324 THE TWIN BROTHERS
him about his home and his family, and about this and that; and confessed at length that his zither-playing gave her great pleasure, and that she would take him for her husband. The stranger replied that it was with that intent he had come.
The princess then said: 'You must now go to my father, and tell him you desire to have, me to wife, and when he has put the three problems before you, then come back and tell me.'
The stranger then went straight to the king, and told him that he wished to wed his daughter.
And the king answered: ' I shall be well pleased, provided you can do what I impose upon you; if not you will lose your head. Now, listen; out there on the ground, there lies a thick log, which measures more than two fathoms; if you can cleave it in two with one stroke of your sword, I will give you my daughter to wife. If you fail, then it will cost you your head.'
Then the stranger withdrew, and returned to the house of the old woman sore distressed, for he could believe nothing but that next day he must atone to the king with his head. And so full was he of the idea of how to set about cleaving the log thnt he forgot even his zither.
In the evening came the princess to the window to listen to his playing, and behold all was still. Then she called to him : ' Why are you so cast down this evening, that you do not play on your zither?'
And he told her his trouble.
But she laughed at it, and called to him: 'And you grieve over that? Bring quickly your zither, and play something for my amusement, and early to-morrow come to me.'
Then the stranger took his zither and played the whole evening for the amusement of the princess.
Next morning she took a hair from her locks and gave it to him, saying: 'Take this hair, and wind it round