BALL-CARRIER AND THE BAD ONE 51
his face to the wall, and fasted for twenty days longer. At length the witch called to him, and said :
' Come and eat something, my grandson.' At the sound of her voice the boy got up and ate the food she gave him. When he had finished every scrap she spoke as before : ' Tell me, my grandson, have not the good spirits visited you all these many days that you have fasted ? '
' Not all, grandmother,' answered he ; ' there are still some who keep away from me and say that I have not fasted long enough.'
' Then you must fast again,' replied the old woman, ■ and go on fasting till you receive the gifts of all the good spirits. Not one must be missing.'
The boy said nothing, but lay down for the third time on the buffalo skins, and fasted for twenty days more. And at the end of that time the witch thought he was dead, his face was so white and his body so still. But when she had fed him out of the bowl he grew stronger, and soon was able to sit up.
' You have fasted a long time,' said she, ' longer than anyone ever fasted before. Surely the good spirits must be satisfied now ? '
' Yes, grandmother,' answered the boy, ' they have all come, and have given me their gifts.'
This pleased the old woman so much that she brought him another basin of food, and while he was eating it she talked to him, and this is what she said : ' Far away, on the other side of the great river, is the home of the Bad One. In his house is much gold, and what is more precious even than the gold, a little bridge, which lengthens out when the Bad One waves his hand, so that there is no river or sea that he cannot cross. Now I want that bridge and some of the gold for myself, and that is the reason that I have stolen so many boys by means of my ball. I have tried to teach them how to gain the gifts of the good spirits, but none of them would fast long enough, and at last I had to send them away to perform simple,