THE KNIGHTS OF THE FISH 349
him, and had made herself ill with weeping. At last it occurred to him that once more he had been taken for his brother. ' I had better say nothing' thought he ; ' perhaps I shall be able to help him after all.'
So he suffered himself to be borne in triumph to the palace, where the princess threw herself into his arms.
' And so you did go to the castle ? ' she asked.
' Yes, of course I did,' answered he.
' And what did you see there ? '
' I am forbidden to tell you anything about it, until I have returned there once more,' replied he.
' Must you really go back to that dreadful place ? ' she asked wistfully. ' You are the only man who has ever come back from it.'
' I must,' was all he answered. And the princess, who was a wise woman, only said: ' Well, go to bed now, for I am sure you must be very tired.'
But the knight shook his head. ' I have sworn never to lie in .a bed as long as my work in the castle remains standing.' And the princess again sighed, and was silent.
Early next day the young man started for the castle, feeling sure that some terrible thing must have happened to his brother.
At the blast of his horn the long nose of the old woman appeared at the grating, but the moment she caught sight of his face, she nearly fainted from fright, as she thought it was the ghost of the youth whose bones were lying in the dungeon of the castle.
' Lady of all the ages,' cried the new comer, ' did you not give hospitality to a young knight but a short time ago?'
' A short time ago ! ' wailed the voices.
' And how have you ill-treated him ? ' he went on.
' Ill-treated him ! ' answered the voices. The woman did not stop to hear more; she turned to fly ; but the knight's sword entered her body.
' Where is my brother, cruel hag ? ' asked he sternly.