SET OUT TO LEARN WHAT FEAR WAS 93
the fun begins.' He played with them and lost some of his money, but when twelve struck everything vanished before his eyes. He lay down and slept peacefully. The next morning the King came, anxious for news. ' How have you got on this time ? ' he asked. ' I played ninepins,' he answered, ' and lost a few pence.' ' Didn't you shudder then ? ' 'No such luck,' said he; ' I made myself merry. Oh ! if I onlj- knew what it was to shudder ! '
On the third night he sat down again on his bench, and said, in the most desponding way: ' If I could only shudder!' When it got late, six big men came in carrying a coffin. Then he cried: ' Ha ! ha ! that's most likely my little cousin who only died a few days ago;' and beckoning with his finger he called out: ' Come, my small cousin, come.' They placed the coffin on the ground, and he approached it and took off the cover. In it lay a dead man. He felt his face, and it was cold as ice. ' Wait,' he said, ' I'll heat you up a bit,' went to the fire, wanned his hand, and laid it on the man's face, but the dead remained cold. Then he lifted him out, sat down at the fire, laid him on his knee, and rubbed his arms that the blood should circulate again. When that too had no effect it occurred to him that if two people lay together in bed they warmed each other; so he put him into the bed, covered him up, and lay down beside him; after a time the corpse became warm and began to move. Then the youth said : ' Now, my little cousin, what would have happened if I hadn't warmed you ? ' But the dead man rose up and cried out: ' Now I will strangle you.' ' What!' said he, ' is that all the thanks I get ? You shall be put straight back into your coffin,' lifted him up, threw him in, and closed the lid. Then the six men came and carried him out again. ' I simply can't shudder,' he said, ' and it's clear I shan't learn it in a lifetime here.'
Then a man entered, of more than ordinary size and of a very fearful appearance ; but he was old and had a white beard. ' Oh ! you miserable creature, now you will soon know what it is to shudder,' he cried, ' for you must die.' ' Not so quickly,' answered the youth. ' If I am to die, you must catch me first.' ' I shall soon lay hold of you,' spoke the monster. ' Gently, gently; don't boast too much, I'm as strong as you, and stronger too.' ' We'll soon see,' said the old man; ' if you are stronger than I, then I'll let you off; come, let's have a try.' Then he led him through some dark passages to a forge, and grasping an axe he drove one of the anvils with a blow into the earth. ' I can do better than that,' cried the