THE ONE-HANDED GIRL 205
of my husband, and if he still mourns for me!' Now the heart of the snake was sad at her words, but he only said:
' Yes, thus it must be ; go and bid farewell to my father and mother, but if they offer you a present, see that you take nothing but my father's ring and my mother's casket.'
So she went to the parent snakes, who wept bitterly at the thought of losing her, and offered her gold and jewels as much as she could carry in remembrance of them. But the girl shook her head and pushed the shining heap away from her.
' I shall never forget you, never,' she said in a broken voice,' but the only tokens I will accept from you are that little ring and this old casket.'
The two snakes looked at each other in dismay. The ring and the casket were the only things they did not want her to have. Then after a short pause they spoke.
' Why do you want the ring and casket so much ? Who has told you of them ? '
' Oh, nobody; it is just my fancy,' answered she. But the old snakes shook their heads and replied :
' Not so ; it is our son who told you, and, as he said, so it must be. If you need food, or clothes, or a house, tell the ring and it will find them for you. And if you are unhappy or in danger, tell the casket and it will set tilings right.' Then they both gave her their blessing, and she picked up her baby and went her way.
She walked for a long time, till at length she came near the town where her husband and his father dwelt. Here she stopped under a grove of palm trees, and told the ring that she wanted a house.
' It is ready, mistress,' whispered a queer little voice which made her jump, and, looking behind her, she saw a lovely palace made of the finest woods, and a row of slaves with tall fans bowing before the door. Glad indeed was she to enter, for she was very tired, and, after eating a good supper of fruit and milk which she found