HE YOUNG QUEEN indeed thought that he was her husband, and asked him why he had stayed away so long. He answered, "I had lost myself in a forest, and could not find my way out again any sooner." At night he was taken to the royal bed, but he laid a two-edged sword between him and the young Queen; she did not know what that could mean, but did not venture to ask.
He remained in the palace a couple of days, and in the meantime inquired into everything which related to the enchanted forest, and at last he said, "I must hunt there once more." The King and the young Queen wanted to persuade him not to do it, but he stood out against them, and went forth with a larger following. When he had got into the forest, it fared with him as with his brother; he saw a white hart and said to his people, "Stay here, and wait until I return, I want to chase the lovely wild beast," and then he rode into the forest and his animals ran after him. But he could not overtake the hart, and got so deep into the forest that he was forced to pass the night there.
And when he had lighted a fire, he heard some one wailing above him, "Oh, oh, oh, how cold I am!" Then he looked up, and the self-same witch was sitting in the tree. Said he, "If thou art cold, come down, little old mother, and warm thyself." She answered, "No, thy animals will bite me." But he said, "They will not hurt thee." Then she cried, "I will throw down a wand to thee, and if thou smitest them with it they will do me no harm." When the huntsman heard that, he had no confidence in the old woman, and said, "I will not strike my animals. Come down, or I will fetch thee." Then she cried, "What dost thou want? Thou shalt not touch me." But he replied, "If thou dost not come, I will shoot thee." Said she, "Shoot away, I do not fear thy bullets!" Then he aimed, and fired at her, but the witch was proof against all leaden bullets, and laughed, and yelled and cried, "Thou shalt not hit me." The huntsman knew what to do, tore three silver buttons off his coat, and loaded his gun with them, for against them her arts were useless, and when he fired she fell down at once with a scream.
Then he set his foot on her and said, Old witch, if thou dost not instantly confess where my brother is, I will seize thee with both my hands and throw thee into the fire. She was in a great fright, begged for mercy and said, He and his animals lie in a vault, turned to stone. Then he compelled her to go thither with him, threatened her, and said, Old sea-cat, now shalt thou make my brother and all the human beings lying here, alive again, or thou shalt go into the fire! She took a wand and touched the stones, and then his brother with his animals came to life again, and many others, merchants, artizans, and shepherds, arose, thanked him for their deliverance, and went to their homes. But when the twin brothers saw each other again, they kissed each other and rejoiced with all their hearts. Then they seized the witch, bound her and laid her on the fire, and when she was burnt the forest opened of its own accord, and was light and clear, and the King's palace could be seen at about the distance of a three hours walk.
Thereupon the two brothers went home together, and on the way told each other their histories. And when the youngest said that he was ruler of the whole country in the King's stead, the other observed, "That I remarked very well, for when I came to the town, and was taken for thee, all royal honours were paid me; the young Queen looked on me as her husband, and I had to eat at her side, and sleep in thy bed." When the other heard that, he became so jealous and angry that he drew his sword, and struck off his brother's head. But when he saw him lying there dead, and saw his red blood flowing, he repented most violently: "My brother delivered me," cried he, "and I have killed him for it," and he bewailed him aloud. Then his hare came and offered to go and bring some of the root of life, and bounded away and brought it while yet there was time, and the dead man was brought to life again, and knew nothing about the wound.
After this they journeyed onwards, and the youngest said, "Thou lookest like me, hast royal apparel on as I have, and the animals follow thee as they do me; we will go in by opposite gates, and arrive at the same time from the two sides in the aged King's presence." So they separated, and at the same time came the watchmen from the one door and from the other, and announced that the young King and the animals had returned from the chase. The King said, "It is not possible, the gates lie quite a mile apart." In the meantime, however, the two brothers entered the courtyard of the palace from opposite sides, and both mounted the steps. Then the King said to the daughter, "Say which is thy husband. Each of them looks exactly like the other, I cannot tell." Then she was in great distress, and could not tell; but at last she remembered the necklace which she had given to the animals, and she sought for and found her little golden clasp on the lion, and she cried in her delight, "He who is followed by this lion is my true husband". Then the young King laughed and said, "Yes, he is the right one," and they sat down together to table, and ate and drank, and were merry. At night when the young King went to bed, his wife said, "Why hast thou for these last nights always laid a two-edged sword in our bed? I thought thou hadst a wish to kill me." Then he knew how true his brother had been.