334 THE PRINCESS ON THE GLASS HILL
was so big, and fat, and fine a horse that Cinderlad had never seen one like it before, and a saddle and bridle lay upon it, and a complete suit of armour for a knight, and everything was of copper, and so bright that it shone again. ' Ha, ha ! it is thou who eatest up our hay then,' thought the boy; ' but I will stop that.' So he made haste, and took out his steel for striking fire, and threw it over the horse, and then it had no power to stir from the spot, and became so tame that the boy could do what he liked with it. So he mounted it and rode away to a place which no one knew of but himself, and there he tied it up. When he went home again his brothers laughed and asked how he had got on.
' You didn't lie long in the barn, if even you have been so far as the field!' said they.
' I lay in the barn till the sun rose, but I saw nothing and heard nothing, not I,' said the boy. ' God knows what there was to make you two so frightened.'
' Well, we shall soon see whether you have watched the meadow or not,' answered the brothers, but when they got there the grass was all standing just as long and as thick as it had been the night before.
The next St. John's eve it was the same thing once again: neither of the two brothers dared to go to the outlying field to watch the crop, but Cinderlad went, and everything happened exactly the same as on the previous St. John's eve : first there was a rumbling and an earthquake, and then there was another, and then a third; but all three earthquakes were much, very much more violent than they had been the year before. Then everything became still as death again, and the boy heard something chewing outside the barn door, so he stole as softly as he could to the door, which was slightly ajar, and again there was a horse standing close by the wall of the house, eating and chewing, and it was far larger and fatter than the first horse, and it had a saddle on its back, and a bridle was on it too, and a full suit of armour for a knight, all of bright silver, and as beautiful as anyone could wish to see. ' Ho, ho !' thought the boy, ' is it thou who eatest up our hay in the night ? but I will put a stop to that.' So he took out his steel for striking fire, and threw it over the horse's mane, and the beast stood there as quiet as a lamb. Then the boy rode this horse, too, away to the place where he kept the other, and then went home again.
' I suppose you will tell us that you have watched well again this time,' said the brothers.