Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/338

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328 Collectanea.

" Peter, go and fetch all those ! " said the Emperor.

Peter goes off again, with his Horse, to fetch the Three Waters. When they arrive near a mountain, the Horse says to Peter :

"Listen, up there on that mountain are the Three Waters. Go there alone, I daren't go, for I am afraid that the Old Woman that lives there will kill me. For you will find an Old Woman there, who will swear at you as soon as she sees you, only you must tell her politely what you have come for, and bet her that you can do whatever she asks you."

So Peter went up the mountain, and as soon as he got to the top, he saw the horrid, thin Old Woman, who said, harshly :

" What are you here for ? "

Peter said :

" Well, look here, I've come to fetch the Water of Life, the Water of Beauty, and the Water of Death."

" All right," said the Old Woman, " I'll give you what you ask for, if you can do the thing that I shall ask of you in one hour."

" I bet you I can ! " said Peter.

Then the Old Woman brought three bags, in which corn, barley and oats were mixed.

"Here," said she, "do you see these three bags? Well, you have to pick out the corn and put it aside, pick out the barley and put it aside, and pick out the oats and put them aside. And all this must be ready in one hour's time."

And she went away to do her business.

Peter begins to pick the corn out, but — aiei ! — do you expect him to do it all so quickly? Then the barley, then the oats! It's no use ! When the hour was nearly over, he had hardly picked out a handful of each. So the Horse comes slyly up to him, and says, in a whisper :

" Do think of all those birds you gave corn to ! "

Peter thought of them, and there they were in a flash, and began to pick out the corn, the barley, and the oats. So when the Old Woman came back, the work was done, and she gave Peter some of the Three Waters, and he went home and gave them to the Emperor.

Now the Emperor asked the Pride-of-the-World again to marry him, but she would not until the Emperor had drunk some of the