THE TWO CASKETS
beautiful white loaf. When she had finished it, down to the last crumb, she shut the oven door and said: 'Good-morning.'
'May all go well with thee,' said the oven, as the girl walked on.
By-and-by she became very thirsty, and seeing a cow with a milk-pail hanging on her horn, turned towards her.
' Milk me and drink as much as you will, little maiden,' cried the cow, 'but be sure you spill none on the ground; and do me no harm, for I have never harmed anyone.'
'Nor I,' answered the girl; 'fear nothing.' So she sat down and milked till the pail was nearly full. Then she drank it all up except a little drop at the bottom.
'Now throw any that is left over my hoofs, and hang the pail on my horns again,' said the cow. And the girl did as she was bid, and kissed the cow on her forehead and went her way.
Many hours had now passed since the girl had fallen down the well, and the sun was setting.
'Where shall I spend the night?' thought she. And suddenly she saw before her a gate which she had not noticed before, and a very old woman leaning against it.
' Good evening,' said the girl politely; and the old woman answered:
'Good evening, my child. Would that everyone was as polite as you. Are you in search of anything ?'
'I am in search of a place,' replied the girl; and the woman smiled and said:
'Then stop a little while and comb my hair, and you shall tell me all the things you can do.'
'Willingly, mother,' answered the girl. And she began combing out the old woman's hair, which was long and white.
Half an hour passed in this way, and then the old woman said:
'As you did not think yourself too good to comb me,