602 THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
what he had seen and done ; and the little Storks listened to the story, for they were big enough to do so now.
' So you see,' he concluded, ' the Princess is not dead, for she must have sent the little one up here ; and now that is provided for too.'
1 Ah, I said it would be so from the very beginning ! ' said the Stork-mamma ; ' but now think a little of your own family. Our travelling time is drawing on; sometimes I feel quite restless in my wings already. The cuckoo and the nightingale have started, and I heard the quails saying that they were going too, as soon as the wind was favourable. Our young ones will behave well at the exercising, or I am much deceived in them.'
The Viking's wife was extremely glad when she woke next morning and found the charming infant lying in her arms. She kissed and caressed it, but it cried violently, and struggled with its arms and legs, and did not seem rejoiced at all. At length it cried itself to sleep, and as it lay there it looked exceedingly beautiful. The Viking's wife was in high glee : she felt light in body and soul; her heart leapt within her ; and it seemed to her as if her husband and his warriors, who were absent, must return quite as suddenly and unexpectedly as the little one had come.
Therefore she and the whole household had enough to do in preparing everything for the reception of her lord. The long coloured curtains of tapestry, which she and her maids had worked, and on which they had woven pictures of their idols, Odin, Thor, and Freia, were hung up ; the slaves polished the old shields that served as ornaments ; and cushions were placed on the benches, and dry wood laid on the fireplace in the midst of the hall, so that the fire could be lighted at a moment's notice. The Viking's wife herself assisted in the work, so that towards evening she was very tired, and slept well.
When she awoke towards morning, she was violently alarmed, for the infant had vanished ! She sprang from her couch, lighted a pine torch, and searched all round about; and, behold, in the part of the bed where she had stretched her feet, lay, not the child, but a great ugly frog ! She was horror-struck at the sight, and seized a heavy stick to kill the frog ; but the creature looked at her with