughshare, and strikes it against the demon's feet. The demon strikes his feet together, and, squinting his eyes, sits up and cries, — " Oh, the fleas are biting me ! "

The maiden says, — " Rise and see what a black flea it is ! A brave fellow has come, and is going to fight with you."

The demon peers at the Prince, and exclaims, — " Oh, what a sweet morsel ! "