THE STORY OF BENSURDATU 107
of the king's called Bensurdatu, who had served him for many years, and when Bensurdatu saw how grieved the king was, lie lifted up his voice and said to him: ' Your majesty, let me go and seek your daughters.'
' No, no, Bensurdatu,' replied the king. ' Three daughters have I lost, and two generals, and shall I lose you also?'
But Bensurdatu said again: 'Let me now go, your majesty; trust me, and I will bring you back your daughters.'
Then the king gave way, and Bensurdatu set forth, and rode on till he came to the inn, where he dismounted and asked for food. It was brought by the two generals, whom he knew at once in spite of their miserable clothes, and, much astonished, asked them how in the world they came there.
They told him all their adventures, and he sent for the innkeeper, and said to him : ' Give them back their garments, and I will pay everything that they owe you.'
And the innkeeper did as he was bid, and when the two generals were dressed in their proper clothes, they declared they would join Bensurdatu, and with him seek for the king's daughters.
The three companions rode on for many miles, and at length they came to a wild place, without sign of a human being. It was getting dark, and fearing to be lost on this desolate spot they pushed on their horses, and at last saw a light in the window of a tiny hut.
' Who comes there?' asked a voice, as they knocked at the door.
' Oh! have pity on us, and give us a night's shelter,' replied Bensurdatu; 'we are three tired travellers who have lost our way.'
Then the door was opened by a very old woman, who stood back, and beckoned them to enter. ' Whence do you come, and whither do you go?' said she.
' Ah, good woman, we have a heavy task before us,'