324 HOW THE STALOS WERE TRICKED
brothers did not disturb themselves, the danger seemed too far away.
Unluckily, however, one day, when Lyma was left by herself in the hut, the three Stalos came down and carried her and the reindeer off to their own cottage. The country was very lonely, and perhaps no one would have known in which direction she had gone had not the girl managed to tie a ball of thread to the handle of a door at the back of the cottage and let it trail behind her. Of course the ball was not long enough to go all the way, but it lay on the edge of a snowy track which led straight to the Stalos' house.
When the brothers returned from their hunting they found both the hut and the sheds empty. Loudly they cried: 'Lyma! Lyma!' But no voice answered them; and they fell to searching all about, lest perchance their sister might have dropped some clue to guide them. At length their eyes dropped on the thread which lay on the snow, and they set out to follow it.
On and on they went, and when at length the thread stopped the brothers knew that another day's journey would bring them to the Stalos' dwelling. Of course they did not dare to approach it openly, for the Stalos had the strength of giants, and besides, there were three of them; so the two Sodons climbed into a big bushy tree which overhung a well.
'Perhaps our sister may be sent to draw water here,' they said to each other.
But it was not till the moon had risen that the sister came, and as she let down her bucket into the well, the leaves seemed to whisper 'Lyma! Lyma!'
The girl started and looked up, but could see nothing, and in a moment the voice came again.
'Be careful — take no notice, fill your buckets, but listen carefully all the while, and we will tell you what to do so that you may escape yourself and set free the reindeer also.'