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 The Battle Of The Birds 
Page 4 of 4

AT THE HEAT of day the giant's daughter felt her father's breath burning her back.
      "Put your finger in the filly's ear, and throw behind whatever you find in it."
      He got a splinter of grey stone, and in a twinkling there were twenty miles, by breadth and height, of great grey rock behind them.
      The giant came full pelt, but past the rock he could not go.
      "The tricks of my own daughter are the hardest things that ever met me," says the giant; "but if I had my lever and my mighty mattock, I would not be long in making my way through this rock also."
      There was no help for it, but to turn the chase for them; and he was the boy to split the stones. He was not long in making a road through the rock.
      "I will leave the tools here, and I will return no more."
      "If you leave 'em, leave 'em," says the hoodie, "we will steal 'em, steal 'em."
      "Do that if you will; there is no time to go back."
      At the time of breaking the watch, the giant's daughter said that she felt her father's breath burning her back.
      "Look in the filly's ear, king's son, or else we are lost."
      He did so, and it was a bladder of water that was in her ear this time. He threw it behind him and there was a fresh-water loch, twenty miles in length and breadth, behind them.
      The giant came on, but with the speed he had on him, he was in the middle of the loch, and he went under, and he rose no more.
      On the next day the young companions were come in sight of his father's house. "Now," says she, "my father is drowned, and he won't trouble us any more; but before we go further," says she, "go you to your father's house, and tell that you have the likes of me; but let neither man nor creature kiss you, for if you do, you will not remember that you have ever seen me."
      Every one he met gave him welcome and luck, and he charged his father and mother not to kiss him; but as mishap was to be, an old greyhound was indoors, and she knew him, and jumped up to his mouth, and after that he did not remember the giant's daughter.
      She was sitting at the well's side as he left her, but the king's son was not coming. In the mouth of night she climbed up into a tree of oak that was beside the well, and she lay in the fork of that tree all night. A shoemaker had a house near the well, and about mid-day on the morrow, the shoemaker asked his wife to go for a drink for him out of the well. When the shoemaker's wife reached the well, and when she saw the shadow of her that was in the tree, thinking it was her own shadow--and she never thought till now that she was so handsome--she gave a cast to the dish that was in her hand, and it was broken on the ground, and she took herself to the house without vessel or water.
      "Where is the water, wife?" said the shoemaker.
      "You shambling, contemptible old carle, without grace, I have stayed too long your water and wood thrall."
      "I think, wife, that you have turned crazy. Go you, daughter, quickly, and fetch a drink for your father."
      His daughter went, and in the same way so it happened to her. She never thought till now that she was so lovable, and she took herself home.
      "Up with the drink," said her father.
      "You home-spun shoe carle, do you think I am fit to be your thrall?"
      The poor shoemaker thought that they had taken a turn in their understandings, and he went himself to the well. He saw the shadow of the maiden in the well, and he looked up to the tree, and he sees the finest woman he ever saw.
      "Your seat is wavering, but your face is fair," said the shoemaker. "Come down, for there is need of you for a short while at my house."
      The shoemaker understood that this was the shadow that had driven his people mad. The shoemaker took her to his house, and he said that he had but a poor bothy, but that she should get a share of all that was in it.
      One day, the shoemaker had shoes ready, for on that very day the king's son was to be married. The shoemaker was going to the castle with the shoes of the young people, and the girl said to the shoemaker, "I would like to get a sight of the king's son before he marries."
      "Come with me," says the shoemaker, "I am well acquainted with the servants at the castle, and you shall get a sight of the king's son and all the company."
      And when the gentles saw the pretty woman that was here they took her to the wedding-room, and they filled for her a glass of wine. When she was going to drink what is in it, a flame went up out of the glass, and a golden pigeon and a silver pigeon sprang out of it. They were flying about when three grains of barley fell on the floor. The silver pigeon sprung, and ate that up.
      Said the golden pigeon to him, "If you remembered when I cleared the byre, you would not eat that without giving me a share."
      Again there fell three other grains of barley, and the silver pigeon sprung, and ate that up as before.
      "If you remembered when I thatched the byre, you would not eat that without giving me my share," says the golden pigeon.
      Three other grains fall, and the silver pigeon sprung, and ate that up.
      "If you remembered when I harried the magpie's nest, you would not eat that without giving me my share," says the golden pigeon; "I lost my little finger bringing it down, and I want it still."
      The king's son minded, and he knew who it was that was before him.
      "Well," said the king's son to the guests at the feast, "when I was a little younger than I am now, I lost the key of a casket that I had. I had a new key made, but after it was brought to me I found the old one. Now, I'll leave it to any one here to tell me what I am to do. Which of the keys should I keep?"
      "My advice to you," said one of the guests, "is to keep the old key, for it fits the lock better and you're more used to it."
      Then the king's son stood up and said: "I thank you for a wise advice and an honest word. This is my bride the daughter of the giant who saved my life at the risk of her own. I'll have her and no other woman."
      So the king's son married Auburn Mary and the wedding lasted long and all were happy. But all I got was butter on a live coal, porridge in a basket, and they sent me for water to the stream, and the paper shoes came to an end.

      THE END.

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