Again the next day he pursued his way through the forest, and that evening, thinking to rest again, he lay down as before, but he heard such a howling and wailing that he found it impossible to sleep. He waited till it was darker and people had begun to light up their houses, and then seeing a little glimmer ahead of him, he went towards it.

He found that the light came from a house which looked smaller than it really was, from the contrast of its height with that of an immense giant who stood in front of it. He thought to himself, "If the giant sees me going in, my life will not be worth much." However, after a while he summoned up courage and went forward. When the giant saw him, he called out, "It is lucky for me that you have come, for I have not had anything to eat for a long time. I can have you now for my supper." "I would rather you let that alone," said the man, "for I do not willingly give myself up to be eaten; if you are wanting food I have enough to satisfy your hunger." "If that is so," replied the giant, " I will leave you in peace; I only thought of eating you because I had nothing else."

So they went indoors together and sat down, and the man brought out the bread, meat, and wine, which although he had eaten and drunk of them, were still unconsumed. The giant was pleased with the good cheer, and eat and drank to his heart's content. When he had finished his supper the man asked him if could direct him to the castle of Stromberg. The giant said, "I will look on my map; on it are marked all the towns, villages, and houses." So he fetched his map, and looked for the castle, but could not find it. " Never mind," he said, "I have larger maps upstairs in the cupboard, we will look on those," but they searched in vain, for the castle was not marked even on these. The man now thought he should like to continue his journey, but the giant begged him to remain for a day or two longer until the return of his brother, who was away in search of provisions. When the brother came home, they asked him about the castle of Stromberg, and he told them he would look on his own maps as soon as he had eaten and appeased his hunger. Accordingly, when he had finished his supper, they all went up together to his room and looked through his maps, but the castle was not to be found. Then he fetched other older maps, and they went on looking for the castle until at last they found it, but it was many thousand miles away. " How shall I be able to get there ?" asked the man. " I have two hours to spare," said the giant, " and I will carry you into the neighbourhood of the castle; I must then return to look after the child who is in our care."

The giant, thereupon, carried the man to within about a hundred leagues of the castle, where he left him, saying, "You will be able to walk the remainder of the way yourself." The man journeyed on day and night till he reached the golden castle of Stromberg. He found it situated, however, on a glass mountain, and looking up from the foot he saw the enchanted maiden drive round her castle and then go inside. He was overjoyed to see her, and longed to get to the top of the mountain, but the sides were so slippery that every time he attempted to climb he fell back again. When he saw that it was impossible to reach her, he was greatly grieved, and said to himself, " I will remain here and wait for her," and so he built himself a little hut, and there he sat and watched for a whole year, and every day he saw the King's daughter driving round her castle, but still was unable to get nearer to her.

Looking out from his hut one day he saw three robbers fighting, and he called out to them, " God be with you." They stopped when they heard the call, but looking round and seeing nobody, they went on again with their fighting, which now became more furious. "God be with you," he cried again, and again they paused and looked about, but seeing no one went back to their fighting. A third time he called out, " God be with you," and then thinking he should like to know the cause of dispute between the three men, he went out and asked them why they were fighting so angrily with one another. One of them said that he had found a stick, and that he had but to strike it against any door through which he wished to pass, and it immediately flew open. Another told him that he had found a cloak which rendered its wearer invisible; and the third had caught a horse which would carry its rider over any obstacle, and even up the glass mountain. They had been unable to decide whether they would keep together and have the things in common, or whether they would separate. On hearing this, the man said, "I will give you something in exchange for those three things; not money, for that I have not got, but something that is of far more value. I must first, however, prove whether all you have told me about your three things is true." The robbers, therefore, made him get on the horse, and handed him the stick and the cloak, and when he had put this round him he was no longer visible. Then he fell upon them with the stick and beat them one after another, crying, "There, you idle vagabonds, you have got what you deserve ; are you satisfied now!"

After this he rode up the glass mountain. When he reached the gate of the castle, he found it closed, but he gave it a blow with his stick, and it flew wide open at once and he passed through. He mounted the steps and entered the room where the maiden was sitting, with a golden goblet full of wine in front of her. She could not see him, for he still wore his cloak. He took the ring which she had given him off his finger, and threw it into the goblet, so that it rang as it touched the bottom. "That is my own ring," she exclaimed, "and if that is so the man must also be here who is coming to set me free."

The Raven 23

She sought for him about the castle, but could find him nowhere. Meanwhile he had gone outside again and mounted his horse and thrown off the cloak. When therefore she came to the castle gate she saw him, and cried aloud for joy. Then he dismounted and took her in his arms; and she kissed him, and said, "Now you have indeed set me free, and to-morrow we will celebrate our marriage."