224 THE SEA KING'S GIFT
woman began to milk her, every pitcher and pan, even to the baler, was soon filled with the most delicious milk.
The old man troubled his head in vain as to how she came there, and sallied forth to seek for his lost net. He had not proceeded far when he found it cast up on the shore, and so full of fish that not a mesh was visible.
' It is all very fine to possess a cow,' said Matte, as he cleaned the fish ; ' but what are we going to feed her on?'
' We shall find some means,' said his wife ; and the cow found the means herself. She went out and cropped the seaweed which grew in great abundance near the shore, and always kept in good condition. Every one, Prince alone excepted, thought she was a clever beast; but Prince barked at her, for he had now got a rival.
From that day the red rock overflowed with milk and junkets, and every net was filled with fish. Matte and Maie grew fat on this fine living, and daily became richer. She churned quantities of butter, and he hired two men to help him in his fishing. The sea lay before him like a big fish tank, out of which he hauled as many as he required ; and the cow continued to fend for herself. In autumn, when Matte and Maie went ashore, the cow went to sea, and in spring, when they returned to the rock, there she stood awaiting them.
' We shall require a better house,' said Maie the following summer ; ' the old one is too Small for ourselves and the men.'
' Yes,' said Matte. So he built a large cottage, with a real lock to the door, and a store-house for fish as well; and he and his men caught such quantities of fish that they sent tons of salmon, herring, and cod to Russia and Sweden.
' I am quite overworked with so many folk,' said Maie ; ' a girl to help me would not come amiss.'