WEST OF THE MOON 29
"Well, that was a very small matter, they thought, and agreed to do it. The Princess with the long nose began to wash as well as she could, but, the more she washed and rubbed, the larger the spots grew. ' Ah ! you can't wash at all,' said the old troll-hag, who was her mother. ' Give it to me.' But she too had not had the shirt very long in her hands before it looked worse still, and, the more she washed it and rubbed it, the larger and blacker grew the spots.
So the other trolls had to come and wash, but, the more they did, the blacker and uglier grew the shirt, until at length it was as black as if it had been up the chimney. « Oh,' cried the Prince, ' not one of you is good for anything at all! There is a beggar-girl sitting outside the window, and I'll be bound that she can wash better than any of you ! Come in, you girl there !' he cried. So she came in. ' Can you wash this shirt clean ? ' he cried. ' Oh! I don't know,' she said ; ' but I will try.' And no sooner had she taken the shirt and dipped it in the water than it was white as driven snow, and even whiter than that. ' I will marry you,' said the Prince.
Then the old troll-hag flew into such a rage that she burst, and the Princess with the long nose and all the little trolls must have burst too, for they have never been heard of since. The Prince and his bride set free all the Christian folk who were imprisoned there, and took away with them all the gold and silver that they could carry, and moved far away from the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon.1
* Asbjornsen and iloe.