ADVENTURES OF AN INDIAN BRAVE 317
leaping. How their silver sides glistened in the light, and how he longed to catch some of the great fellows! But how could he do it? He had beheld no one except the old women, and it was not very likely that they would be able to help him. So with a sigh he turned away and went back to them, but, as he walked, a thought struck him. He pulled out one of his hairs which hung nearly to his waist, and it instantly became a strong line, nearly a mile in length.
'Weave me a net that I may catch some salmon,' said he. And they wove him the net he asked for, and for many weeks he watched by the river, only going back to the old women when he wanted a fish cooked.
At last, one day, when he was eating his dinner, the old woman who always spoke first, said to him:
'We have been very glad to see you, grandson, but now it is time that you went home.' And pushing aside a rock, he saw a deep hole, so deep that he could not see to the bottom. Then they dragged a basket out of the house, and tied a rope to it. ' Get in, and wrap this blanket round your head,' said they; 'and, whatever happens, don't uncover it till you get to the bottom.' Then they bade him farewell, and he curled himself up in the basket.
Down, down, down he went; would he ever stop going? But when the basket did stop, the young man forgot what he had been told, and put his head out to see what was the matter. In an instant the basket moved, but, to his horror, instead of going down, he felt himself being drawn upwards, and shortly after he beheld the faces of the old women.
'You will never see your wife and son if you will not do as you are bid,' said they. 'Now get in, and do not stir till you hear a crow calling.'
This time the young man was wiser, and though the basket often stopped, and strange creatures seemed to rest on him and to pluck at his blanket, he held it tight