38 IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON
'Why did you choose to play shinny in front of my castle when you knew full well that the remembrance of my daughters would come back to me? The pain which you have made me suffer you shall suffer also.'
'Since we have done you wrong,' answered Ian, the youngest, 'build us a ship, and we will go and seek your daughters. Let them be to windward, or to leeward, or under the four brown boundaries of the sea, we will find them before a year and a day goes by, and will carry them back to Grianaig.'
In seven days the ship was built, and great store of food and wine placed in her. And the three brothers put her head to the sea and sailed away, and in seven days the ship ran herself on to a beach of white sand, and they all went ashore. They had none of them ever seen that land before, and looked about them. Then they saw that, a short way from them, a number of men were working on a rock, with one man standing over them.
'What place is this?' asked the eldest brother. And the man who was standing by made answer:
'This is the place where dwell the three daughters of the knight of Grianaig, who are to be wedded to-morrow to three giants.'
'How can we find them?' asked the young man again. And the overlooker answered:
'To reach the daughters of the knight of Grianaig you must get into this basket, and be drawn by a rope up the face of this rock.'
'Oh, that is easily done,' said the eldest brother, jumping into the basket, which at once began to move — up, and up, and up — till he had gone about half-way, when a fat black raven flew at him and pecked him till he was nearly blind, so that he was forced to go back the way he had come.
After that the second brother got into the creel; but he fared no better, for the raven flew upon him, and he returned as his brother had done.