THE SISTER OF THE SUN 221
me back my sister who was carried off by a giant to his castle, which is a long way off.'
Slowly and sadly the youth left the palace and told his story to his friends, who were waiting outside the gate, how he had actually held the hen three times in his arms and had lost her.
' I knew that we should not get off so easily,' said the fox, shaking his head ; ' but there is no more time to waste. Let us set off at once in search of the sister. Luckily, I know the way.'
They walked on for many days, till at length the fox, who, as usual, was going first, stopped suddenly.
' The giant's castle is not far now,' he said, ' but when we reach it you two must remain outside while I go and fetch the princess. Directly I bring her out you must both catch hold of her tight, and get away as fast as you can; while I return to the castle and talk to the giants— for there are many of them—so that they may not notice the escape of the princess.'
A few minutes later they arrived at the castle, and the fox, who had often been there before, slipped in without difficulty. There were several giants, both young and old, in the hall, and they were all dancing round the princess. As soon as they saw the fox they cried out: ' Come and dance too, old fox ; it is a long time since we have seen you.'
So the fox stood up, and did his steps with the best of them ; but after a while he stopped and said :
' I know a charming new dance that I should like to show you; but it can only be done by two people. If the princess will honour me for a few minutes, you will soon see how it is done.'
' Ah, that is delightful; we want something new,' answered they, and placed the princess between the outstretched arms of the fox. In one instant he had knocked over the great stand of lights that lighted the hall, and in the darkness had borne the princess to the gate. His