288 THE DAUGHTER OF BUK ETTEMSUCH
the garden, and found the ox busy with the water-wheel.
' Has the girl appeared yet? ' he asked.
' Not yet; but she will not be long. Hide yourself in the branches of that tree, and you will soon see her.'
The prince did as he was told, and scarcely was he seated when the maiden threw open the'lattice.
' Good morning, O daughter of Buk Ettemsuch! ' said the ox. 'Your father is feeding you up till you are nice and fat, and then he will put you on a spit and cook you.'
' My father is feeding me up till I am nice and fat, but he does not mean to eat me. If I had one of your eyes I would use it for a mirror, and look at myself before and behind; and your girths should be loosened, and you should be blind—seven days and seven nights. And hardly had she spoken when the ox fell on the ground, and the maiden shut the lattice and went away. But the prince knew that what the ox had said was true, and that she had not her equal in the whole world. And he came down from the tree, his heart burning with love.
' Why has the ogre not eaten her? ' thought he. ' This night I will invite him to supper in my palace and question him about the maiden, and find out if she is his wife.'
So the prince ordered a great ox to be slain and roasted whole, and two huge tanks to be made, one filled with water and the other with wine. And towards evening he called his attendants and went to the ogre's house to wait in the courtyard till he came back from hunting. The ogre was surprised to see so many people assembled in front of his house; but he bowed politely and said, ' Good morning, dear neighbours! To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit? I have not offended you, I hope ?'
' Oh, certainly not!' answered the prince.
'Then,' continued the ogre, 'what has brought you to my house to-day for the first time?'