54 IAN, THE SOLDIER'S SON
you shall have a drink.' And she gave him some milk, which was all she had till her husband came home.
'Where is your husband?' asked Ian, and the woman answered him:
'He is at the knight's castle trying to fashion gold and silver into a cap for the youngest daughter, like unto the caps that her sisters wear, such as are not to be found in all this land. But, see, he is returning; and now we shall hear how he has sped.'
At that the man entered the gate, and beholding a strange youth, he said to him: 'What is your trade, boy?'
'I am a smith,' replied Ian. And the man answered:
'Good luck has befallen me, then, for you can help me to make a cap for the knight's daughter.'
'You cannot make that cap, and you know it,' said Ian.
' Well, I must try,' replied the man, ' or I shall be hanged on a tree; so it were a good deed to help me.'
'I will help you if I can,' said Ian; 'but keep the gold and silver for yourself, and lock me into the smithy to-night, and I will work my spells.' So the man, wondering to himself, locked him in.
As soon as the key was turned in the lock Ian wished for the raven, and the raven came to him, carrying the cap in his mouth.
'Now take my head off,' said the raven. But Ian answered:
'Poor thanks were that for all the help you have given me.'
'It is the only thanks you can give me,' said the raven, 'for I was a youth like yourself before spells were laid on me.'
Then Ian drew his sword and cut off the head of the raven, and shut his eyes so that he might see nothing. Alter that he lay down and slept till morning dawned,