166 UDEA AND HER SEVEN BROTHERS
so that they could hardly see. And when the camel stood before them they said, ' Perhaps it has brought back our sister! ' and rose to give it a beating. But the camel knelt down and the girl dismounted, and they flung themselves on her neck and wept more than ever for gladness.
' Tell me,' said the eldest, as soon as he could speak, ' how it all came about, and what killed you.'
' I was waiting in the upper chamber,' said she, ' and a nail of the man-eater's stuck under my nail, and I fell dead upon the ground. That is all I know.'
' But who pulled out the nail? ' asked he.
' A man took hold of my hand and tried to pull off my ring, and the nail jumped out and I was alive again. And when the camel heard me say " Let him live who gave me life, slay him who slew me! ' it turned and brought me back to the castle. That is my story.'
She was silent and the eldest brother spoke. ' Will you listen to what I have to say, my brothers? '
And they replied, ' How should we not hear you? Are you not our father as well as our brother?'
' Then this is my advice. Let us take our sister back to our father and mother, that we may see them once more before they die.'
And the young men agreed, and they mounted their horses and placed their sister in a litter on the camel. So they set out.
At the end of five days' journey they reached the old home where their father and mother dwelt alone. And the heart of their father rejoiced, and he said to them, ' Dear sons, why did you go away and leave your mother and me to weep for you night and day? '
' Dear father,' answered the son, ' let us rest a little now, and then I will tell you everything from the beginning.'
' All right,' replied the father, and waited patiently for three days.