THE WHITE WOLF 177
the wedding of one sister, and then with her husband to the wedding of the other sister, and how her mother had ordered the servant to throw the white fur skin into the kitchen fire. And then she told of her wanderings through the forest; and of how she had sought the white wolf weeping; and how the wind and star and moon and sun had befriended her, and had helped her to reach his palace. And when the white wolf heard all the story, he knew that it was his first wife, who had sought him, and had found him, after such great dangers and difficulties.
But he said nothing, for he waited till the next day, when many guests — kings and princes from far countries — were coming to his wedding. Then, when all the guests were assembled in the banqueting hall, he spoke to them and said: ' Hearken to me, ye kings and princes, for I have something to tell you. I had lost the key of my treasure casket, so I ordered a new one to be made; but I have since found the old one. Now, which of these keys is the better?'
Then all the kings and royal guests answered: ' Certainly the old key is better than the new one.'
' Then,' said the wolf, ' if that is so, my former bride is better than my new one.'
And he sent for the new bride, and he gave her in marriage to one of the princes who was present, and then he turned to his guests, and said: 'And here is my former bride' — and the beautiful princess was led into the room and seated beside him on his throne. ' I thought she had forgotten me, and that she would never return. But she has sought me everywhere, and now we are together once more we shall never part again.'