ES, SHE DARED not do anything else, and scraped together as much money as he thought he could carry in his bag. He then set out for home with the ground-rent, but as soon as he was gone the devil came home. When he heard that the youngster had gone off with his bag full of money, he first of all gave his mother a hiding, and then he started after him, thinking he would soon overtake him.
He soon came up to him, for he had nothing to carry, and now and then he used his wings; but the youngster had, of course, to keep to the ground with his heavy bag. Just as the devil was at his heels, he began to jump and run as fast as he could. He kept his club behind him to keep the devil off, and thus they went along, the youngster holding the handle and the devil trying to catch hold of the other end of it, till they came to a deep valley. There the youngster made a jump across from the top of one hill to the other, and the devil was in such a hurry to follow him that he ran his head against the club and fell down into the valley and broke his leg, and there he lay.
"There is the ground-rent," said the youngster when he came to the palace, and threw the bag with the money to the king with such a crash that you could hear it all over the hall.
The king thanked him, and appeared to be well pleased, and promised him good pay and leave of absence if he wished it, but the youngster wanted only more work.
"What shall I do now?" he said.
As soon as the king had had time to consider, he told him that he must go to the hill-troll, who had taken his grandfather's sword. The troll had a castle by the sea, where no one dared to go.
The youngster put some cartloads of food into his bag and set out again. He travelled both long and far, over woods and hills and wild moors, till he came to the big mountains where the troll, who had taken the sword of the king's grandfather, was living.
But the troll seldom came out in the open air, and the mountain was well closed, so the youngster was not man enough to get inside.
So he joined a gang of quarrymen who were living at a farm on top of the hill, and who were quarrying stones in the hills about there. They had never had such help before, for he broke and hammered away at the rocks till the mountain cracked, and big stones of the size of a house rolled down the hill. But when he rested to get his dinner, for which he was going to have one of the cartloads in his bag, he found it was all eaten up.
"I have generally a good appetite myself," said the youngster; "but the one who has been here can do a trifle more than I, for he has eaten all the bones as well."
Thus the first day passed; and he fared no better the second. On the third day he set out to break stones again, taking with him the third load of food, but he lay down behind the bag and pretended to be asleep. All of a sudden, a troll with seven heads came out of the mountain and began to eat his food.
"It's all ready for me here, and I will eat," said the troll.
"We will see about that," said the youngster, and hit the troll with his club, so the heads rolled down the hill.
So he went into the mountain which the troll had come out of, and in there stood a horse eating out of a barrel of glowing cinders, and behind it stood a barrel of oats.
"Why don't you eat out of the barrel of oats?" asked the youngster.
"Because I cannot turn round," said the horse.
"But I will soon turn you round," said the youngster.
"Rather cut my head off," said the horse.
So he cut its head off, and the horse turned into a fine handsome fellow. He said he had been bewitched, and taken into the mountain and turned into a horse by the troll. He then helped the youngster to find the sword, which the troll had hidden at the bottom of the bed, and in the bed lay the old mother of the troll, asleep and snoring hard.
So they set out for home by water, but when they had got some distance out to sea the old mother came after them. As she could not overtake them, she lay down and began to drink the sea, and she drank till the water fell; but she could not drink the sea dry, and so she burst.
When they came to land, the youngster sent word that the king must come and fetch the sword. He sent four horses, but no, they could not move it; he sent eight, and he sent twelve; but the sword remained where it was. They were not able to stir it from the spot. But the youngster took it and carried it up to the palace alone.
The king could not believe his eyes when he saw the youngster back again. He appeared, however, to be pleased to see him, and promised him land and riches. When the youngster wanted more work, the king said he might set out for an enchanted castle he had, where no one dared to live, and he would have to stop there till he had built a bridge over the sound, so that people could get across to the castle.
If he was able to do this he would reward him handsomely, yes, he would even give him his daughter in marriage, said he.
"Well, I think I can do it," said the youngster.
No one had ever got away alive; those who had got as far as the castle, lay there killed and torn to pieces as small as barley, and the king thought he should never see him any more if he would go thither.