370 LONG, BROAD, AND QUICKEYE
winding paths and deep valleys. He tried in vain to see where he was: the thick trees shut out the sun, and he could not tell which was north and which was south, so that he might know what direction to make for. He felt in despair, and had quite given up all hope of getting out of this horrible place, when he heard a voice calling to him.
'Hey! hey! stop a minute!'
The prince turned round and saw behind him a very tall man, running as fast as his legs would carry him.
' Wait for me,' he panted, ' and take me into your service. If you do, you will never be sorry.'
'Who are you?' asked the prince, 'and what can you do ?'
' Long is my name, and I can lengthen my body at will. Do you see that nest up there on the top of that pine-tree? Well, I can get it for you without taking the trouble of climbing the tree,' and Long stretched himself up and up and up, till he was very soon as tall as the pine itself. He put the nest in his pocket, and before you could wink your eyelid he had made himself small again, and stood before the prince.
'Yes; you know your business,'said he, 'but birds' nests are no use to me. I am too old for them. Now if you were only able to get me out of this wood, you would indeed be good for something.'
'Oh, there's no difficulty about that,' replied Long, and he stretched himself up and up and up till he was three times as tall as the tallest tree in the forest. Then he looked all round and said, ' We must go in this direction in order to get out of the wood,' and shortening himself again, he took the prince's horse by the bridle, and led him along. Very soon they got clear of the forest, and saw before them a wide plain ending in a pile of high rocks, covered here and there with trees, and very much like the fortifications of a town.