ASMUND AND SIGNY
Long, long ago, in the days when fairies, witches, giants, and ogres still visited the earth, there lived a king who reigned over a great and beautiful country. He was married to a wife whom he dearly loved, and had two most promising children—a son called Asmund, and a daughter who was named Signy.
The king and queen were very anxious to bring their children up well, and the young prince and princess were taught everything likely to make them clever and accomplished. They lived at home in their father's palace, and he spared no pains to make their lives happy.
Prince Asmund dearly loved all outdoor sports and an open-air life, and from his earliest childhood he had longed to live entirely in the forest close by. After many arguments and entreaties he succeeded in persuading the king to give him two great oak trees for his very own.
' Now,' said he to his sister, ' I will have the trees hollowed out, and then I will make rooms in them and furnish them so that I shall be able to live out in the forest.'
' Oh, Asmund ! ' exclaimed Signy, ' what a delightful idea ! Do let me come too, and live in one of your trees. I will bring all my pretty things and ornaments, and the trees are so near home we shall be quite safe in them.'
Asmund, who was extremely fond of his sister, readily consented, and they had a very happy time together, carrying over all their pet treasures, and Signy's jewels