146 THE STORY OF MANUS
of every room were hung so thick with arms that you could not see the boards.
'Choose what you will,' said the man; and Manus unhooked a sword and tried it across his knee, and it broke, and so did the next, and the next.
'Leave off breaking the swords,' cried the man, 'and look at this old sword and helmet and tunic that I wore in the wars of your grandfather. Perhaps you may find them of stouter steel.' And Manus bent the sword thrice across his knee but he could not break it. So he girded it to his side, and put on the old helmet. As he fastened the strap his eye fell on a cloth flapping outside the window.
'What cloth is that?' asked he.
'It is a cloth that was woven by the Little People of the forest,' said the man; 'and when you are hungry it will give you food and drink, and if you meet a foe, he will not hurt you, but will stoop and kiss the back of your hand in token of submission. Take it, and use it well.' Manus gladly wrapped the shawl round his arm, and was leaving the house, when he heard the rattling of a chain blown by the wind.
' What chain is that ?' asked he.
'The creature who has that chain round his neck, need not fear a hundred enemies,' answered the armourer. And Manus wound it round him and passed on into the forest.
Suddenly there sprang out from the bushes two lions, and a lion cub with them. The fierce beasts bounded towards him, roaring loudly, and would fain have eaten him, but quickly Manus stooped and spread the cloth upon the ground. At that the lions stopped, and bowing their great heads, kissed the back of his wrist and went their ways. But the cub rolled itself up in the cloth; so Manus picked them both up, and carried them with him io Old Bergen.
Another year went by, and then he took the lion cub