280 THE BOY WHO FOUND FEAR AT LAST
The robbers stopped drinking and eyed him curiously,, and at last the captain spoke.
' No caravan of armed men would dare to come here, even the very birds shun our camp, and who are you to venture in so boldly ?'
' Oh, I have left my mother's house in search of fear. Perhaps you can show it to me ?'
' Fear is wherever we are,' answered the captain.
' But where ?' asked the boy, looking round. ' I see nothing.'
' Take this pot and some flour and butter and sugar over to the churchyard which lies down there, and bake us a cake for supper,' replied the robber. And the boy, who was by this time quite warm, jumped up cheerfully, and slinging the pot over his arm, ran down the hill.
When he got to the churchyard he collected some sticks and made a fire; then he filled the pot with water from a little stream close by, and mixing the flour and butter and sugar together, he set the cake on to cook. It was not long before it grew crisp and brown, and then the boy lifted it from the pot and placed it on a stone, while he put out the fire. At that moment a hand was stretched from a grave, and a voice said:
' Is that cake for me ?'
' Do you think I am going to give to the dead the food of the living?' replied the boy, with a laugh. And giving the hand a tap with his spoon, and picking up the cake, he went up the mountain side, whistling merrily.
' Well, have you found fear ?' asked the robbers when he held out the cake to the captain.
' No; was it there ?' answered the boy. ' I saw nothing but a hand which came from a grave, and belonged to someone who wanted my cake, but I just rapped the fingers with my spoon, and said it was not for him, and then the hand vanished. Oh, how nice the fire is !' And he flung himself on his knees before it, and