350 THE OGRE
him to get out of her sight at once, for she would never acknowledge him as a son of hers again. The poor boy was very depressed by her words, and slunk back to his master like a dog with his tail between his legs. When the ogre saw him, he guessed at once what had happened. He gave Antonio a good scolding, and said, 'I don't know what prevents me smashing your head in, you useless ne'er-do-well! You blurt everything out, and your long tongue never ceases wagging for a moment. If you had remained silent in the inn this misfortune would never have overtaken you, so you have only yourself to blame for your present suffering.'
Antonio listened to his master's words in silence, looking for all the world like a whipped dog. When he had been three more years in the ogre's service he had another bad fit of home-sickness, and longed very much to see his mother and sisters again.
So he asked for permission to go home on a visit, and it was at once granted to him. Before he set out on his journey the ogre presented him with a beautifully carved stick and said, ' Take this stick as a remembrance of me; but beware of saying, " Rise up, Stick," and "Lie down, Stick," for if you do, I can only say I would n't be in your shoes for something.'
Antonio took the stick and said, ' Don't be in the least alarmed, I 'm not such a fool as you think, and know better than most people what two and two make.'
' I'm glad to hear it,' replied the ogre, ' but words are women, deeds are men. You have heard what I said, and forewarned is forearmed.'
This time Antonio thanked his master warmly for all his kindness, and started on his homeward journey in great spirits; but he had not gone half a mile when he said ' Rise up, Stick.'
The words were hardly out of his mouth when the stick rose and began to rain down blows on poor Antonio's back with such lightning-like rapidity that he had hardly