156 UDEA AND HER SEVEN BROTHERS
much a negro as he did. Next he bade his wife get down from the camel, and told Udea to mount, which she was thankful to do. So they arrived at her brothers' castle.
Leaving the camel kneeling at the entrance for Udea to dismount, the negro knocked loudly at the door, which was opened by the youngest brother, all the others being away hunting. He did not of course recognise Udea, but he knew the negro and his wife, and welcomed them gladly, adding, ' But who does the other negress belong to? '
' Oh, that is your sister! ' said they.
' My sister! but she is coal black ! '
' That may be, but she is your sister for all that.'
The young man asked no more questions, but took them into the castle, and he himself waited outside till his brothers came home.
As soon as they wrere alone, the negro whispered to Udea, ' If you dare to tell your brothers that I made you walk, or that I smeared you with pitch, I will kill you.'
' Oh, I will be sure to say nothing,' replied the girl, trembling, and at that moment the six elder brothers appeared in sight.
' I have some good news for you,' said the youngest, hastening to meet them ; ' our sister is here!'
' Nonsense,' they answered. ' We have no sister; you know the child that was born was a boy.'
' But that was not true,' replied he, ' and here she is with the negro and his wife. Only — she too is black,' he added softly, but his brothers did not hear him, and pushed past joyfully.
'How are you, good old Barka?' they said to the negro; ' and how comes it that we never knew that we had a sister till now?' and they greeted Udea warmly, while she shed tears of relief and gladness.
The next morning they all agreed that they would not go out hunting. And the eldest brother took Udea on his knee, and she combed his hair and talked to him of their