WHAT CAME OF PICKING FLOWERS 97
reappearing directly after as a handsome man. Turning to his wife, he cried, 'I am sure someone is in the room !' She got frightened, and declared that she was quite alone, but her husband persisted, and in the end she had to confess the truth.
' But if he is really your brother, why did you hide him ? ' asked he. ' I believe you are telling me a lie, and if he comes back I shall kill him !'
At this the youth took off his cap, and came forward. Then the husband saw that he was indeed so like his wife that he doubted her word no longer, and embraced his brother-in-law with delight. Drawing a feather from his bird's skin, he said, ' If you are in danger and cry, " Come and help me, King of the Birds," everything will go well with you.'
The young man thanked him and went away, and after he had left the castle he told the boots that they must take him to the place where his second sister was living. As before, he found himself at the gates of a huge castle, and within was his second sister, very happy with her husband, who loved her dearly, but longing for the moment when he should be set free from the spell that kept him half his life a fish. When he arrived and had been introduced by his wife to her brother, he welcomed him warmly, and gave him a fish-scale, saying, ' If you are in danger, call to me, " Come and help me, King of the Fishes," and everything will go well with you.'
The young man thanked him and took his leave, and when he was outside the gates he told the boots to take him to the place where his youngest sister lived. The boots carried him to a dark cavern, with steps of iron leading up to it. Inside she sat, weeping and sobbing, and as she had done nothing else the whole time she had been there, the poor girl had grown very thin. When she saw a man standing before her, she sprang to her feet and exclaimed, ' Oh, whoever you are, save me and take me from this horrible place !' Then he told her who he was, and how