THE BATTLE OF THE BIRDS
There was to be a great battle between all the creatures of the earth and the birds of the air. News of it went abroad, and the son of the king of Tethertown said that when the battle was fought he would be there to see it, and would bring back word who was to be king. But in spite of that, he was almost too late, and every fight had been fought save the last, which was between a snake and a great black raven. Both struck hard, but in the end the snake proved the stronger, and would have twisted himself round the neck of the raven till he died had not the king's son drawn his sword, and cut off the head of the snake at a single blow. And when the raven beheld that his enemy was dead, he was grateful, and said :
' For thy kindness to me this day, I will show thee a sight. So come up now on the root of my two wings.' The king's son did as he was bid, and before the raven stopped flying, they had passed over seven bens and seven glens and seven mountain moors.
' Do you see that house yonder ? ' said the raven at last. ' Go straight to it, for a sister of mine dwells there, and she will make you right welcome. And if she asks, " Wert thou at the battle of the birds ? " answer that thou wert, and if she asks, " Didst thou see my likeness ? " answer that thou sawest it, but be sure thou meetest me in the morning at this place.'
The king's son followed what the raven told him and that night he had meat of each meat, and drink of each drink, warm water for his feet, and a soft bed to lie in.