276 THE BATTLE OF THE BIRDS
went, and the same thing befell her as had befallen her mother.
' Where is the water ? ' asked the shoemaker, when she came back, and as she held nothing save the handle of the jug he went to the well himself. He too saw the reflection Of the woman in the tree, but looked up to discover whence it came, and there above him sat the most beautiful woman in the world.
' Come down,' he said, ' for a while thou canst stay in my house,' and glad enough the girl was to come.
Now the king of the country was about to marry, and the young men about the court thronged the shoemaker's shop to buy fine shoes to wear at the wedding.
' Thou hast a pretty daughter,' said they when they beheld the girl sitting at work.
' Pretty she is,' answered the shoemaker, ' but no daughter of mine.'
' I would give a hundred pounds to marry her,' said one.
' And I,' ' And I,' cried the others.
' That is no business of mine,' answered the shoemaker, and the young men bade him ask her if she would choose one of them for a husband, and to tell them on the morrow. Then the shoemaker asked her, and the girl said that she would marry the one who would bring his purse with him. So the shoemaker hurried to the youth who had first spoken, and he came back, and after giving the shoemaker a hundred pounds for his news, he sought the girl, who was waiting for him.
' Is it thou ? ' inquired she. ' I am thirsty, give me a drink from the well that is out yonder.' And he poured out the water, but he could not move trom the place where he was ; and there he stayed till many hours had passed by.
' Take away that foolish boy,' cried the girl to the shoemaker at last, ' I am tired of him,' and then