THE GOLDEN LADS. 315
tivities and rejoicings the bride's father came home and was not a little surprised at finding his daughter celebrating her wedding. He inquired: "And who is the bridegroom?"
Then some one pointed out to him the golden lad, who was still wrapped up in the bearskin, and the father exclaimed angrily, "Never shall a mere bear-keeper have my daughter," and tried to rush at him and kill him. But the bride did all she could to pacify him, and begged hard, saying, "After all, he is my husband, and I love him with all my heart," so that at length he gave in.
However,, he could not dismiss the thought from his mind, and next morning he rose very early, for he felt he must go and look at his daughter's husband and see whether he really was nothing better than a mere ragged beggar. So he went to his son-in-law's room, and who should he see lying in the bed but a splendid golden man and the rough bearskin thrown on the ground close by. Then he slipped quietly away and thought to himself, "How lucky that I managed to control my rage! I should certainly have committed a great crime."
Meantime the golden lad dreamed that he was out hunting and was giving chase to a noble stag, and when he woke he said to his bride: "I must go off and hunt." She felt very anxious and begged he would stay at home, adding, "Some mishap might so easily befall you," but he answered: "I must and will go."
So he went off into the forest, and before long a fine stag, such as he had seen in his dream, stopped just in front of him. He look aim and was about to fire, when the stag bounded away. Then he started off in pursuit, making his way through bushes and briers, and never stopped all day; but in the evening the stag entirely disappeared, and when the golden lad came to look about him he found himself just opposite a hut in which lived a witch. He knocked at the door, which was opened by a little old woman who asked: "What do you want at this late hour in the midst of this great forest?"
He said: "Haven't you seen a stag about here?"
"Yes," said she, "I know the stag well," and as she spoke a little dog ran out of the house and btgan barking and snapping at the stranger.
"Be quiet, you little toad," he cried, "or I'll shoot you dead."